Corporate Secrets

We spend a lot of time in the fire and EMS services planning for disasters. Imagine if we could forecast them?

We would start by being fully staffed, of course. No vacation or bangouts on the day in question. We’d have all of our resources strategically positioned, ready to roll BEFORE the emergency struck. We would have the command net all preplanned, with all of our roles defined and staffed. We would know what extra support we might need, and they’d be on standby. We’d have a huge preplan, and we would drill it for weeks before the date. When the disaster finally struck, we would be READY. We’d kick butt, take names, and all go home smiling.

I have two words for you: Black Friday.

I’ve been pulling night shifts in retail, working for The American Retail Giant Everyone Thinks of when you say “American Retail Gaint.” Let’s call them T.A.R.G.E.T for short. For months now, the company has been planning for this day. For 12 months, actually. With over 6000 stores, they have a corporate Emergency Operations Center staffed 24/7/365. I imagine not a day goes by without a Hazmat spill, bomb threat, or other major incident SOMEWHERE in one of their stores. The folks at the EOC must have been behind the plans, because under all the corporate speak, what they gave us was the Incident Management System.

Each major product will be in a defined area of the store, with a controlled line approaching it. Each line is staffed with between 5 and 9 employees, with 1 to 2 managers in charge. Each group is solely responsible for its line and nothing else. We have a dedicated rapid deployment group for dealing with any problems which may arise. Special groups are dedicated to maintaining safe flow around the checkouts and parking lot. Everything will be run from the Loss Prevention Office, which has video coverage of the whole store. Any media inquiries will be handled by the Media Relations Office, and I have a defined line of responsibility from me through the EOC to the Chairman of the Board.

We’ve had multiple training classes on the Big Plan. I try not to chuckle, because to me it looks like IMS. I see Companies, Sectors, Span of Control, a RIT team, a PIO, a Command Post, and a defined Chain of Command. Pretty cool. I bet I know where the EOC guys got the idea.

We rolled it out last night at 2100 hours. Tune in tomorrow to see how it all worked out.


11/25 – Bring on the customers!

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