After the recent historic flooding in the Balkans, it made me wonder about how prepared I was as a business and home owner here in New England, US. According to CNN, Serbia had three months of rain in just three days. Are we prepared for our very own 100 year storm?

The “100 year storm” or the “category 5 hurricane” seem to be regular headlines in recent years. These so called “one-off” or large scale events impact communities far and wide. They raise issues that sometimes have never been thought of or understood due to their scale and complexity. The recent Balkan flooding’s have raised concerns of landmines resurfacing from the Bosnian War. What complex and unthought-of challenges would we be presented with here in New England if we experienced our own biblical size storm?

Does your state and community do enough to understand what the complex challenges might be? Do we ask ourselves the hard questions as to what our real capabilities are as business leaders and members of our communities? I believe we can always do more and should continue to evaluate our state of preparedness.

One tool we can use to evaluate what challenges we might face is the risk assessment. The results from a risk assessment might help support the need for increased awareness and additional measures to protect people, property and other assets.

Another tool is simulation exercises. Simulation exercises challenge our exiting teams, planning documents as well as physical capabilities. An exercise really helps an organization and community understand existing gaps as well as what strategies may be required to reduce the impact of an event. Other benefits of conducting exercises include:

  • Stimulate thought processes.
  • Focus team(s) within a specific situation.
  • Enhance team building within the organization or community.
  • Strengthen the team(s) understanding of the organization’s response process, relevant plans and capabilities.
  • Identify any issues, challenges and / or assumptions.
  • Identify resources necessary to overcome any issues, challenges and / or assumptions.
  • Identify means of overcoming any identified issues, challenges and / or assumptions.

So, can we do more and are we really prepared for a 100 year storm?

Rob Burton

Rob Burton

Rob is a Principal at PreparedEx where he manages a team of crisis preparedness professionals and has over 20 years of experience preparing for and responding to crises. Part of his leadership role includes assisting PreparedEx clients in designing, implementing and evaluating crisis, emergency, security and business continuity management programs. During his career Rob has worked for the US State Department’s Anti-Terrorism Assistance Program, as a crisis management consultant in Pakistan and Afghanistan where he negotiated with the UN and Pashtun tribal warlords and he served with the United Kingdom Special Forces where he operated internationally under hazardous covert and confidential conditions. Rob was also part of a disciplined and prestigious unit The Grenadier Guards where he served Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II at the Royal Palaces in London. Rob was a highly trained and experienced infantryman serving in Desert Storm and commanded covert operational teams and was a sniper. Rob has keynoted disaster recovery conferences and participated in live debates on FOX News regarding complex security requirements and terrorism. Rob has a Queen’s Commendation for Bravery.