I'm waking up this morning to news of three contingency situations. First of all, an Airbus A340 aircraft failed to stop on the runway on landing at Toronto. The Air France emergency evacuation procedures worked pretty much as designed with only relatively minor injuries, we hear.
Secondly, the space shuttle crew are about to undertake a 'delicate task', cutting away some ceramic spacer strips protruding between the shuttle's tiles using a makeshift tool. The tool and cutting process are themselves the product of a well-rehearsed contingency process (the Apollo 13 film is a popular case study for contingency situations).
Finally, today's Handler's Diary from the SANS Internet Storm Center recounts a power incident involving the partial failure of a standby generator and office UPS units. It seems the generator has insufficient capacity for the full startup load, and some of the UPSs were incorrectly installed by users, raising questions about the system design, installation and testing procedures.
Otto von Bismark said "Only a fool learns from his own mistakes. The wise man learns from the mistakes of others" - I'd rephrase the last part slightly: "The wise man learns from the successes and mistakes of others, and makes his own contingency arrangements."
More crisis management and contingency planning resources