Archive for the ‘Disaster and Emergency Response’ Category

They Did What to a Duck!?

September 7th, 2016 Comments off

stephen blog

Working in the security industry and following social media, I have learned not to be surprised by the sheer stupidity and lack of morality of some people.

Recently, some vandals decided to topple an iconic sandstone rock formation, nicknamed the ‘Duckbill’. Why would someone do that? Luckily it was caught on video, but unfortunately, the Duckbill is in thousands of pieces.

Last week my street was the target of several car break-ins again. I live on a cul-de-sac with very little traffic and a forest at the bottom of the street that is attractive to criminals. Two thieves simultaneously worked each side of the road, checking every car door to see if it was unlocked and took what was of value and moved on.

They even stole an unlocked car with the keys in it.  The owner thought he would help his wife out by leaving the keys in the vehicle on his way to work just minutes before the criminals came walking by.

I know the details of what happened because my home security cameras caught some of the action.

I heard neighbours saying, “How could someone do that?” and “How do they sleep at night?” Well, as noted above, you just cannot be surprised at what some people will do. So prepare for it. To start, leave your exterior lights on and lock your vehicles.

If you are a business, have a site security audit performed and put contingencies in place. Ensure your parking lot lighting is adequate. Have clear plans for an emergency evacuation. Run mock exercises, educate and provide training for workplace harassment and bullying. Also, don’t forget to provide refresher courses from time to time, so nothing falls through the quacks.

Article by Orlando Sentinel: 9-11: Is America safer 14 years later?

September 15th, 2015 Comments off

Article by Orlando Sentinel:  9-11: Is America Safer 14 Years Later

HRCI Credits

October 24th, 2013 Comments off

AFIMAC Online Training is running a limited time 50% off promotion for all courses through until Halloween October 31st.  Please note several courses meet the criteria for HRCI credit.  Click here to review courses.

Security Leading into World Cup 2014

July 24th, 2013 Comments off


AFIMAC has launched a private group on LinkedIn for AFIMAC clients and partners to receive expert insights and information related to security in Brazil leading up to the World Cup. A must join group for professionals that travel or have colleagues that will travel into Brazil before, during and after the World Cup.

Requests to join the private group can be sent to Adrian Vergel from the link below…

Contingency Planning vs. Spam Filter Error

August 9th, 2012 Comments off

After months of planning, AFI International and IMAC announced their merger to AFIMAC on August 1, 2012.  There are lots of things to consider when rebranding such as business cards, websites, old hyperlinks, social media pages, etc.  Everything seemed to have switched over smoothly.  I had even sent an email out to Peter Martin letting him know everything was alright around 2pm that day, mentioning that unless any unforeseen hiccups came up…we had nothing to worry about.

Well, there was an unforeseen hiccup – a BIG one.  Every outgoing email that was sent by any staff was ending up in spam filters and not reaching the intended recipient.  But why!?  Our IT and creative department got on it.

After drilling down, we realized that spam companies globally had flagged our new URL.  It had so effectively been keyword targeted that I’d class it right up there with emails that get flagged for ‘Free Viagra Pills’.  As best as we can pin point why, spam filters didn’t know our new URL until August 1st, and so when we emailed the news of our merger to our large client database, it flagged it as spam – even though we’d never had issues sending mass email announcements previously.

So regardless of why, we had to make some major changes quickly.  The IT and creative team did an excellent job to get things corrected, but it was something that nobody reviewing our prelaunch could have predicted.  We were able to make massive change quickly because we had contingencies in place that if we had to completely go in a different direction, we were ready.  We didn’t think we would need it, but having that continuity plan in place was a huge benefit.

Having several backup plans was key, much like strike or disaster planning, but the real lesson learned was that we have no control over what rules and regulations spam companies use and even if we did, they can change at any time.

Media Training for Corporations and Citizens?

