Education is the most important preparedness tool, says Toshitaka Katada, a civil engineering professor at Gunma University. He proves his point by pointing to the education program that helped save the lives of nearly all 3,000 elementary and junior high school students in Kamaishi, Iwate Prefecture during the Great East Japan Earthquake and subsequent tsunami.
This week, The Japan Times, reported on Katada’s insightful program, it’s astounding results, and what we might learn from his approach.
“In general, people don’t evacuate even though they know they should. It’s natural to be reluctant to escape when everybody else is staying put,” Katada told the Japan Times. “So I told the students that they must be brave and be the first ones to evacuate. If you do, others will follow you and you can save their lives, too. That’s exactly what happened.”
Katada says he believes children must be educated to be proactive responders and that by educating children, preparedness becomes infused into the culture.
“In two decades, those children will be parents. If they grow up to be adults who know how to act, their children will act accordingly,” he said, “I believe it’s our responsibility to nurture such an environment for the generations to come.”
From Drive Issue #68
It’s probably best to assess what the future holds for Business Continuity & Disaster Recovery (BCP) certification by looking at how other similar professional disciplines evolved from their embryonic state to maturation. The best parallel is to look at the history of information technology professionals. The evolution of Information Systems Audit and Control Association’s (ISACA) professional certification has developed in the thirty years of its existence. ISACA started in 1967 as the vision of a small group of IT auditors who saw the need for a centralized source of information and guidance in the emerging field of information technology. In 1976, ISACA formed an education foundation to help expand the knowledge of IT governance. Under the ISACA banner emerged two certifications: Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) and Certified Information Security Manager (CISM). These certifications have defined the global standards for professionals in their respective disciplines.
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The need for business Continuity planning has grown rapidly in the 21st century, driven by both regulatory compliance requirements and customer demands. Business continuity is as critical to small and medium-sized companies as it is to their larger competitors. Small (defined here as having annual revenue of less than $25 million) and medium-sized businesses (annual revenue of less than $200 million), however, often have limited financial resources and expertise to spend on planning to keep operations going during a crisis. Smaller business owners have a tendency to rely upon their instincts as “smart people” to solve what may appear to be a simple problem-a mistake that almost inevitably results in an ineffective business continuity plan (BCP). A far better approach is to consider business continuity as part of an overall risk transfer program. Risk transfer is defined as mitigating risk, using insurance to offset loss, and transferring obligations to other entities. A risk transfer program includes risk assessment and mitigation as well as insurance coverage. The planning process establishes good business practices that add operational resilience and reliability in manufacturing, services, and distribution industries in both the public and private sectors. Business continuity, which was once a “nice to have” feature, has become mandatory to maintain customer confidence and a competitive edge in these days of uncertainty. One need only look at the effort being expended by corporations to realize how important business continuity has become in marketing-a direct reflection of the concerns of the regulators and customers. Web sites have begun to add links to business continuity programs; customer mailings include flyers that detail a company’s continuity efforts and reinforce the message that during a crisis, “We’ll be here for you.” Marketing business continuity is beginning to rival preparing for Y2K. . . .
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