Remembering the Kaikoura earthquake: Time to reflect on your organisation's preparedness

As we approach the 5th anniversary of the Kaikoura earthquake on 14 November it is a good time to reflect on how ready we are for an unexpected crisis.

For most of us it is extraordinary how quickly we adjust to the new normal and forget just how confusing and disruptive emergency and crisis events can be, especially if we are unprepared. How much have we learnt the lessons from the past?  Have we put in place the things we know we will need to cope?  Or have we just moved on, pretending we have learnt, but doing much the same as before?

In our new COVID world, where things continue to evolve, we are starting to find that some organisations are becoming overly confident, even complacent, in their abilities to cope with a crisis. “We coped with COVID, we can cope with anything” appears to be the underlying message.

But what about different types of crises? What if it was another major earthquake, volcanic eruption, or tsunami? How well would your organisation cope with a traumatised workforce; loss of premises, water, electricity, and the all-important internet; with mobile networks overloaded and nothing to recharge our devices; many roads impassable? Or maybe it is a major disruption to national and international logistics systems causing loss of the supply chain and a rush of panic buying of essential items like food and fuel.  Any of these could happen tomorrow, while we are still figuring out whatever else we need to do with the rapidly changing COVID situation.

As we head towards 14 November, spend some time thinking about how well prepared you really are for the next disruptive event. What do you need to have in place before it happens to make sure you and your organisation get through and recovery more quickly? And then act on it, while it is fresh in your mind and before you slip back into complacency, blind optimism, or blissful ignorance.

If you’re unsure where to start and want to quickly assess your organisation’s preparedness, have a look at Resilient Organisations’ rapid assessment tool.

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