Thursday, July 16, 2015

There Are No Emergencies, Only Unpreparedness For Events

Emergencies are events with a major surprise, or an event which we don’t believe to have control over. Emergencies are categorized on a scale at the low end of minor emergencies to the high end of extreme emergencies. Everything else in-between are just emergencies. What once was classified as an emergency could be prepared for and no longer become an emergency, or an overwhelming uncontrollable event. Emergencies are manageable to the degree of preparedness and resources allocated.

It is impossible to prepare for all future events, but events which are prepared for will eliminate the surprise of unpreparedness. Even if one cannot prepare for all, one can prepare for selective events.

Emergencies, or non-scheduled events, are as unique as each shade of grey. 
A rule of thumb is the 80-20 rule that states that 80% of outcomes can be attributed to 20% of the causes for a given event. Generally, the 80-20 rule is used to help identify problems and determine which operating factors are most important and should receive the most attention based on an efficient use of resources. Resources should be allocated to addressing the input factors have the most effect on a company's final results. It was an event of the vital few which later demanded that everyone on a passenger ship must have access to lifeboats. 

The 80-20 rule is to manage and allocate resources to either the “vital few” or to the “trivial many”. The trivial many are easy and simple tasks, which contribute very little or none to the cause.  The vital few are difficult and complex tasks with substantial contribution to the cause, and could make the difference between continuous operations or losing it all.  

Preparedness is an opportunity to capture a non-scheduled event. 
Major emergency disasters are unmanageable when resources are allocated based on a low probability score.  However, if allocating resources, training and preparedness to the vital few severe emergencies, these non-scheduled events are no longer unmanageable emergencies, but become management of non-scheduled events.