The second earthquake to have shaken many states in the Arabian Peninsula is a wakeup call for businesses and organisations to make sure their BC Plans cover the unexpected, including earthquakes.
The events over the last two weeks are so typical of disasters. That is they were unexpected, there was no warning and it was something that was totally unexpected. People left their buildings without their plans, and the key bits of support they needed such as keys, and laptops. Then once outside of the building they were left wondering, what do I do next.
As a New Zealander, I am used to earthquakes, but what I am not used to is being in such tall buildings and having to walk down so many flights of stairs. These tall buildings really do shake, and having been built on reclaimed land they shake even worse. This is scary for us all, and I am aware of incidents where people were refusing to return to a building. Earthquakes are very scary things, because you cannot control them, you do not know when they will hit, how hard they will be and how long they will last.
With an earthquake, it should be remembered that not only could your building be damaged, but so too can be the roads, bridges, airports and ports. Add to this if liquefaction takes place then the underground services such as water, electricity, data and sewage could also fail.
Last year I chaired a conference in New Zealand on disaster and business continuity planning and there were many lessons learnt from the Christchurch earthquakes. We are only too happy to share that knowledge with businesses and organisations in the Middle East,
It is often difficult to get businesses and organisations to appreciate the need to have a business continuity or a disaster plan and if I had mentioned the word earthquake, people would have told me “we do not get them in the Middle East”. Well the events over the last week have proved everyone wrong. People need to have a plan and it needs to be able to cope with the totally un-expected and the unusual. It is no longer a “tick in the box” exercise required by legislators, there are good business and ethical reasons to have a plan in place