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The 2016 Business Continuity Story

How broad is the Port of Oakland’s influence? Annual numbers tell the story: More than 70,000 jobs are linked to the Port. More than 12 million passengers use the airport. Three million visitors come to Jack London Square.

Global trade, travel and a region’s economy depend on the Port of Oakland. For those reasons, the Port must maintain operational integrity – even in emergencies. If disaster strikes, the Port’s objective is to account for the well-being of its staff while quickly restoring operations.

In 2016, the Port updated its Emergency Operation Plan. The plan is a blueprint for recovering from catastrophic events. It spells out four key functions: 1) responding to an emergency, 2) communication with stakeholders ranging from employees to first responders, 3) assessing damage, 4) restoring operations.

Not every Port emergency involves property destruction or injuries to personnel. Anything that disrupts operations for lengthy periods can trigger an emergency response. With that in mind, the Port’s plan provides for an Emergency Operations Center. Last year 75 employees were trained to work in the center. They can be mobilized at senior management’s command.

Here’s how the Emergency Operations Center works:

  • Senior executives assemble emergency response teams at one of three pre-determined locations within the Port. The teams manage everything from employee safety to operational capability assessments.
  • The Port’s status is communicated to staff and other stakeholders including customers and first responders. Port staff are dispatched to City Hall if a city-wide emergency response is underway.
  • The Center’s senior official deploys resources to affected locations to speed recovery from operational disruption.

The Port conducted three exercises in 2016 to assess how efficiently it mobilizes in emergencies. It will mount a full-scale response drill this year in conjunction with first-responder agencies. Training is planned for all employees in 2017 so they’ll be ready to respond to emergencies.