PROFESSIONAL GROWTH ; FOR CONSULTANTS
Private Sector Preparedness
Japan’s Tragedy Renews Focus on Disaster Readiness
BY ELLEN CLAS
The 9.0-magnitude Tohoku earthquake and tsunami on March
11 killed tens of thousands, left hundreds of thousands homeless, and incapacitated businesses integral to local and national
economies. The catastrophe also triggered a crisis at the
Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear complex that had not been resolved
as this issue went to press.
This event illustrates the importance of safety, emergency pre-
paredness, and continuity planning for individuals, businesses and
government. In America, businesses form the backbone of the
economy. A commitment to planning today among businesses
will help support employees, customers, the community, the local
economy and even the country. It also protects your business investment and gives your company a better chance for survival.
Resiliency and Reliability
The viability of a company depends on its resiliency; even the
shortest downtime can be destructive. Federal experts estimate
that 40 percent of small businesses close their doors permanently after experiencing a disaster. Additionally, in a time of
crisis, reliability is a keystone in response, recovery and rebuilding efforts. Private companies maintain an estimated 85
percent of all critical infrastructures (power, water, transportation, communication and food) in the U.S. and provide work for
the vast majority of the country’s employees. Without private
industry’s resiliency, the ability to get communities thriving
again after major incidents is compromised.
The signature event affecting emergency planning in the U.S.
was September 11, 2001. The report of the 9-11 Commission
contained a number of recommendations for improving the nation’s preparedness and highlighted the fact that private sector
preparedness is as important as that of government and the
The recommendations of the 9/11 Commission became law in
2007. The legislation mandated the creation of the Voluntary Private Sector Preparedness Accreditation and Certification Program
(PS Prep), which provides a mechanism for third-party accreditation of companies that conform to one or more preparedness
standards adopted by the Department of Homeland Security
(DHS). These standards are:
ASIS International: Organizational Resilience: Security Preparedness, and Continuity Management Systems—Requirements
with Guidance for Use, ASIS SPC. 1-2009. This standard is
freely available at www.asisonline.org.
British Standards Institution: Business Continuity Management Part 1: Code of Practice for Business Continuity Management, BS 25999-1: 2006; and Business Continuity Management
Part 2: Specification for Business Continuity Management, BS
25999-2: 2007. These standards can be purchased from