The recent past has been blotted with civil / military unrest in Libya, Bahrain, earthquake in New Zealand, floods in Australia and earthquake / tsunami / nuclear disaster in Japan among other major setbacks. A few of them are man-made whereas others are natural calamities.
What do businesses have to guard against, in their preparedness against risks in these scenarios?
Detailed risk analysis covering all categories of risk is essential to plan and put in place risk mitigating measures.
FM professionals need to essentially work out processes, procedures, select key personnel, set up preplanned communication networks etc to mitigate risks.
We need to learn from earlier events rather than start re-inventing the wheel once a disaster has struck.
The videos on the recent natural disasters in the Island countries in the Pacific Ocean show the devastating effect of earthquakes and tsunamis. Loss of property and people probably are inescapable in such furious incidents, but could be minimised once we are prepared for it.
How to go about the risk assessment?
- Firstly list out all the possible risks – natural, man-made, external, internal, geographical, historical etc.
- Assess the effect on business / assets / people in case of occurrence. This would further help in quantifying the likely losses and working out insurance etc.
- Assess the probability of occurrence of each event. Two examples are given to amplify this. Probability of fire occurring in a boiler house may be assessed as high in the absence of fire prevention measures. Probability of a critical data center going without power would be low considering all the back up provided to support it.
From the table with the above elements, the risk management teams can come to a decision on the mitigating actions to be put in place to minimise the effects of each risk that needs to be covered.
Imagine the situation of evacuating employees from Libya and Japan since that is the only option left.
Being prepared is one thing and practising the same is another thing. Mock drills are essential to check that all the processes, procedures are adequate and the people know their roles in such activities.
Be prepared and be safer should be the FM fraternity motto.
Let us not be averse to risk taking, but be prepared for the consequences.