Just weeks before taking his company public, the CEO and founder of an elite technology firm started to worry about emerging security risks to his family.  At his counsel’s suggestion, he reached out to Hillard Heintze. The executive asked for a comprehensive security assessment of his private residence as well as his family’s habits and practices, and the development of a family emergency plan. “Let’s figure out where our greatest risks lie first,” he said. “Then plan how we are going to address them.”

A Family Emergency Plan Gets Everyone On the Same Page

After conducting the security assessment of the client’s home and evaluating the risks facing the family, Hillard Heintze used some of the most important key findings to draft the family emergency plan. The plan was specifically tailored to the age and ability of the client’s children, the family’s several homes and the likelihood of a given incident impacting the family, ranging from severe weather events to an act of violence or terror in the neighborhood with many casualties, city-wide transportation restrictions, loss of Internet services and large-scale communications blackouts.  The family emergency plan also included step-by step instructions on how to shelter-in-place, suggested evacuation locations with maps showing primary and secondary walking and driving routes and recommendations on stockpiling the appropriate supplies and equipment.

Annual Updates – and an “All Family” Review

The family now reviews its family emergency plan annually to incorporate changes in its environment – such as health issues, new staff at the residences or changes in schools, jobs or office locations – and has engaged Hillard Heintze to supplement this planning with ongoing social media and open-source online monitoring and reputation management. “My wife and I have talked about taking basic, pragmatic security steps like this for years,” said the client.  “With our children at the edge of adolescence – and the significant changes we anticipate in our financial footprint and lifestyle – understanding the risks to our family and planning for them has been vital.”

Unplugged: The Project Manager’s Perspective

“This client was ‘on it.’  Most families understand the critical importance of having an established family emergency plan to handle emergencies, such as a fire or tornado.  Or loss of communications in a crisis.  But few take the steps to create one. Parents, especially those with young children, think their hectic schedules don’t allow the time to create such a plan.  Or they believe their kids have already learned the necessary information in school. It was gratifying to see this family value this information – and put it to practical use.”

The ACTION WEDNESDAY Tool Box: Three Key Take-Aways

  1. Recognize the Importance of Having Even a Basic Family Emergency Plan in Place – Start small.  Determine the most basic elements – a designated phone number, a back-up evacuation location, stockpiled supplies.  Write this down.  Share with all family members.  And improve the plan systematically each year.
  2. Pay Attention to Special Issues and Factors – The young and the elderly are most at risk.  When developing a family emergency plan, consider issues such as mobility constraints, medication requirements and special foods.
  3. Take the Right Actions in Crises – Understand when it is better to stay and shelter-in-place or evacuate.

(What’s it like on the front line supporting the firm’s clients?  What are the challenges the firm’s experts help senior business executives, general counsel, board members and other decision-makers address?  Welcome to ACTION WEDNESDAY.  Every Wednesday, the Front Line Blog publishes a new case study.)

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