Virtual Emergency Meeting Locations

I have been working with a few companies lately in reviewing their business continuity plans and strategies for individual business units.  Many of these plans include listing an off-site meeting location or department command center for managers to gather following a building evacuation and prior to opening an alternate site facility.  In many cases, this location is the head manager’s home or a local coffee shop or other public gathering place.

Whereas, I like the concept of gathering the managers for information sharing and decision making purposes, I like even more the use of a “virtual meeting place” through the use of conference, bridge calls.

I have been recommending that these individual departments utilize their existing conference bridge capabilities to initially get the decision makers together to assess the impacts on their employees and discuss their options for responding to and recovering from the incident.  Furthermore, I have suggested that, when a situation occurs where they are alerted of an incident preventing access to the primary facility, they establish a default meeting time via the conference bridge.  For example, the department plan could be, “Once alerted of a situation in one of our facilities housing department personnel or business functions, until such time as you are contacted otherwise, call into the bridge conference number every hour on the hour.”  I think this is a good default plan should other communication techniques or alerts not be viable at the time.  You call into the conference bridge on the top of every hour and see who else may be on the call and do the best you can to manage the situation.  Once other arrangements or schedules are made for this particular event, then you adjust from there.

This suggested strategy has been well received from all the management teams I have talked to and most of them have implemented this strategy in their plans.

Just thought I would share some free advice here in my blog.  If you like the suggestion and are thinking about using it or you have a better idea, I welcome you to share your comments.  Thanks.

Thank you for your input.