Monday Properties (formerly Max Capital Management) brought in Attainium Corp to provide an intensive disaster recovery exercise for its property management staff. Managing four mid-town Manhattan properties, Monday Properties had an effective evacuation plan in place and conducted training in life safety issues a couple of times a year, but Attainium’s Disaster Experience was the first tabletop exercise they had undertaken.
“The training was very intensive, with a number of scenarios playing out in real time,” said Art LaMarch, Monday’s VP for property management. “It was realistic and bizarre at the same time, but it really made people think. Setting the groups up so that people switched roles gave everyone an understanding of what others do and think and was particularly valuable.”
Monday participants included a range of roles, including administrative staff, managers, assistant managers, office managers, fire safety directors, security staff, and chief engineers from each building. “It was interesting to see the differences of opinion in how people dealt with situations… the different ways the engineers and security dealt with the police department, for example. As the exercise scenario unfolded, you really saw people’s abilities clearly,” LaMarch said.
“In any disaster, it’s critical for various individuals to work together and for people not to assume that things are really as they seem,” said Bob Mellinger, Attainium CEO. “One of the functions of the Disaster Experience is to help participants understand other roles and to learn that you have to look a little way down the road before you make a decision. If you don’t, you could make things worse.”
“The exercise was very complex and challenging and required strategic thinking about what was done… everyone had to think several steps ahead,” LaMarch said. “The debriefing session had good discussion and logic as people talked about what had happened and the outcomes. I think this is something we’d want to do again with an even larger group.”