Report: If World Economy Breaks, We Only Have A Single Week to Recover?

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An alarming report publicized last week by Chatham House, a London-based policy institute for international affairs, declares that the global economy would survive only up to a week if it were the victim of a major disruption as a result of either an attack by terrorists or a sufficient natural disaster.  That’s a jarring but logical assessment and all the more reason to consider how resilient your organization is and how well prepared you are personally.

The report itself really struck a chord with me because although I’m very much not a fan of thriller/horror stories – life itself is full of enough scary stuff – I recently read One Second After.  At the beginning of the novel, somebodies set off a series of EMPs.  No blinding light or mushroom cloud, no shock wave destroying city skylines, not even any lingering radiation.  Just a silent, invisible pulse of electromagnetic radiation – harmless to humans and other animals but deadly for any machine that has micro-circuitry which, of course, these days means everything.

The story is fictional but the author provides a brilliant, analytical dissection of a variety of scenarios resulting from the almost complete loss of electricity and the total shutdown of freight transport.  Without giving too much away, one of the more sobering plotlines revolves around the sudden, long-term inability to either make or transport insulin, a drug that’s so ubiquitous that it’s practically taken for granted (25.8 million Americans have diabetes and that number continues to grow each year).

The scenario in the book is chilling and extreme but it begs the question, especially in light of the Chatham House report:  what could you or your organization not go more than a week without?  It seems like such a short period of time but not when you start to consider consumables, fuel, refrigeration, sanitation . . . medication.

There’s a difference between fear-mongering and urging reasonable preparation, the whole point of which is to minimize the fear should anything ever interrupt the productivity of your organization or day-to-day life.  This rings true especially in the era of FEMA doing it’s level-headed best to minimize the post-disaster expectations of citizens.  (Just last Friday morning, Citizen Corps tweeted, “In case of a major emergency… we may not be able to come out as quickly as you’d like. Prepare. Plan. Stay Informed fema.gov/medialibrary/m…”) Have you prepared as much as you can?

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