Waiting for Gustav...

Some imporant lessons from Hurricane Katrina are put into action while waiting for Hurricane Gustav...

Police in New Orleans have been given time off to get their families to safety before hurricane Gustav hits. This is in contrast to the preparation for hurricane Katrina where many police officers had to choose between their families and their job.1

This is an important lesson which New Orleans learned the hard way from hurricane Katrina. Fortunately most of us can learn the same lesson from a safe distance.

Do your disaster plans naively assume that your employees will put their jobs before their families? Are you assuming that everyone (staff, suppliers, customers) will have the same priorities in a disaster as they do during more normal situations?

1 It’s worth noting that the “desertion” rate was not as bad as the original press reports suggested: many police officers couldn’t get to work even if they wanted to. But remember that in such emergencies getting to work may be even harder for your staff than for someone with a gun and a badge.
31 August 2008

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