Canadian Disaster and Emergency Planning Changes Forever – Today (October 22, 2014)

Something was bound to happen eventually.  Isn’t that what disaster planning all about; prepare for the unplanned events that can throw things in chaos?   After years of never experiencing any sort of terrorist actions, today that changed in Ottawa, Canada.   Terrorists, which is what they attackers are being called at the moment, shot and killed a RCMP officer guarding the Canadian War Memorial and stormed the Parliament building, where Members of Parliament were actually on site.  On Monday – Oct 20/14 – a radical ran down two Canadian soldiers in uniform; one later dying in hospital.

It pains me to know that a soldier guarding a memorial for fallen soldiers – in all wars – dies protecting that memorial.  Our thoughts go out to his family and loved ones.

Will Canada now change from a peaceful nation (according to world opinion) to a more disaster prepared nation?  Will security get tighter and we see more armed police walking the ‘beat’ as it were?  We could end up with armed guards walking through the airports keeping a watchful eye on everyone on their way to catch planes or as the disembark.  The US and other countries have been hit by terrorist actions before and plans and processes developed to address radical or terrorist situations but since Canada never experienced this  before, the urgency just didn’t seem to be there – or the support from the public to have such program in place.  The US  created an entire new department to deal with security – The Department of Homeland Security – so now I wonder if we (Canadians) will see something similar.

I’m not in anyway comparing the this action or the actions over the last couple of days to be on the same level as 9/11, the London Tube bombings or the Madrid bombings.  But they all call for stronger security measures, risk mitigation strategies and contingency plans; not just for the government but for organizations and communities.  The Canadian landscape has probably changed forever now, and its time that anyone who believed that ‘it won’t happen here’ must realize that we do need to plan for the unplanned – for the eventual disaster that can come at any time from anywhere by anyone or anything.

Don’t be surprised – especially you Canadian readers – if your organization suddenly decide to look at old Business Continuity, Disaster Recovery, Crisis Management and Emergency Response Plans in the coming weeks, as the media  and quite possibly the public, are going to be calling for changes and stronger measures to prepare for and respond to, disaster situations.

 

© StoneRoad 2014

A.Alex Fullick has over 18 years’ experience working in Business Continuity and is the author of numerous books, including “Heads in the Sand” and “BIA: Building the Foundation for a Strong Business Continuity Program.”

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