Twelve years ago in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington D.C., residents were living in fear of encountering the unthinkable: two murderers, now known as the DC Beltway Snipers, drove around the city randomly killing victims in broad daylight with little evidence left behind.
There was fear in simply living everyday life. The gas station, the post office, the grocery store, school yards, and front yards suddenly became danger zones.
Over a three week time span from October 2nd – October 22nd, 2002, the two snipers in a 1990 Chevrolet Caprice travelled around the metropolitan DC area within a 40 mile radius and randomly shot innocent, unconnected victims, including a 13-year old child in front of a school.
The snipers, John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo, killed 10 people and injured three more during the shooting spree before their capture on October 24th.
The killings led to massive confusion and panic in the region. No one was safe until the killers were finally captured.
This unfortunate, deadly event is evidence that sometimes the unthinkable can become reality. While there is little to be done to predict these occurrences, one thing can be done to assist your organization during times of unforeseen crisis: Be Ready.
During September’s National Preparedness Month, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security launched a “Ready” public education resiliency campaign. Send Word Now responded with a Blog Mini Series highlighting the following steps of becoming a “ready” business:
1. Program Management – Develop a team to manage, test, and implement your business continuity plan in the event of both natural and man-made disasters.
2. Planning – Take an “all hazards” approach to your business continuity planning in order to be prepared for probable scenarios as well as events that are unthinkable, such as the DC Beltway Sniper attacks.
3. Implementation – Identify and assess resources, write continuity plans, and develop a system to manage incidents and train employees so they can execute plans. Be sure to include an easy to use emergency communication system.
4. Testing and Exercising Resiliency Plans – Test your plan regularly in order to evaluate effectiveness, prepare employees, and diagnose any plan deficiencies.
5. Program Improvement – Review the results of your exercises, critique your company’s performance, and incorporate industry best practices to ensure that your company is ready.
The events of the DC Beltway Sniper attacks are a reminder that unthinkable tragedies can happen in an instant. Send Word Now encourages you to be ready so that when tragic events occur, your business will be prepared to respond.