On the occasion of receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award presented by DRI International

Awards of Excellence_Winner - Lifetime AchievementAcceptance speech by Brian Miller on the occasion of receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award presented by DRI International on March 8, 2016

Friends, colleagues and conference delegates; as I stand here before you this evening, I feel somewhat uneasy because I know of many others who are also deserving of this award. Congratulations to all the nominees; the nomination itself is an important recognition of a significant contribution to our profession. I wish to thank the people in Canada, United States and other countries who took the time to cast a vote for any of the candidates.

It is indeed a great honour to be recommended and selected by my peers and it is many of those same people to whom I owe such gratitude for supporting me through the times when difficult decisions were made and significant risks taken to ensDRI Awardure and augment our profession.

My career in business continuity and emergency management has been enhanced by my involvement in DRI CANADA, DRI International, the Disaster Recovery Information Exchange and the Canadian Centre for Emergency Preparedness. While I contributed to these organizations in leadership roles, they gave back so much more than I put in. It is like having a bank account that pays 125% interest on deposits.

The words “lifetime achievement” sound like it is the end of a great period but there remains much more to come! I am looking forward to achieving many more milestones in our profession and I ask you to join me on the rest of the journey. I am appealing to you to seek opportunities to volunteer within our profession, it is only through selfless dedication that we can all move forward. Teddy Roosevelt said it best: Far and away, the best prize in life is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.

 

Removing Barriers to Incident Command System Training

Incident commander vest Vanguard EMC is proud to introduce our new, free online course “Orientation to the Incident Command System” (ICS 100). How does it work? Simply take the course and follow through to the 20-question exam. Students who achieve over 80% on the online exam will be sent a digital certificate.

This course is available free of charge and at any time. It is self-directed and interactive with periodic knowledge checks to help learners reinforce their knowledge. It is designed to leave someone who has no previous knowledge of ICS with a ‘big picture’ overview of how and why ICS works. Time to completion will vary but should be a couple hours to a half-day for most participants.

Why should I learn about ICS?

ICS is the standard for managing the incidents requiring multiple agencies across North America. Its effectiveness in practice, like that of email or a fax machine, is tied to how many people have adopted it into use. Promoting the adoption of ICS among Canadians is an objective of Vanguard EMC.

In Canada, ICS was first adopted as a way to coordinate efforts among many organizations in fighting forest fires on the West Coast. Since then, it has grown to encompass all first response organizations, including paramedics, police and firefighters. It is quickly becoming the norm for proactive private companies and government departments to use ICS in their emergency planning. Operations Chief vest

Vanguard EMC and ICS

Vanguard EMC’s objectives in providing free training are threefold. First, we aim to raise awareness and understanding of the Incident Command System in Canada among professionals who do not work in emergency management. Second, we want to lower barriers to ICS implementation for organizations. The online option will give planners the ability to quickly introduce many in their workforce to the concepts of ICS. Third, we hope to provide a sample of Vanguard EMC’s expertise to a broader audience and encourage you to enrol in our more advanced training.

Professionals who want to know more about ICS are welcome to register for our ICS 200, 300 and 400 level courses or a related course in emergency management, listed here. In addition to training, Vanguard EMC offers auditing and consulting services in emergency management and business continuity.

 

DRI CANADA Lifetime Achievement Award 2015 – Brian Miller

Award Ceremony at WCDM

Brian Miller takes the stage at WCDM to accept the 2015 DRI CANADA Lifetime Achievement Award.

Vanguard EMC is proud to announce that our president Brian Miller was awarded the DRI CANADA Lifetime Achievement award at the World Conference on Disaster Management June 10, 2015.  I wanted to share his acceptance speech in order to inspire the next generation of Business Continuity and Emergency Management professional to become active in the industry:

Pictures at the DRI Booth with the Award

John Yamniuk, Brian Miller and Brock Holowachuk

Friends, colleagues and conference delegates; as I stand here before you this morning, I feel somewhat uneasy because I know of others who are also deserving of this award. Ironically I prepared the nomination papers for someone else before learning that I had also been nominated. And so I wish to thank the people who took the time to consider me as a candidate and most specifically to my alma mater in the world of BC and EM, the Ottawa Chapter of the Disaster Recovery Information Exchange.

It is indeed a great honour to be recommended and selected by my peers and it is many of those same people to whom I owe such gratitude for supporting me through the times when difficult decisions were made and significant risks taken to ensure and enhance our profession in Canada. Not every battle was successful but in the end we prevailed.

