Mitigation - Reducing Risk

Identifying and reducing risks is a topic that should concern us all. It is impossible to stop most natural disasters and many man-made disasters from occurring, but by identifying and documenting potential threats, evaluating the likelihood of them being realized, and determining our vulnerability to them, we can take steps to reduce risks significantly or eliminate them completely.

Natural, technological, and human or civil threats are among the most common types that can cause a disaster or serious service interruption:

Natural Threats

In some cases, i.e., a hurricane, meteorologists will give advanced warning that the threat of a natural disaster is imminent, but what about the unannounced natural disaster? What is the likelihood of each type of natural disaster happening in your area? Where do the vulnerabilities lie? In San Diego, California, a winter storm would be a low risk compared to the high risk of earthquakes. If an earthquake happens, what are the vulnerabilities of people, property, and service? How prepared are you for a possible evacuation, rescue of personnel, building damage, or communication loss?

Technological Threats

These events are the result of a technological failure, usually caused by human omission or error, i.e., water pipe break, telecommunications failure, software malfunction. Another example would be the risk of an explosion caused by leaving combustible material next to a welding area. Are there precautions you can take that reduce the potential of these types of threats from occurring, or to reduce their impact if they do occur?

Human or Civil Threats

These types of events are caused by humans, either accidentally or deliberately. Examples include improper handling of sensitive information, computer crime, and vandalism. Has any thought been directed toward the probability of these types of threats being realized? What steps can be taken to reduce the risks?

The old saying "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure" was never more true than in the  identification, evaluation, and mitigation / elimination of risk. Would you take your family in a small boat with no life preservers, not have your car checked before taking a long trip, or not pay your car or homeowners insurance? Have you ever discussed with your family what you would do in case of a fire or tornado? We consider these responsibilities a normal part of daily life. The same should go for your job and business as well.