You say pa-NATO I say pa-NAHTO

I realize this won't make sense to many of you, but Chicago is hosting the annual NATO summit this weekend (North Atlantic Treaty Organization). Many leaders of member countries are flying into my fair city, clogging up traffic and making security extra-crazy. It has created some pretty strange circumstances - we've had commuter train lines cancelled because they go too close to the summit, there are law enforcement officers about every 30 feet downtown, and all sort of warnings about violence, protestors, and even tear gas.

It has been interesting because it has forced my company to, for the very first time, actually go through the motions of emergency/contingency planning, and come up with a strategy of being able to serve our clients when we can't get to the office.

What's the craziest thing you've had to prepare your business for? Have you ever had to enanct your emergency plans?


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  • This isn't exactly crazy, because we are a bank, but back in the 80's we had a mock bank robbery to prepare us for the possibility of what we'd do or how we'd react in the event of the real thing. It was pretty intense, complete with off-duty police officers posing as the robbers yelling and pointing guns at us (personally, I think those cops had WAY too much fun playing the bad guys!) I will say, it made those of us on the front lines (I was a teller at the time) much more aware and observant of the people in our lobby on a daily basis.

    We have a lot of contingency/emergency/disaster preparedness in place now, in part because the FDIC requires all of their member banks to have a detailed written plan on how we would serve our customers in the event of an emergency. We've never had to enact any of our emergency plans "for real", but a couple of times a year we run a full test of the computers and equipment in our off-site disaster recovery facility.
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