Risk management, not crisis management

The temperature, yes the temperature, in itself is not a risk. What is a risk is the events triggered by this temperature. In the last few days, the weather forecasts announced heavy precipitation accompanied by sustained winds accompanied by gusts. It was a certainty, not an unexpected and sudden event. Risk management involves identifying future events and their impacts.

Having weather forecasts in hand, problematic scenarios could be established. A significant snow accumulation in a short period of time, accompanied by severe wind blowing, increases the threat of accidents and pile-ups.

Sound risk management requires that the various scenarios be identified in a mitigation plan and emergency measures. Responsible authorities must then provide for material and human resources as well as operational procedures to mitigate their impacts and minimize the time the crisis lasts. So, establish risk mitigation plans and crisis management plans potentially.

In light of the information I have, a highway in the urban centre (A13 near Montréal airport) was the scene of a foreseeable event, or close to 300 vehicles were blocked from 8 pm to 8 am the next day. So for about 12 hours, people had to wait for the cold in their vehicles, without any communication with the responsible authorities concerned.

In short, an event for which, if a mitigation plan had been prepared, it has obviously not been put into action.

Losses, which have by no means caused any casualties, are obviously multiple, and shared mainly between the owners of the vehicles involved. In addition to material losses, the loss of confidence in the responsible authorities should not be underestimated, as they will have to urgently mobilize significant resources (human and financial) to carry out the post-mortem of the event and, Development of a mitigation plan.

It is a loss for society in general that could have been greatly diminished with an intervention plan/communication, initiated by a sound management of risk. There is no doubt that the actions would have been implemented quickly.

Montreal Gazette

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