Business Continuity And The Pandemic Threat

Author: Robert A. Clark

With this book the author, Robert A. Clark, draws attention to an important issue that is on the border between BCM and Risk Management, but what is traditionally attributed to BCM, namely the pandemic threat. This threat is relevant because statistically it has manifested itself every 30 years on average over the last 300 years.

The book is divided into two parts: ‘Part I: Understanding the Threat’ and ‘Part II: Preparing for the Inevitable’

Part I talks extensively about micro-organisms, what a pandemic really is, dangers of germs in the hands of criminals and terrorists, a brief history of the most important known pandemics, and the danger of hospital bacteria (anti microbial resistance of AMR). In two separate chapters, he elaborates on the cases of SARS and the Spanish Flu of 1918-1919, which continue throughout the book as the classic examples. He concludes part I with a comparison between the two cases that are still extremes: the Spanish flu with 50,000,000 deaths and SARS with a good 1000 deaths and ‘only’ 8,000 infections worldwide.

Part II deals with the approach to pandemics. He starts from two positions: preparation and response. He talks about what can be done on a world, national, organizational and individual level. What is important in Part II is, in my opinion, the attention he gives to the important points for a pandemic plan. He does this however, without giving a concrete pandemic plan or template. This, however, he makes good by referring in the appendices to a website where a template can be found: www.bcm-consultancy.com/pandemicthreat. But it does not stay there. He also describes what to do with it if there is no pandemic: practice and validate. He gives an overview of a number of types of exercises, ranging from very simple to very complex and extensive.

A limited part of the attention for the characteristics of a pandemic plan go to supply chain.

Meanwhile it was noted that the template is no longer available on the website. An example of a pandemic plan (in Dutch) can be found on this website: ‘https://emannuel.eu/uncategorized/pandemieplan/’

Manu Steens

Manu works at the Flemish Government in risk management and Business Continuity Management. On this website, he shares his own opinions regarding these and related fields. Since 2012, he has been working at the Crisis Centre of the Flemish Government (CCVO), where he has progressed in BCM, risk management, and crisis management. Since August 2021, he has been a knowledge worker for the CCVO. As of January 2024, he works at the Department of Chancellery and Foreign Affairs of the Flemish Government. Here, he combines BCM, risk management, and crisis management to create a tailored form of resilience management to meet the needs of the Flemish Government.

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