Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Why or Why Not? Planning Makes Sense.

Keeping up with blogging is far more difficult than I thought it ws going to be. It requires time, and focus. Sometimes I have the time, but admittedly, focus is not one of my strong suits, outside of normal activities.

So, disaster of multitudes has hit Japan: an earthquake of major proportions, followed by a huge tsunami, and resulting from that a nuclear catastophy the likes of were only imagined in the minds of doomsayers. Who would have thought this much could have hit one nation all at once?

And I guess that would be the natural argument then for Emergency Preparedness, Planning, Testing, Reviewing, Evaluating... need I go on? Still, and I'm constantly amazed by this, North Americans and in particular, Canadians bury their heads in the dirt and profess, "We don't need to plan for extremes like this. This is Canada, nothing like this could ever happen here". Oh, really?

I remember a half decade or so there was a major disruption in the power of the entire eastern continent, that left some without power for a few hours, and other for weeks. And pretty near to that, an ice storm that left Eastern Ontario and most of Quebec without heat and light, nor runing water for many weeks to months.

The point is, we can never tell what nature is going to hurl our way. Where I am, east of Toronto, there isn't much thought of earthquake. And when one comes our way, we barely feel the "large ones" we get at 3 to 3.9 R. We seldom if ever give thought to the St Lawrence Valley Rift Fault on which the "Golden Horseshoe"  is situated.We don't really have much in the way of hurricane, but in the 50's a biggie named Hazel took lives through flooding. We say we're not in "tornado alley", yet there has been an increase in tornado activity in Souther Ontario. And I'm sure if I sat here long enough, I could come up with examples of all types of disaster that might strike.

As for the terrorism threats, we've been really fortunate that all that were under planning in the area were discovered and thwarted before they had a chance to be enacted. Good intellegence, or something else, like luck?

The main objection I always hear is "why spend all that money for something that will never be needed?" Never? Really? For those that had plans, for each of the more recent events I mentioned above, they were enacted and response was simple. Municipalities enacted for certain. They managed these crisis' very well, with minimal if any disruption. It can work the same for business too.

Every time an Emergency Plan is enacted, it actually pays for its development. Down time costs money. Any disruption is down time. Minimizing downtime saves money. If an Emergency plan minimizes disruption, it must therefore minimize downtime, thus saving monetary loss, so there is a return on investment. Make sense? It can be through many small events, or realized with one large event, but in the end the cost of preparation is always returned in preventing or minimizing loss.

I'll get to the human factor next time.

Greg Long, President TEN33 Inc.