Managing the Risks of Earthquakes
A second cup of coffee, a leisurely Labor Day weekend, and some alone time while the family sleeps in all have nice things about them. The calm didn’t last long because, five minutes later, a truck that seemed like an 18-wheeler passed by dangerously near by.
However, that wasn’t a runaway truck. You might recall from the news that an M5.8 earthquake struck my region of Oklahoma. My mind continues to say, “This can’t be right,” as earthquakes are known to occur in California, not Oklahoma. Everyone is aware that only tornadoes occur in Oklahoma and Florida respectively.
‘Everyone knows’ changed to ‘Everyone used to know’ during the last weekend.
We have a storm shelter in our home, several weeks’ worth of food and water in reserve, backup battery-operated radios, tornado insurance, and a well-thought-out strategy. We had experienced some mild earthquakes in the past, but never a true earthquake that caused shelves to collapse, buildings to tremble, and the ground to shake.
The timing is ideal since September is National Preparedness Month, a campaign by the federal government to get people ready for calamities. The timing is right to evaluate your organization’s readiness, as well as your own personal readiness:
Do you have a process in place for risk identification, assessment, and mitigation?
The answer to the question of when is “20 years ago” the optimum time to plant a tree. The second best response is “today” if you haven’t mastered time travel. Now is the moment to establish these processes if you don’t already have them.
How do you evaluate the efficacy of a risk assessment process?
Numerous risk assessment procedures are used by most firms. Shouldn’t you be questioning if the same worn-out list of concerns keeps surfacing each year? Is the level of risk identification so great that it renders the dangers meaningless? A significant health care system’s chief risk officer informed me that they invested several hours of executive time determining the greatest risks. What would happen if Medicare or Medicaid went bankrupt was a concern. Finally, a wise person questioned their anxiety over a situation they had no control over or ability to avert. They would both perish if either did. That gave them more time to concentrate on the risks they could take.
Are mitigation strategies being created and carried out at the appropriate organizational level?
I worked in the oil and gas sector for a while, and on my first trip to a processing facility, I received the standard packed safety instruction film. I questioned the plant supervisor about what to do if anything actually went bomb as we were viewing it. “You run the other way when the firemen come running” is advice I’ll never forget.
Is recognizing, evaluating, and minimizing risk a part of who we are or what we do?
As you would expect, I have a lot of admiration for businesses who prioritize risk management. We recently received a visit from a well-liked client who requested that we begin each day with an activity that they use in all of their offices: Before every meeting begins, participants go around the table and provide a risk-reduction advice for 30 seconds. Something pleasantly impromptu, fast, uncomplicated, and unscripted. They carry it with them everywhere they go because it is who they are.
Happy National Preparedness Month from our nation, which enjoys wishing people a happy-anything! Please set aside some time to recognize, evaluate, and reduce the hazards in your personal and professional life.
I’ll be drinking coffee at seven in the morning this weekend as I prepare for the upcoming earthquake in Oklahoma. There is a completely new area of danger that my family and I need to consider and prepare for.