1948 years ago in AD 63 an earthquake in southern Italy by the gulf of Naples seriously damaged the ancient city of Pompeii causing an undetermined number of deaths and spread out destruction, but the locals went to work rebuilding in the same spot until they were buried by the eruption of the Vesuvius volcano 16 years later in AD 79.
Galveston TX Hurricanes
Average Brushed or hit every 2.94 years Average Direct hit every 8.63 years
The Great Storm of 1900 - Sep 8th 1900 - Pop: 42,000 residents Category 4 @ 135 mph -Great loss of life between 6,000 and 12,000 individuals – officially 8,000
The 1915 Storm, August 17th, Category 4 @ 135 mph 42 people dead in the Galveston area
$60 - 1915 million dollars in damage
Ike Sep 13th 2008 - The third most destructive hurricane to ever make landfall in the United States Final landfall in Galveston Texas as a strong cat 2 with cat 5 equivalent storm surge winds extended 120 miles from the center.
Blamed for at least 195 deaths – 74 in Haiti and 112 in the USA 300 still missing. - Damages estimated at 24 billion (2008) US Dollars
Resulted in the largest evacuation in the state of Texas history and the largest search and rescue operation in US history
Chernobyl, An Experiment Gone Wrong
On Saturday, April 26th, 1986 at 1:23 am, one of the reactors at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant exploded. Ironically, the experiment consisted in testing how the power plant would respond in the event of an accident. The operators at the plant wanted to bring down the power output of the reactor to 25%, but over-confidence, poor training and poor knowledge of how a reactor works caused them to overdo it, and they ended up bringing down the power output to 1%. When they then tried to bring it up to 25%, the reactor overheated and exploded causing the worst nuclear accident in history.
Despite the increased vulnerability caused by man-made technological and natural disasters, the loss of highly skilled people due to the global financial crisis and the fact that a large percentage of businesses do not reopen after a major disaster such as a hurricane, businesses of all sizes fail to prepare. In addition over 60% of small business executives neglect to develop emergency plans according to polls conducted by FEMA and the Red Cross.
The hysteria caused by the recent H1N1 virus prompted many executives to scramble to come up with plans to face the “impending pandemic”. The flurry of activity died down once they learned that the virus was not going to be the “pandemic” the media had initially forecasted even as the infection spreading continues.
As other current events fill up media outlets, people will likely forget this outbreak and continue to postpone any plans for disaster preparedness until the next “pandemic”
If you own a small business, you must plan ahead for that unexpected catastrophe that could devastate not only your facilities, but also your ability to continue business operations.
Unlike large business that prepare for the worst case scenario, have dedicated resources, and have been for a long time planning for business continuity, small businesses executives see it as an unnecessary cost and as impediment, the utilization of resources that can be used for other purposes. Why prepare for an event that may never materialize?
However high-frequency catastrophic events such as fire, power outages and technology failures occur daily and affect thousands of unprepared businesses forcing them to close their operations.
Preparing for high-frequency events can make the difference between survival and having to close your business after being affected by a disaster.
Where to Start?
It's vital for small business owners involved in disaster preparedness to get independent appraiser or consultant to help accurately assess your business assets if you are to provide some clarity and be able to define strategies to tackle the problem.
You cannot protect what you do not know you have. Taking stock of your business to identify and prioritize your business operation and functions are fundamental to the development of your plan.
Identifying the type of events that are most likely to affect your area and learning about the risks and danger signs are critical to mitigate or eliminate them. This process should be performed on a annual basis as business conditions change.
Only then you will be able to make sensible decisions based on facts and a clear understanding of the critical components you must protect to develop your plan.
As a value added result of this analysis, problems and bottlenecks are identified and solutions become evident adding to the return on your investment even before you complete the process.
The survival decision a small business must make after disaster is choosing between moving on, reopening, or selling off the business, whatever is left. The effect of this decision is in direct proportion with the degree of preparedness business owners decided to implement.
Small businesses who have taken the time to establish a business continuity or disaster recovery plan will be better prepared to withstand the impact of a disaster and to rebuild than a business that was ill-prepared.