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Bouncing Back From A Major Catastrophe

Written by Heidi Schwartz. Posted in Facility Management, Professional Development, Safety

Tagged: , , , , , , ,

Published on April 12, 2011 with No Comments

The disaster plans of many international organizations and businesses have been put to the test by recent world events and some were found lacking, according to risk management experts. Most of the failures can be attributed to a lack of planning and testing of emergency procedures. That’s the view of Cardinus Risk Management following a review of how companies, including its own customers, have responded to disasters.

Jon Abbott

Jon Abbott, managing director – ergonomics and safety at Cardinus Risk Management, said, “Devastation in Japan and New Zealand caused by earthquakes and tsunami has vied for top slot in the news with political unrest and the threat of civil war spreading across the Middle East. Just because we can’t predict these events, it doesn’t mean we can’t plan for them. Planning involves the introduction of systems and these systems must be tested.

“During an emergency, whether it is a global catastrophe or a local incident, people do not always act the way we think they will. A process may fail because an individual’s instinctive first reaction is to help, often disregarding any additional risk that creates. A process may fail because it is not easy to carry out and without testing, how would we ever know? Presumably when it’s tested for real and fails.”

Cardinus believes that a company’s ability to handle a disaster has a huge impact on its reputation. “We feel admiration and wonder at an organization’s ability to emerge from the turmoil and get back to business. Great reputations are built that way,” Abbott goes on to say. “But badly prepared organizations may never recover, and even those that do will carry a heavy reputational burden.”

He went on to say that companies and organizations have an important role to play in the aftermath of a disaster, working in partnership with governments to speed the recovery and stabilize employment and the economy.

Cardinus provides online injury reduction solutions and risk management within the safety, fleet, and property sectors. Established in 1995, Cardinus provides solutions to customers across the United Kingdom, the US, and worldwide.

About Heidi Schwartz

Heidi Schwartz

Schwartz joined Group C Media in April 1989 as managing editor of Today's Facility Manager (TFM) magazine (formerly Business Interiors) where she was subsequently promoted to editor/co-publisher of the monthly trade magazine for facility management professionals. In September 2012, she took over the newly created position of internet director for TFM's parent company, Group C Media, where she is charged with developing content and creating online strategies for TFM and its sister publication, Business Facilities. Schwartz can be reached at

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