Is Your Pandemic Response Plan Ready?

As soon as it was clear the novel Coronavirus was spreading, many organizations are dusting off and updating plans developed in response to the swine flu pandemic in 2009. This is entirely appropriate. However, one of the things we learned in that pandemic was that one must ask the basic question: “What does this mean to my company?” and apply the answer to their plans.

Below are four suggestions for making sure your pandemic response plans are ready for any crisis.

pandemic response

1. Don’t rely on the media for situational awareness.

You need accurate, timely information on both global and local levels. Your best sources are the Centers for Disease Control and your local health authority. This information can be supplemented but not replaced with reputable news sites such as the New York Times or the Washington Post. Accurate information both allows you to react quickly to a change in risk and to counter rumors and bad information picked up by your employees.

pandemic response

2. Focus your plans on your organization, not the global situation.

Many of the plans developed during the swine flu pandemic based their triggers on government threat levels rather than on conditions specific to the organization. For example, you may wish to activate your plan even if the threat level is low if you notice many employees getting sick. Let current or anticipated conditions guide your response.

pandemic response

3. Make sure you have the resources to implement your plan.

Waiting until you are faced with a crisis is not the time to purchase supplies such as hand sanitizer and protective masks. There is always a shortfall of basic supplies when people begin panic buying. But this is only a minor problem compared to bad assumptions about your technical capabilities. While most organizations have incorporated having employees work from home into their plans, few have tested their infrastructure and operating protocols can support this level of activity.

pandemic response

4. Integrate your emergency plans.

Many organizations create multiple plans based on potential scenarios. However, the framework established in your basic response plan is adaptable to any scenario. The roles and responsibilities, communications protocols, employee support, and so forth that are contained in that plan will change very little from crisis to crisis. Modify them to meet emerging needs; don’t reinvent the wheel.


Despite the CCPA’s complex requirements, with the right processes and technologies in place, you’ll be able to keep all your personal data safe, stay on the right side of the law, and be better equipped for other privacy regulation further down the line. And of course, avoiding the hefty fines that CCPA can cost companies will be a great help to any company.


About The Author:

Lucien G. Canton, CEM has over 30 years of experience in hazard and risk analysis, loss mitigation and emergency planning. Highly regarded for his successful disaster response and mitigation programs, Lucien joined the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in 1990 where he assisted in the development of disaster response capabilities encompassing strategic planning. He was responsible for the implementation and coordination of field operations. Lucien was later appointed to Director of Emergency Services for the City of San Francisco where he served as a policy advisor to Mayor Willie L. Brown, Jr., on emergency management and homeland security issues.

Mr. Canton is TAL Global’s Managing Director of Emergency Preparedness.

TAL Global is an elite security consulting and risk management firm that protects human and physical assets around the globe; a team of world-class, interdisciplinary security experts who have had experience with these three types of threats as well as others. Please contact us to discuss how we can help you with your security needs. As always, we value your feedback to help us shape our perspective on the world around us and the services we offer.

© TAL Global, 2019