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Risk in Context

Recent Attacks Highlight Need for Enhanced Resilience Strategies

Posted by Chandra Seymour June 07, 2017

Three terrorist attacks over the last three months in public spaces in the United Kingdom are reminders of the growing frequency of such acts, and the potential risks to businesses and people. Although the shock of a terrorist attack is difficult to prepare for, organizations can take steps to protect employees, customers, and bystanders and quickly return to normal operations.

Advance Planning

Protecting people and physical assets from and in the wake of a terrorist event requires a full understanding of risks and impacts, comprehensive readiness and resilience planning, regular training and exercises, and an overall strategy for maintaining these capabilities. Enhanced plans, combined with verifying that the insurance cover you have in place is the most appropriate for your company’s risk profile, can better prepare your organization.

Following the most recent attacks, your organization should:

  • Review and update risk assessments as well as emergency response, crisis management and communications, and business continuity plans. A stronger resiliency framework built on best practices and lessons learned will enable you to take action more quickly and efficiently.
  • Engage in employee training and tabletop and full-scale scenario-based exercises with key stakeholders, including law enforcement and first responders. A clear understanding of roles and responsibilities, especially in public spaces where crowd control may be an issue, can help you more effectively manage a crisis.

Focus on People

In a crisis, communication is crucial. But it could be hampered by damage to communications networks, loss of power, or other factors. In public spaces, people may also panic in the immediate aftermath.

In the event of an attack on or near company property, staff and security personnel should be trained and prepared to work closely with law enforcement and other first responders to manage employee, customer, and public safety. For example, your employees should be ready to evacuate or take shelter and provide first aid or other immediate support to anyone injured in the incident.

You should also maintain current and complete business and personal contact information so you can reach employees quickly. And you should be ready to provide humanitarian assistance to employees and customers during and after an incident.

Business Continuity and Recovery

After immediate safety and investigative concerns have been addressed, organizations will need to shift focus to maintaining operations. In your advance planning, you should account for:

  • Continuing or resuming critical business functions and processes.
  • Ensuring that technology is working efficiently.
  • Allowing employees to work remotely as needed.
  • Implementing additional security measures.

Terrorism can strike anywhere and anytime, and remains high on the risk agenda for many organizations. But being proactive and prepared can help you protect your people, assets, and operations in a crisis.

Related to:  Marsh Risk Consulting

Chandra Seymour

Senior Vice President, MRC Reputational Risk and Crisis Management