Chaos in Cleveland?

Courtney Bowers Courtney Bowers | May 13, 2015


This morning was a non-eventful morning.  I was sitting in my office, sipping on my coffee, and working on my monthly reports. Then, the manager of our office building entered our lobby.

The Michael Brelo case is nearing an end. Closing arguments have been heard and a verdict is expected shortly. The question is, when?

Our building manager was concerned, and rightfully so.

Our office is located directly across the street from the justice center where the case is taking place. Just a couple weeks ago, we sat witness to the riots and devastation in Baltimore, and, from our ongoing monitoring of the situation and media this week, our team is aware that the City of Cleveland is actively bracing for the possible impact and chaos that could result when the verdict is announced.

My conversation with the building manager was brief, but he communicated that they planned to place our building on lockdown once the verdict is announced.

Some of you may be reading this and thinking, “I have no clue what I would do first!”

Thankfully, that wasn’t the case this morning in our office.

We have planned.  We have practiced.  We are prepared.

With the possible building lockdown communicated, I knew I needed to escalate this information. I knew exactly who to contact and how. I emailed our business continuity manager and the directors of our company. I would have included our business continuity coordinator, but he was out of the office getting hitched (congrats, Jake!) so I left him off of the communication.

From there, our Crisis Management Team (CMT) quickly connected to assess the situation and review our plan, confirm next steps, and then communicate with all employees.

Emergency Notification Message – Sent via Email:

“[This email is being sent to all employees with action to be taken by those in Cleveland]

Due to the high profile court case currently taking place in Cleveland and risk of civil disturbance, Avalution is preparing to activate remote work procedures for Cleveland-based employees once the Michael Brelo case goes for deliberation (this is a non-jury trial so the judge will issue the verdict – we are assuming the timeline will be accelerated as a result).

Just to be clear – we are not starting work from home until we learn more about the verdict announcement and the timeline.  Please be sure to monitor email and your mobile phone prior to coming into the office. 

The Avalution BC team will send an additional message once we make a decision to activate remote work strategies.

Always be Prepared:

  • You should be prepared to work from home or a client site for up to 72 hours after the verdict is announced. Building management has advised that our building will be on lockdown due to its proximity to the Justice Center.
  • Take work materials home nightly or upon further notification to allow remote work for 72 hours. 
  • Never allow people you don’t know into our offices – if people look suspect, don’t go near the door.
  • Secure client documentation and place other valuables out of plain sight in case any unauthorized people enter the building.   
  • Temporarily, employees should not park near the court house (including across the street and in the pit) and are advised to park on W. 9th to allow easy access and departure from the city.

If you have any questions, please contact the CMT”

Within 30 minutes, every person in our company was aware of the situation.

Currently, we are in a holding pattern and continue to monitor the situation. However, we have peace of mind knowing that every employee knows exactly what to do and where to go, if needed.


I’m not sharing this because I want to instill fear. I don’t believe in that approach.

I’m sharing this because disruptions come in many forms and proactive planning is critical for ensuring that your people – from stakeholders to the general employee population – can quickly, confidently, and safely take action, if needed, and that your organization is protected.

I’m also sharing this because this morning served as a powerful and personal example of the importance of what we do at Avalution.


We believe that proactive planning is key to protecting your organization during a disruptive incident. We also believe in creating customized, pragmatic solutions and challenging the way it has always been done.

If you’d like to learn more about our business continuity and IT disaster recovery services, please visit our website or reach out to us.


Courtney Bowers
Avalution Consulting: Business Continuity Consulting