If your CEO asked you – a private-sector business continuity manager (BCM) – to list the major, long-term risks to your company, what risks would be on your list? Or if an elected official asked you as a public-sector emergency manager (EM) to list the major long-term risks to your community, what risks would be on that list?
If your lists include a standard litany of disasters – earthquake, fire, power outage, flood, disk crash, infectious disease – don’t be surprised if your CEO or elected leader sighs and walks away, because I am absolutely certain that none of those are on her list.
And if your lists include “terrorism,” I think it’s time you stopped watching “Homeland” (an American television series).
There is nothing wrong with doing contingency planning, of course. It is a worthwhile, noble – if thankless – professional activity. It saves lives and protects assets in the public and private sectors. It pays for the groceries at my house.
Could lack of access to water motivate a young man to commit an act of terrorism? This is the first of three stories in the presentation “Water & Disasters: The Impact of Thirst” at the World Conference on Disaster Management in Toronto, Canada in June, 2010. It is a fictional account of the way in which water scarcity could create emergencies in the future.