When DRI Training Met Winter Storm Stella

Ever hear the ominous term “bombogenesis”? It’s frequently used to describe powerful, quickly-intensifying winter storms – such Winter Storm Stella, which hit the northeast hard, just in time for a DRI course right in midtown Manhattan.

Winter in NYC. Manhattan at nightOne thing Stella had going for it: it was one of those rare events with enough early warning to prepare for potential impacts. That is, of course, what we in the resilience profession are known for, so we were no exception. No winter storm was going to get in the way of this business continuity course!

On the Saturday ahead of the course, DRI’s venue manager Michele Ostler and course instructor Barney Pelant, MBCP, prepped for an anticipated 17 inches of snowfall, learning where students would be coming from and if the course location – the DRI Foundation offices – would even be open during the storm. Thinking ahead, they set up a weblink for the instructor to deliver the course remotely from his hotel room if needed.

Things started off well enough that week – it was a sunny Monday, and 11 of the 15 registered students met up at the course location, which is when Pelant took advantage of the gathering to work out the “BCLE 2000 Preparedness Roster,” collecting each student’s contact info, location, and means of transportation to and from the course. Only four of the 11 students would be commuting to class from outside the city, while the others, staying in local hotels, could walk to class.

Then came Tuesday, and Stella hit the northeast with a vengeance as a Category 3 snowstorm. The storm brought as much as five feet of snow to parts of New York, Pennsylvania and Vermont, along with wind gusts over hurricane force to coastal New England. New York City was spared the worst with about seven inches of snow, but with disrupted and limited rail service on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Stella - Pic 1Fortunately, because of smart planning, the course went on as planned with all students attending in some form during the storm – either on-site, or remotely by the webcast. It just took a little creative equipment use, like during group exercises, teams shared their weblinks with their remote teammates to complete the activity.

This might seem uneventful, but isn’t that the goal, when you take the time to plan and prepare ahead of time? The bottom line: unlike the cobbler whose kids don’t have shoes, DRI practices what it preaches, and Stella failed to stop the delivery of BCLE 2000 in midtown Manhattan March 13-17, 2017.

Thanks to DRI instructor Barney Pelant, MBCP, for the information!

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