July 27th, 2012 Comments off

Even a community is susceptible to a tainted image during a crisis it seems.  Corporations look to media training prior to events that could tarnish their brand and image, or after a disaster to properly handle the crisis in the eyes of the public, but now a community is concerned with their image after a mass shooting.

Residents offered media training after mass shooting

TORONTO – Toronto officials are offering media training to an east-end community rocked by a mass shooting last week after they say residents complained about how they were being portrayed in the news.

Scott McKean of the city’s community crisis response program says residents in the Danzig Street area requested the training after finding their neighbourhood swarmed with reporters eager to interview them.

He says the residents “recognize that there are a lot of eyes on their community” and want to make sure they send the right message.

Read more…

Bus Driver’s Reaction Saves Lives Despite Injuries

June 5th, 2012 Comments off

Back in March I blogged about a school bus driver that was worthy of the hero label, and I’ve come across another hero bus driver.  Sadly though this hero later died of his injuries, but his actions most certainly saved the lives of passengers – it’s quite incredible to watch how he instinctively reacted given the injury he sustained.

Hats off to Mr. Wu Bin.

Bus driver honored for saving lives, while losing his own

Hong Kong (CNN) — Chinese officials have formally honored a bus driver for saving the lives of 24 people when he managed to stop the bus after being struck by a piece of flying sheet metal that came crashing through his windshield.

Wu Bin, the 48-year-old bus driver, collapsed shortly after pulling over. He died on Friday, three days after the accident in Zhejiang province, eastern China.

On Tuesday, the Zhejiang provincial government awarded Wu the title of “Provincial Labor Model”, according to a statement from the government office.

Local officials said all citizens should learn from Wu’s selfless act.

Similarly, the All-China Federation of Trade Unions awarded Wu the “May 1st Labor Medal,” one of the highest honors for Chinese workers.

But officials aren’t the only ones praising Wu for his actions.

Between 2,000 and 3,000 people attended his funeral Tuesday morning, a staff member at the Hangzhou Funeral Home told CNN. People began showing up at 5 a.m. for the 8 a.m. funeral , the staff member said.

Read more and watch video here.

IMAC Helps Keep Businesses Operating During Unanticipated Disruption

May 25th, 2012 Comments off

By: Ohio Chamber of Commerce

When the International Management Assistance Corporation was founded in Marietta, Ohio, in 1983, it offered only support and security services for companies that were experiencing a labor dispute. Whatever the challenge was, from protecting assets to protecting executives, IMAC could handle it.

Over time, the company has expanded and in addition to its original premise, has become a turnkey operation to help a company that is facing any type of business impact — whether it is a natural disaster, industrial accident, plant closure or temporary labor service.

But one matter that hasn’t changed is the company’s home state. IMAC is located and headquartered in Strongsville, Ohio.

“We are trying to drive the kind of ‘buy Ohio’ initiative needed and keep the money in the state of Ohio,” says Senior Vice President Joseph Schollaert.

Customers, though, come from across the globe. More than 5,000 have been assisted since the company was founded.

“We’ve also just recently launched IMAC Global, which provides our services in South America and Mexico,” Schollaert says. “We also have a Canadian operation, AFI International, that is headquartered in Toronto and handles any Canadian work for customers.”

As for the majority of IMAC’s customers, they come from the manufacturing sector. A number are Fortune 100 companies, but IMAC serves both small and large clients.

“A company can contract with us on a per-event basis or have a North American agreement that covers multiple locations where they could engage our services based upon a specific event,” he says. “Our efforts have helped these companies prepare for business disruptions caused by labor disputes that threaten to shut down daily operations, potentially forever.”

IMAC can provide mobile kitchens, dormitory units, shower units and laundry facilities. “We have the capabilities to prepare meals — we have prepared meals for not only labor dispute situations but also natural disasters and environmental situations,” he says.

One of the added values of working with the company is it follows trends and reports them to clients so they can better know what issues may be ahead.

