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Preparing for Nemo: What to do when a severe winter storm hits

With the winter superstorm Nemo rapidly approaching the Northeast with expected impact in major hubs like Boston and New York City, make sure your people know what to do in the event of a severe winter storm. Here are some last minute tips on what to do when it strikes.

A different kind of Nemo


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What’s in a name? Dissecting Nemo.

Why all the ruckus about naming a winter storm? Sometimes, the intention behind the names is to draw the public’s attention to severe weather. While winter storms may not have as large of an impact as hurricanes, they can often be erratic; for example, dumping snow in one area while leaving nothing more than rain or fog in another. Now, it’s becoming clear that superstorms have hype cycles of their own.

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How Oreo style the spotlight during the Super Bowl, and other lessons for scenario planning

The highest rated Super Bowl in history may go down in the books for the 34-minute power outage that upstaged the million dollar ads. With all the chatter about the blackout, advertisers were concerned about the effect on television ratings, while some brands capitalized on the opportunity to own the conversation through social media. Many are claiming the real winner of Sunday’s game to be Oreo, whose clever blackout tweet got retweeted 10,000 times in less than an hour.


When it comes to planning, the power outage also demonstrated that organizations must consider not just critical processes and recovery time objectives, but should also anticipate the impact of potential scenarios. Business continuity is about bouncing back, as well as taking advantage of the situations that may present themselves during incidents—particularly in this case, high profile events. Have you considered this when doing business continuity scenarios or exercises?

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Business continuity exercises don’t have to be boring.

When was the last time you sent out an invite for a business continuity or disaster recovery exercise and got back a “woo-hoo”?

If you are responsible for a BC or DR program you know how difficult it can be to get people to come to your exercise, let alone express enthusiasm about it. Exercises are serious business, but with some inspiration from popular party games you can let participants have a little fun while raising awareness about your program.

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How to energize your exercises

Although it can take some getting used to in an office environment, gaming is an excellent way to increase learning retention and enhance teaming. Research shows we learn best in a friendly, social, and interactive environment; we also prefer to be involved in our learning—not just by listening, but also by talking, describing, reflecting on, and interacting with the information we receive. By engaging your team in an active learning process with gaming and activities, you can make your next BCM exercise relevant and memorable.

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Finding the resiliency correlation in Hurricane Sandy

Goldman Sachs in Battery Park, New York City emerges as an example of excellence in business continuity preparedness and response during Hurricane Sandy – principally because they acted independently beforehand.  Goldman Sachs adequately prepared and was able to assist the community because they had a solid BCM plan.  Instead of castigating them as some in the Twitter community continue to do, we should extol them as an example to follow!

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Preparing for hurricane Irene - the “Masters of Disaster” way

Just days after feeling the tremors from the Virginia earthquake, New Yorkers are being warned that Hurricane Irene may strike in a couple of days. Aside from preparing businesses for the disaster, my fellow Lootokians and I are now preparing our homes. As professional planners, most of us actually do have go-bags and have prepared per the FEMA and OEM guidelines. So what else does a “master of disaster” do to get ready for a hurricane?


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