2003 Alfred E. Alquist Certificate Winner:

The Business and Industry Council for Emergency Planning and Preparedness

The Business and Industry Council for Emergency Planning and Preparedness (BICEPP) was founded in 1983 by a group of leaders of major businesses in Los Angeles who had responded to the Mayor’s call to develop programs that would help the City’s businesses be self-sufficient in the days following a major disaster. The impetus for the Mayor’s call was the recognition that, in the event of a damaging earthquake, the City of Los Angeles ’s primary responsibility would be to restore basic public service functions before rendering assistance to the private sector.

Established as a private sector, self-help association funded by annual sponsorship donations, BICEPP became a nonprofit corporation in 1988, and is managed by an Executive Committee and a Board of Directors.  Today, the BICEPP goal remains the same... "To provide a forum for informational exchanges to enhance emergency preparedness and contingency planning within the business community." This goal has brought many sponsors to the support of BICEPP’s mission.  Sponsors range from multi-billion dollar corporations to small business owners and individual consultants. Sponsorship is not limited to the private sector, with many sponsors representing federal, state, county or city offices of emergency services, law enforcement agencies and fire departments. These representatives provide valuable liaison as well as professional advice, support, and cooperation.

The BICEPP program has included a wide range of activities designed to prepare businesses to be self-sufficient should a disaster occur.  The BICEPP programs recognize that  mitigation measures and post-disaster recovery plans are essential to the survival of individual businesses and that they are necessary to ensure retaining market share and a competitive edge.  Activities have ranged from sponsorship of seminars and workshops on emergency planning to the establishment of networks and publications to facilitate the exchange of information.  The BICEPP Bulletin, published quarterly, contains articles by emergency planning and preparedness professionals as well as information on forthcoming seminars and other emergency management news.  The numerous BICEPP seminars and workshops have addressed a broad range of topics, including:

  • Critical incident stress management,
  • Business planning for regional business recovery,
  • Business planning for short-term earthquake predictions,
  • Haz-mat disasters as earthquake side effects,
  • Train-the-trainer programs to provide practical information on how to plan, organize, market, and conduct earthquake preparedness workshops for individual businesses, 
  • Disaster communications alternatives,
  • Loma Prieta earthquake economic recovery,
  • Lessons learned from the Armenia earthquake, and
  • Search and rescue for business and industry.

One of BICEPP’s hallmark activities was the launch in October 1987 of BICEPP's "Exercise '88, a Corporate Response to Disaster Survival." The Exercise continued through April 1988 and provided the Los Angeles area business and industry community with an opportunity to develop plans, scenarios, exercises, and emergency operations centers, and to do so with their peers. The 6-month Exercise included numerous workshops, seminars, and events, all dealing with earthquake disasters. It was by far the biggest event of its type in the history of California at that time. It spawned many new papers, reports, documents, and practices about earthquake planning for business and industry.

In awarding BICEPP the California Earthquake Safety Foundation’s Alquist Certificate for 2003, we join others in recognizing BICEPP’s innovative purpose and its continuing encouragement of all organizations to work together to prepare for and manage emergencies. It is BICEPP’s success that has helped to inspire others to create organizations that assist business and industry to be as self-sufficient as possible following disasters. BICEPP’s success and example has led to the creation of BICEPP-like organizations in Ecuador , the Philippines , Thailand , Australia , Canada and other areas in the United States .  We laud BICEPP for its innovative promotion of earthquake safety and business preparedness.