Major Survival Incident Kit – What’s In Yours?

Following a sparkly pressie from the guys at TOPdesk, we got to thinking here at Enterprise Opinions towers about what should go in our emergency kit for dealing with Major Incidents.


To be fair, my Starbucks habit is slightly worrying but staying caffeinated helps me stay on the ball. When dealing with a crisis, sometimes you just need a second to figure out the next step. Taking a sip of your drink, be it coffee, green tea or water, takes you out of the situation momentarily and gives you a chance to clear your head and come up with a plan. That said, this is effectively me on a bad day:

Key Phone Numbers

Picture the scene, my second day at a Problem Management gig and a contracter accidentally hits the EPO button in the data centre. For the uninitiated, an EPO or Emergency Power Off button is something that instantly takes out the power to a room and is there as a safety measure in the event of a fire or someone suffering an electrical shock. They’re usually bright red and labeled EPO. Unfortunately in this case, it’s proximity to the door meant the chap in question mistook it for the door release button and pressed it taking out all services to the building and 8 major customers. As this wasn’t a DR test, there was no way to fail over cue an epic Major Incident and the Service Desk sat in shock because they had no working phones and no corporate address book to look up phone numbers. Not our finest hour. No one was saying anything so I did the only thing I could think of at the time; told everyone to use their mobiles to call everyone they had numbers for, starting from the top down until we were able to restore power, promising that I would personally pay their mobile bills if the finance department rejected the resulting phone bill. It was the only option we had at the time and luckily we were back up with the basics in about 30 minutes but my overriding memory of that day was feeling really out of control. Let’s face it, that level of faffery in a Major Incident is never good.

Phone Charger

I love my iPhone. It’s pink (obvs) has every app I can think of and goes everywhere with me. It has unfortunately naff all battery life so I carry a charger with me at all times.

Inner Calm

Feedback that I’ve had time and time again when I’ve done Incident Management type roles is how calm I seem when things are kicking off. I have no idea why people think I’m calm, I can promise you that it’s all a huge act. Inside my head, I’m having kittens or reciting every swear word I can think of or wishing I could hide under my desk but when I have a Service Desk full of analysts relying on me, I’m not going to let everyone down by panicking and then making mistakes. I guess you could say it’s a bit like parenting, as a mum of three I can tell you that kids can sense uncertainty, fear and in the case of my little darlings, chocolate buttons at twenty paces so the trick is to have a total air of “I’ve got this”. Fake it til you make it; act as though everything’s grand, you’ll calm down which will in turn calm down everyone around you and you can focus on getting everything fixed.

What would you have in your “break glass in case of emergency kit”? Let us know in the comments!

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