Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Katrina Proves You are YOYO

When I was doing Mountain Rescue, there were inevitably times during missions when weather shifted, helicopters were grounded or assets were shifted to other calls. That meant that resources you were originally relying on were moved or could not be used.

That gave rise to the acronym YOYO, meaning “You’re On Your Own”. Usually someone either driving or flying away would yell, “Adios YOYO!” with a sly smile knowing that we had to either hike out or tough out a particularly nasty night using only the supplies and equipment we had on our backs. So we always made sure we were relatively self-sufficient.

This same lesson was emphasized during Hurricane Katrina – with the major emphasis being on the security aspect.

You can’t count on the authorities,” says Chad Callaghan, CPP, vice president of enterprise loss prevention at Marriott. “If your plan has primary response by the authorities, you’d better have a backup plan.”

Callaghan had thought state and federal and local governments had procedures in place to deal with hurricanes, but quickly learned that “we were on our own”.
Marriott, like many companies, scrambled for private security. Private security companies obviously had private guards come in for property protection, but they provided a myriad of other services as well. These security personnel provided thousands of meals and bottles of water for businesses whose personnel needed supplies, helped with search and rescue, and evacuated more than 2,500 people from the area. They also assisted in asset recovery, such as the relocation of one of the largest art collections in the southeast from a facility that was half-flooded or by going in to flooded facilities to retrieve important documents and valuables. In addition, some officers assisted companies in making a record of damages by taking pictures of property.

Remember that you are responsible for your own safety and security. Plan accordingly.


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