Let’s use last week’s snow as the backdrop for this week’s discussion on a post-disaster evaluation. While it was an impact on us, it wasn’t really a disaster but it can show some good points to discuss. I will use my personal preparations and experiences here.

Let’s start with preparation. I live outside of Ashland, VA and have a fairly long driveway. We are on a moderately traveled road but it is not a major artery. I have a snowblower and a gasoline powered generator so I filled up my gas cans. I got my shovels together and purchased ice melt for the sidewalks. We also went to the grocery store to make sure we had plenty to eat (more than just bread and milk.) I think most people prepared likewise.

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During the snow, I cleared the drive several times. While the snow was still coming down, I cleared what was there so it didn’t get too deep and make the job harder. I checked the gutters and around the heat pump and generally kept an eye on things. Again, this is probably typical of what most people do.

So when the snow stopped, I did another cleanup of snow, got my truck brushed off, and readied myself to get back to normal. Everything was fine and all went well… so why worry about evaluating it?

In looking back, I can see some things I should have done better. Luckily, I didn’t need the generator but if I had, I failed to keep a path open from where it is stored to where it hooks into the house. That could have delayed my restoration of power. I also did not plan on where to store the snowblower between clearing so I put it in the garage which meant the snow melted by the car and there was a lot of water lying around. I need to have a better way of controlling that; maybe put it nearer the door or clean it off better before putting it in the garage. I also discovered where the snow has a tendency to drift so now I can better plan for that as well.

Obviously, none of these things were that big of an issue but I think it illustrates that now is a good time to plan for the next event. I thought things through and planned properly for the event. I learned some things during the event so now I need use that new information when planning for the next event. For a business this should mean updating the disaster plan and business continuity plan for things they learned.

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Throughout his time at YHB Curtis has provided IT audit and consulting to clients, even while holding the position of the firm’s IT director for several years. Now, as head of the YHB Risk Advisory Services Team, Curtis focuses on assisting organizations in a variety of industries with internal audits and IT-related audit and consulting services. Also, he frequently speaks and gives presentations on SOX compliance, internal controls, and data security.

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