Looking Forward to 2014 – simplified Preparedness

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As 2013 draws to a close, we at Firestorm reflect on the events that continue to define and confirm our commitment to the preparedness of our clients, employees, families and communities. 

Firestorm closed last year assisting with the recovery events resulting from Hurricane Sandy.  Our continued partnership with Regus’ Workplace Recovery program has allowed us to assist more businesses who can’t afford to stop when facilities fail or natural disasters happen.  Our Post-Sandy Hot Wash brief by Jim Satterfield became the number one download in the early part of 2013, and continues to be referenced by businesses and institutions.

Throughout 2013, Firestorm has also expanded our work within the education sector – from elementary to university – assisting in assessment, full security analyses, training, coaching and the aftermath of violence.  Partnering with a number of independent school associations such as the Tennessee Association of Independent Schools and Georgia Independent Schools Association, and the experts in school management software, Renweb, we will continue our free education series throughout 2014, and make these sessions available for viewing on our website at School Video On-Demand.  We will also be announcing an exciting partnership with a major university in the first quarter of 2014. Our offer of a no-fee School Preparedness Assessment (a $2500 value) to participating schools is extended, and interested schools and associations can learn more here.

We relished the opportunity to personally meet so many of you in our face-to-face Crisis Coach Workshops across the country.  From Chicago and Birmingham, to San Francisco and Denver and other key cities across the country, we conducted hundreds of assessments for business from the financial sector to manufacturing.  We look forward to meeting more of you in 2014.

In addition to reaching thousands of participants through our Crisis Coach sessions and expansive webinar offerings, Firestorm Principals were requested presenters, speakers, panel members, trainers and Keynotes for a number of national events in 2013.  In addition to our work with school associations, we spoke to national and international industry associations, private business groups, at national conventions and thought leadership summits. We look forward to a full schedule of the same in 2014.  You can check all of our upcoming events on our website.

More groups and businesses than ever ordered a customized version, or downloaded the eBook for free, our 2013 revised edition of Disaster Ready People for a Disaster Ready America by Firestorm Founders Harry Rhulen, Suzy Loughlin and Jim Satterfield.  In the aftermath of the tragic bombings in Boston, our group publication “Boston Marathon Bombings – Approaches to Personal Safety” became one of our most downloaded papers.  It is our hope that this document and others will continue to keep you, your family and your community safer and more prepared in the event of disaster or crisis.

We continued our work in Workplace Violence Prevention as well, and saw more incidents prevented because “someone saw something and said something.” Our webinar on Suicide Risk Identification and Prevention led by Suzy Loughlin with special guest Dr. Kelly Posner was one of our most widely attended.  You can view the session in its entirety here.

2013 brought us a broad range of natural disaster events that affected people and property, supply chains and business continuity – from terrifying tornadoes in Oklahoma and 100-year flood events in Colorado, to the devastating Typhoon in the Philippines and recent icy winter storms and power outages across a wide swath of the country.  The Firestorm Crisis Business Response Team was at the ready, and we continue to work with businesses of all sizes in post-event recovery.  Our continued joint training initiatives with the team at MIR3 – the innovator of real-time notification and response technology – has continued to benefit businesses in notification prior to, during and after events.

We also continued to develop approaches to new and emerging threats such as Social Media Risk.  Again, along with MIR3, we partnered in thought leadership regarding social media risk and the business continuity professional for outlets such as Disaster Recovery Journal.  You can find the webinar series led by Ann Pickren here, and the paper “Social Media for the BC/DR Professional: a White Paper From MIR3” here. We also continue to conduct monitoring initiatives for a number of clients interested in being ahead of Social Media Risk threats, and continue to deliver knowledge resources as agencies such as the SEC, FINRA and the FFIEC create standards of use and guidelines for Social Media.

Above all, Firestorm wishes to thank you our clients and community who, with us, believe that a culture of preparedness in 2014 and beyond is the foundation of success. Such a culture centers an organization on sound governance principles of responsibility and accountability. Crisis readiness and enterprise value go hand-in-hand. Both are dynamic, forward-looking and expectations-based.

For 2014, the ability of management to plan for unexpected, business-compromising situations, and to be effective in turning them around, is more important in driving business recovery than the direct financial consequences of the disaster.

Promoting and enforcing a culture of readiness is our mission and our passion.  We thank you for making this your mission too.  Together, we will work to keep your business, your employees and their families, and your community more prepared.  At the heart of our initiatives for 2014 is the concept of simplified Preparedness, because we know that “Every Crisis is a Human Crisis.”

Thank you and we look forward to being of service in the New Year,
Harry Rhulen, CEO
Suzy Loughlin, CAO
Jim Satterfield, President and COO
and the entire team at Firestorm

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