Where are the Emergency Operations Plans (EOP) for your school district or business right now, right this second? You are ahead of the game if you know their location in your office but can you say the same for everyone charged with handling crisis management in your organization?

Here’s the cold truth: The days of only having thick, narrative filled, plastic binders of crisis plans collecting dust on a shelf is a thing of the past.

We all know human caused and natural disasters are more common today than ever, demanding that organizations keep active in updating and implementation of contingency exercises and drills. But here are five reasons why the binder(s) you have today are as dead as disco and won’t work for you before, during, or recovering from emergencies:

1. EOP’s are meant to be living documents which can be updated based on the ever-changing needs of an organization, facility, or group; paper EOPs are static, allowing the information to become frequently outdated.

2. Bulky paper EOPs may provide minimal compliance but are rarely tactical, deployable, actionable plans used by those that need them the most when they are actually needed.

3. During an emergency, key staff is unlikely to take a paper EOP with them during an evacuation of facilities. But they will have their smartphone and, most likely, their tablet device.

4. Paper EOPs are useless to first responders and public safety personnel. They are shelved at the police/fire station the moment they are submitted. Plus, no one wants to thumb through hundreds of pages to find out what you planned to do… and probably aren’t doing during an emergency.

5. Paper based EOPs don’t just lay on a shelf – they are Lies on a Shelf if not trained to, maintained, and easily accessible for routine emergencies.

REM4ed is used by over 2000 K-12 and higher education institutions in the U.S. The enterprise software is used in oil, gas, and utility companies as well as hotels, hospitals, and assisted living facilities. It is an intuitive and knowledge based system tailored to the needs of the user and, since 2008, the online and mobile applications have been continually improved to exceed the identified needs of the user.

Plus, the applications not only allows all crisis plans to be resident on mobile devices without the need for cellular or WiFi connectivity but first responders and public safety officials can access school floor plans, site plans, photos, and the overall EOP using their smart devices as well. Think “LoJack for School Safety.”

Hard copies of emergency documents serve a purpose. An application that allows you to access, audit, update, and share your plans without adding hardware or software to your current IT budget just makes too much sense. Especially when it is available for pennies a day.

In September 2014 as part of National Preparedness Month, On Scene Emergency Management Solutions is offering a free review of existing EOP’s of businesses and schools. For more information, contact On Scene at admin@onsceneconsulting.com or 213-537-2711; more information about our services and software resale can be found at onsceneconsulting.com. Find us on Twitter: @onsceneconsult

 An old friend was complaining to me that his government agency released a Request for Proposal (RFP) and received no bids. None! After asking a few questions about the desired work they were requesting the problem was fairly obvious. Talk of organizational transparency is just that – talk – when RFP’s are bogged down with lofty yet useless criteria.

As someone who reviews RFP’s and Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for possible bid, early triage is always important. And if the scope of work and qualifications sections of the request contain butter knife narrow language such that it appears obvious that the selecting agency is writing for a specific audience – or more likely one specific company – why bother writing a response bid?

But that was not this agency’s problem. They did not have a specific company in mind, which actually could be illegal. They overshot their target audience by mandating a set of bidder qualifications that – when added up – even the most highly qualified company could not meet. They were requiring the bidder to be Warren Buffett with documented and overwhelming public sector engagement experience, who was willing to work for a fee that would not even cover the cost of fuel for the number of subcontractors needed.

Not only did they overthink the room, they overthought their needs.

Our tech driven era of business operations is full of highly qualified though still emergent companies. When government agencies use boilerplate RFP/RFQ language from the 1970’s to address the issues of now, they limit the field to sycophants and has-beens. Damn it, cast a wider net in requesting bids! Will it require a bit more reading and scoring on the part of evaluators? Absolutely. But it will also allow government entities to see that it is time to move away from the Business of Usual.