Complacency Breeds Bigger Disaster

Global climate change has once again reared its ugly head, this time in the U.K. With its ability to reveal inadequate disaster preparedness measures, climate change will be the next big hurdle toward effective disaster preparedness — going into the next decade and beyond. It is only human nature to grow complacent between bouts of natural disasters.

For the U.K., recent flooding has brought up memories of the massive flooding that occurred in that country over 60 years ago. To make matters worse, funds earmarked for defense against natural disasters fell last year. This puts preparedness levels at odds with the increasing danger that climate control brings to the situation. This, in turn, could lead to a real disaster of epic proportions, as flooding ranks second only behind a flu pandemic as a natural disaster risk, according to an article published by www.guardian.co.uk.

Add to this the basic air of unpreparedness of the commercial sector in the U.K., and it would seem that the next big flood could be an event on the level of Hurricane Katrina or Hurricane Sandy as seen in the U.S. The bigger question is, how can we apply the lessons learned in the U.K. to America?

For one, complacency often leads businesses and organizations to be unprepared to the extent needed to effectively deal with a disaster. Slowly, over the course of many such disasters, changes in both how we deal with such events and how we look at them going forward have taken place. Regardless of ground gained in doing away with the complacency that typically follows once a disaster has sunk far enough into the memory of those involved, more needs to be done.

In the past, such disasters have been dealt with as they happened. Now though, emergency managers and disaster preparedness officials look to the future to develop actions that can be taken now that will make recovery easier when the next big storm hits. It is this new culture of preparedness that will make the difference. The way forward is to anticipate disaster and put into place measures and supplies that can make such a disaster easier to deal with when it does take place.

While we all know that complacency can put us in harm’s way during a disaster, organizations often still put emergency preparedness and business continuity planning on the backburner. To avoid falling into this trap, remember to reassess emergency plans at least every year, and dig deeper into recovery efforts to avoid being wiped out during a disaster.


For more information about how to take lessons learned from past events and apply them to the present, visit: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2013/feb/02/floods-disaster-waiting-to-happen