My career in business continuity and emergency management has been enhanced by my involvement in DRIE, DRI CANADA and the CCEP. While I contributed to these organizations in support and leadership roles, they gave back so much more than I put in. It is like having a bank account that pays 125% interest on deposits.

The words “lifetime achievement” sound like it is the end of a great period but there remains much more to come! I am looking forward to achieving many more milestones in our profession  and I ask you to join me on the rest of the journey. I am appealing to you to seek opportunities to volunteer within our profession, it is only through selfless dedication that we can all move forward.

Lockdown? Shelter-in-place? Hold and Secure?

Pop quiz!

You are the Chief Emergency Warden of a workplace two blocks from an escalating protest. The crowd could become unruly and shift toward to your building. You decide to lock the exterior doors, close blinds, advise employees of the situation and ask them to remain indoors, away from exterior windows, until the protest has been resolved. You place signs in the main doors advising that your business is closed until further notice.

Now, from the list below, which procedure did you just perform?

  • Lockdown
  • Shelter-in-Place
  • Hold and Secure

Chances are, regardless of which you chose, a significant number of your peers will have chosen something else. Your answer was likely determined by some combination of your organization’s own terminology, when and where you were trained in emergency management, and your role within emergency management.Picture Blog May 2015

The inconsistency of emergency management terminology across industries, geography, and various schools of thought may create additional confusion or miscommunication during an emergency, thereby placing people and property at risk. We, as an industry, should strive for common terminology among roles and organizations to mitigate this risk.

Vanguard EMC’s presentation at the upcoming DRIE Ottawa’s 2015 Annual Conference will address this inconsistency and will appeal for a push toward standardization in terminology across the industry.

How do you define these terms? Which publications do you consider ‘authoritative’ on EM terminology? Have you witnessed inconsistent communication cause harm in your organization? Please comment below or join us June 3rd in Ottawa!

(My answer: Hold and Secure)

Enhanced Exercise Implementation at Vanguard

What would happen if your organization was affected by multiple incidents at more than one location? Have your plans ever been tested or your employees exercised in a multifaceted scenario?

In February of 2015, the Vanguard EMC team successfully navigated their most complex exercise to date. It was multi-location (3400 km apart), multi-functional, multi-scenario and included the use of the Incident Command System (ICS) for response and recovery.

The multi-location aspect necessitated tight control of timing in the design phase to keep the exercise sites synchronised. In preparation, the exercise design team worked tirelessly to refine each inject to support the exercise objectives and ensure each participant had the opportunity to practice their role.

Multiple dry-runs were instrumental in achieving a successful outcome. These dry-runs helped to identify and resolve many small issues that, if unchecked, could have become ‘disconnects’ during the live exercise.

The team learned that direct voice communication for the facilitator support is not always required; email and text work well. Facilitator support proved essential to the smooth coordination of the complex exercise.

Vanguard provided an ICS expert for each of the response and recovery teams to guide the players through the implementation of the Incident Management system. Access to an ICS coach was helpful to the participants as it provided them with more confidence.

The Vanguard EMC team was explicitly thanked for our expertise and support by an Executive VP and several Directors of the client organization.

We look forward to sharing our skills with other organizations, helping them to achieve a higher resilience through advanced exercise implementation.

 

The Multi Purpose Emergency Tool at DRIE Ottawa Conference

 

Thank-you to everyone who provided us with new idea’s for our multi purpose tool at DRIE Ottawa June 2014. Vanguard EMC Inc recommends including equipment within your emergency operations centre or recovery kit(s) that can be used for a variety of purposes.  This will often make your kit smaller, lighter and easier to store.  As part of our promotional items, Vanguard gives away a free multipurpose item. These six ideas were suggested to us today:

  • Rain Gauge: Place outside on the ground to collect rain.
  • Gopher hole cover: To keep the critters in.
  • Wheel for my little red wagon?
  • Automotive oil catcher: Drip, drip, drip…
  • Bright Bird Bath:
  • Flower pot dish:
  • Vanguardspring2012 017

If you think of more uses for this item, please let us know below. To obtain your free multipurpose tool speak with us at the DRIE Ottawa annual conference in June or at any of the quarterly meetings.

