BOMA Toronto exercise raises critical Issues of dealing with a pandemic
“When a pandemic hits, it likely will be a slow, evolving situation, and we wanted our members to understand what is likely to happen as it unfolds,” said Douglas Macy, chair of the BOMA Toronto emergency management committee and a vice president for North American Security Services. “We wanted to create an experience that would show the weaknesses of emergency plans that failed to take into account the ramifications of a large number of employees getting sick and staying away from work. What happens, for example, if you’re sick, call your boss to let him know, but he’s out sick… who gets the message?”
With a mandate to provide value to its more-than-700 members, Macy said, “BOMA Toronto wanted a program that would bring to the audience the key salient points of the situation in an interactive environment and let them get what it was all about.” The Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) of Toronto has served the Greater Toronto area’s commercial office industry for 90 years with education, leadership and professional development services.
“We had Attainium conduct another program for us a year ago,” Macy said, “and we asked them to develop this program for three main reasons. First was their professionalism in crafting a message that fit our needs. Second, we had confidence in their ability to deliver the session in the manner we expected, and, finally, we knew they had the teaching skill to achieve our goals.
“Attainium is an expert in this subject matter, and we are fortunate to have a relationship with them,” Macy said. “The session was done with a passion for the subject, and Bob [Mellinger, Attainium CEO] was able to convey the importance of the situation and focus on the key concerns of the audience. We had more than 140 people at the session, and it was clear they were all committed to the event and found value in it.”
Participant Cindy Woyslaw, a property manager with Menkes Property Management, said that “the session made me stop and think that, although a pandemic is not imminent, we needed to consider issues like how we would meet staffing levels, and what was the minimum staff we would need to keep things running in case people simply couldn’t get to work because of illness.”
Michelle Scott, facilities leader with Royal & SunAlliance, said that her disaster response committee attended and that everyone worked well as a team. “We actually could walk through the plan without a real disaster in play, and it allowed us to see how we worked together and how different people handled situations. It worked very well.”
“After doing two programs with Attainium, and getting the kind of response and feedback that we have received from our members,” Macy said, “I highly recommend that Attainium’s Disaster Experience™ be the de facto choice for any organization interested in communicating a message about emergency
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