“We as an organization have to understand the needs of our customers and what is driving them for the next two to five years down the road — for instance, what legislative items are out there that are going to impact our customers,” Schollaert says. “This is one of the best ways for us to stay in tune with what is happening, not only in the state but with our clients, and help develop proactive solutions. And with that, we also are able to provide the Ohio Chamber with an additional resource for their members by being a member.”

As a member of the Ohio Chamber of Commerce, a company will receive preferred pricing from IMAC.

Another of the core services IMAC offers is supplying temporary workers to assist during an event.

“We can provide an organization that might be experiencing some type of business interruption and/ or temporary production spike with workers to continue to operate their facility — skilled trades as well as unskilled personnel,” Schollaert says. “There is a shortage right now for skilled trades, and we’ve got a large database of personnel that we have accumulated over the past 27-plus years.”

In addition, about a year ago, IMAC started offering physical and online training.

“We have an online training site that is geared toward security and human resources professionals that hosts a myriad of different topics,” Schollaert says. “About 30 different training modules are on our online training academy where someone can log on, purchase the online training module and take it at their own pace. They also get continuing education credits for completion of those modules as well as certification once they have completed the training.”

Natural Disaster – Tornado Hits School Bus

March 30th, 2012 Comments off

An amazing story of a school bus driver’s handling of what could have been a horrible outcome has surfaced along with tornado footage from inside her school bus.  Angel Perry isn’t hailed a hero in the article or video clip below, but undoubtedly should be.

A natural disaster can occur with little notice, and that was the case in Henryville, Indiana on the day Ms. Perry was returning 11 children home from school.  The way Ms. Perry handled herself and communicated with her young passengers was incredibly well handled, from the way she delivered instructions to the relaxed tone in her voice as not to cause panic – crisis communication can come in all forms I suppose.

Ms. Perry’s ability to remain calm allowed her to make a critical decision – to turn back to the school to take cover from the tornado, and as you’ll see from the camera video from inside the bus, it was a good one.  Even while navigating traffic, making difficult decisions and keeping her passengers calm, Ms. Perry had the wherewithal to have them count off so she knew on exit how many she needed to get off the bus when the time came – listen for it at the end of the video.

Hats off to Ms. Perry.

Video footage and story can be viewed here.


Bus Camera Catches Driver’s Heroics As Tornado Bears Down

Henryville Bus Driver Makes Last-Minute Decision To Go Back To School


HENRYVILLE, Ind. — Dramatic video from a Henryville school bus captured the heroic actions of a driver as she rushed her young passengers to safety as a tornado bore down.

The video, released Thursday, documents the frantic minutes before a massive tornado hit in Henryville on March 2, destroying the high school.

Bus driver Angel Perry was three miles from the school with 11 elementary children on board when reports of a funnel cloud were broadcast over the radio.

“I stopped the bus for a second, put my hands down and said, ‘Dear Lord, what do I do?'” Perry recalled.

That’s when she sprang into action, turning the bus around to head back to school and reassuring her young passengers.

“A tornado is on the ground guys. Quiet! The tornado is on the ground,” Perry can be heard saying in the video. “If you got a book to put over your head, do it. Get in the middle.”

Read more…

How Do You Say ‘Coward’ In Italian?

January 18th, 2012 Comments off

Schettino?  Through time, men and woman have been praised for fulfilling their duties during disaster and emergency response situations  whether it be an armed robbery, natural disaster or other crisis – especially if following through on their duties could have or did bring harm to themselves.

Amongst other things, the owners of Costa Concordia are dealing with crisis communications in the aftermath of a terrible tragedy, and have a long road ahead to repair their brand, but one man – captain Francesco Schettino – guilty or not, he has nullified any hope of convincing the public that he deserves praise by abandoning his ship.

People would not want to be called a ‘Benedict Arnold’, and now I’m sure they wouldn’t want to be called a ‘Schettino’.

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