--> Gill Blog: January 2005

Gill Blog

Friday, January 21, 2005

This disaster brought to you by the letter T and the color Blue.

FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, an agency of the Department of Homeland Security that created the color-coded Security Advisory System for adults, helps kids understand disasters.
Welcome to FEMA for Kids! I'm Herman, the spokescrab for the site. This site teaches you how to be prepared for disasters and prevent disaster damage. You can also learn what causes disasters, play games, read stories and become a Disaster Action Kid.

Hey kids! Play the Tsunami Game. [archived here]

After we posted this note, the game was taken down by FEMA amid criticism and press coverage that worried the game appears to trivialize the effects of tsunamis. According to one press report:
The game, which debuted on FEMA's kids' Web site in 1998, asked players to guide a car, a starfish, a surfboard and other beach objects back to their proper places after they were scattered by a tsunami. Winners were linked to a cartoon dancing frog.

"A tsunami has just hit FEMA Beach and has rearranged a few things," the game directed. "Please put the 9 objects back where they belong to see the cyber-prize!"

FEMA spokeswoman Lea Anne McBride said the game was first scrubbed from the award-winning kids' site immediately after the Dec. 26 tsunami. But the agency later restored it after hearing complaints from teachers and educators who missed it, she said. It was being removed for good Friday because of "the current environment," she said.

"We thought that was the appropriate thing to do," McBride said.

Actually, it was because they realized that the game was the inappropriate thing to have done by FEMA.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Real Property in the Real World

That's the title of the 17th Annual Workshop of the Real Property Institute of Canada, being held in Ottawa from February 1-3, 2005.
This year’s theme, Real Property in the Real World, is woven throughout a variety of interactive sessions providing increased opportunities for dialogue and to present comprehensive, hands-on training in four streams – sustainability, partnerships, renewal and client relationship management.

For the third consecutive year, Gill Advisors Inc. will be involved with the RPIC Conference Program as leaders in providing Workplace Continuity consulting services internationally to public and private sector organizations, whose threshold for operational downtime is minimal. Gill solutions are derived from expert research and case studies, as well as a network of organizations with expertise in specialized areas that align the principles of workplace continuity.
Business Continuity for Real Estate Managers
Tony Gill, Managing Director, Gill Advisors Inc.

This session will provide real estate managers with a wide ranging view on how business continuity planning (BCP) has evolved - particularly since the 2001 terrorist attacks.

The discussion will place BCP within the wider context of risk management, and will demonstrate the degree to which real estate managers typically integrate risk management in their daily duties (currently the emphasis is clearly on emergency planning) and how their effectiveness in this area can be enhanced if a more holistic approach is taken – a process that would include the integration of basic principles of BCP.

This session emphasizes the importance of the facility as the place where organizational operations take place, thus it is incumbent upon all facility managers to recognize the facility as the operational hub, and thus understand how the fields of real estate strategy and business continuity planning converge. Some of the areas discussed in this session will include:

  • Communication systems
  • Building monitoring systems
  • Factors that constitute the ideal backup site
  • Using an existing portfolio to maintain critical operations
  • Participation in programs with offsite participants
  • Demonstrate overt and obvious responses from real estate managers, and more strategic responses that if acted upon can enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of real estate
  • Exploring how a BCP-oriented real estate strategy can be used to derive new sources of revenue
If you're attending the RPIC National Workshop this year and want to discuss real estate strategies, make new connections, or just share a few pints of Molson Canadian and discuss the NHL Lockout as a business continuity problem of national concern, please give me a call or email.

Saturday, January 08, 2005

Satellite Photographs of Tsunami Destruction

Incredible satellite photographs of areas hit by the tsunamis, aligned "before and after" to show the effects of the disaster. There are fourteen sets of photographs, so use the "NEXT" and "PREV" links to view them all.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Ice Storm Damage in Canada, 1998

This week marks another anniversary of the Ice Storm of 1998, we are reminded by this retrospective from Canada Online.
For six days in January 1998, freezing rain coated Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick with 7-11 cm (3-4 in) of ice. Trees and hydro wires fell and utility poles and transmission towers came down causing massive power outages, some for as long as a month. It was the most expensive natural disaster in Canada. According to Environment Canada, the ice storm of 1998 directly affected more people than any other previous weather event in Canadian history.

The toll, in casualties and economic damage, has been calculated.
  • 28 people died, many from hypothermia.
  • 945 people were injured.
  • Over 4 million people in Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick lost power.
  • About 600,000 people had to leave their homes.
  • 130 major power transmission towers were destroyed and more than 30,000 utility poles fell.
  • Millions of trees were brought down by the freezing rain.
  • Estimated cost of the ice storm was $5,410,184,000.
These numbers give some perspective to the costs of the South East Asia Earthquake and Tsunami.
The earthquake and tsunami that struck Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, Thailand, and six other countries Dec. 26 left more than 150,000 people dead and about 5 million homeless. So far, more than $5 billion in direct aid has been pledged by governments around the world, according to one estimate at a summit in Jakarta today of leaders from the nations involved.

Undoubtedly, the total economic costs of the tsunamis will boggle the mind, when estimated seven years from now. It is expected that the reconstruction may take a decade. Unprecedented cooperation of the world community will be required for the affected nations to recover financially. The human costs are incalculable.