The Many Uses of the Vanguard EMC Inc. Multi Purpose Emergency Tool

 

Vanguard EMC Inc recommends including equipment within your emergency operations centre or recovery kit(s) that can be used for a variety of purposes.  This will often make your kit smaller, lighter and easier to store.  As part of our promotional items, Vanguard gives away a free multipurpose item that can be used as a:

 

  • Plate
  • Water Dish: Place outside on the ground to collect rain.
  • Umbrella: Place inverted over head to protect from torrential downpours.
  • Communication accelerator: Print message, tape to disk and throw to intended recipient.
  • Communication deterrent: Aim at nose of speaker and throw hard.
  • Stress Alleviator: Keeps children, pets and Senior Management relaxed.
  • Vanguardspring2012 017

 

If you think of more uses for this item, please let us know below. To obtain your free multipurpose tool speak with us at the DRIE Ottawa annual conference in June or at any of the quarterly meetings.

DRIE Ottawa recognizes 40 year contribution of Grant Whittaker to BCP Industry

Just before lunch at the DRIE Ottawa annual conference, June 5, 2013, a very special presentation was made recognizing the contributions of Grant Whittaker to the BCP industry. He is retiring this year from DRI CANADA. Grant and Brian 2013

A plaque was presented by Betsy Sayers and Brian Miller from his colleagues in the industry. It read:”Proclamation, on June fifth in the year Two Thousand and Thirteen let it be known across this land that GRANT WHITTAKER is recognized by his peers for:
EXCEPTIONAL CONTRIBUTION TO HIS PROFESSION AND TO HIS COLLEAGUES
EXEMPLARY CONDUCT IN ALL BUSINESS AFFAIRS
LEADERSHIP AND MENTORING
LISTENING AND COMMUNICATING
PATIENCE AND UNDERSTANDING
ALWAYS BEING A GREAT GUY!”
Betsy delivered a short presentation looking back on Grant’s career entitled “BCP trivia”. DRIE Ottawa members learned many interesting facts about Grant’s illustrious career. In the 1980’s, he created one of the first federal government BCP’s for Canada Mortgage and Housing. His company, Merritech, was one of the first BCP consulting companies in Ottawa. As well, it seemed fitting that the presentation occurred at this one day conference, as Grant was both a founding member of DRIE Ottawa and the person responsible for getting this particular conference started back in 2002.

Mr. Whittaker was the Executive Director of the Disaster Recovery Institute Canada (DRI CANADA) where he advised the President and other members of the Executive and Board of Directors on the strategic growth and development of the Business Continuity Profession in Canada. Malcolm Smeaton, current president of DRI CANADA, presented Grant with another plaque recognizing his work for DRI CANADA over the past 10 years. “Under his guidance, DRI CANADA has successfully served the interests of its members, the BCM community and the many organizations in CANADA that have benefited from DRI CANADA training and the professional Certification provided their BCM employees.” Malcolm Smeaton.

This was an emotional occasion for many. According to Betsy Sayers,  Grant was “someone who has had an incredible influence on my life both personally and professionally. I couldn’t have made it through the early years without his wisdom and never-ending patience”. The professionalism of the business continuity management industry has truly benefited by the contributions of Grant Whittaker. From all of us at Vanguard EMC, we wish Grant all the best in his retirement.

Grant and Malcolm 2013

 

Vanguard EMC endorses the Reaching Resilience BC/EM conference 2013

There is a lot of choice when it comes to quality business continuity and emergency management conference style educational opportunities in Canada and the US.

The WCDM in Toronto in June is always a big attraction and has provided our profession with many years of sessions to reinforce our knowledge and provoke our thought. EPICC in Vancouver is another venue that has been available for professionals in the Western provinces.

The 2013 Reaching Resilience Conference at the Metro Toronto Convention Center on May 27, 28, 2013 is a focused learning event that is organized by Malcolm Smeaton who in his previous role with the Ontario government chaired a similar event for six years from 2007 to 2012. Each year that conference was a great success, thanks primarily to the support of delegates and presenters. Reaching Resilience includes speakers on security, business continuity, cyber security, life safety, workplace violence, privacy and crisis management. Speakers came from the public service, academia, police, military, business, industry and the legal community. They also hail from all across Canada and the United States.

This year, three members of our Vanguard EMC team will be presenting at Reaching Resilience on the topic of Getting the Best Value from Exercises. In our practice, Lisa Maddock, Cynthia Wenn and I participate in the detailed planning, facilitation and report creation for many medium and large scale exercises including multiple rooms and simulation cells. While providing our clients with methodology, advice and experience we have also garnered a significant amount of exposure to the subtleties regarding what works and what does not. In addition, we have developed some unique methods of simulating communication and social media that will be helpful to the Reaching Resilience conference delegates.

We believe there is good value in this conference and encourage you to look at the program on their web site 2013 Reaching Resilience Conference

Looking forward to seeing you there!

 

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