The coronavirus has driven a lot of people to look into preparing for emergencies and potential hazards. Unfortunately, a lot of this interest is “ad hoc”. The virus is the driving concern. The coronavirus is definitely a hazard, but it is worthwhile to review some basics.
Understanding your risks: Probability and Impact
Families and businesses face many hazards. It is worthwhile to look at all the potential hazards that one can face. Certainly, coronavirus will come up, but even more should more mundane hazards; fire, loss of electrical power, extreme weather. The next step is to figure out the probability of any one event, and then what the impact is.
When one does this, a lot of very real but unexciting hazards become primary concerns. For instance, fire and power loss are hazards which will be threatening long after the coronavirus runs its course.
Don’t make the error of going out and buying things as your first act of planning. Take that hard look at what can impact you, and what is its probability.
The next step is not going out and buying things – it is figuring out what you can do to mitigate the risk.
Lessening or avoiding risks is worth your effort. Identifying your potential hazards is the first step of mitigation – a little knowledge lessens uncertainty and gets people thinking about how to deal with emergencies. Having your family practice getting out of your home in case of a fire. Ensuring your employees can work and communicate from home will keep your customers served in case of a snowstorm keeping people from coming to work. Pruning trees around the power line to your house can help avoid power loss from ice or windstorms. The coronavirus will be avoided by washing your hands thoroughly and more often.
Mitigation is not stressed by all the businesses that want you to buy their products or engage their services.
Planning for specific hazards is one way to prepare, but it can get expensive. It also may leave you unprepared when something you did not see coming becomes a concern.
The smarter thing to do is focus on preparations independent of any one hazard. You will need to communicate, so ensure you have ways to contact your family, employees, and customers and that they can contact you. Water is something you want to have available in any situation. You may want to stockpile some basic supplies – but before you do figure out to what level. A power outage may last a few hours, a snowstorm may shut down a region for days, and other hazards are of longer duration.
Plan for a set time period, and know your limitations, so you can start to think about when it is you may need some assistance. Where you can get such assistance is something I will cover in another post.
Take a hard look at your risks, and realize you can mitigate and plan to cover many hazards. Reacting to a hazard in the news is not the best way to ensure your family and your business is resilient.
I will detail how to identify your risks, mitigate and plan for them in detail in future posts.
Remember – preparation is not about fearful reaction, but dispassionate planning. Also, keep your wallet in your pocket until you have done the hard work of identifying your risks and starting your plan.
One thought on “Pragmatic emergency planning”
Very good perspective, Peter.