Understanding your individual & family risk profile

Richard Long, Senior Advisory Consultant, MHA Consulting

Along with the rest of the world, I have been thinking about and praying for those in Japan and Ecuador. When these tragic events occurred I was thousands of miles away on another continent working with a client.

My thoughts immediately went to my family and how grateful I am to live in a place with very little risk of natural disasters. My thoughts also went to a friend of mine who recently passed away. He was in his early eighties and had an amazing life – we had many stimulating conversions and he walked several miles each day. He died suddenly of a heart attack and was not found until three days later – when his children had not heard from him and called the police.

While my family has a plan for gathering and communicating in the event we are separated during a crisis event, I must admit, in my heart of hearts, I don’t think we will actually ever have to use it – ironic for someone in my field. If I have those feelings, I know many of you have the same thoughts. The recent death of my friend and earth showing its power have made me realize that I need to follow the counsel I give to clients.

The most important aspect of any organization is the people – that includes our families. Do you know the risks to your family (most impactful, most likely, etc.)?

Families have many characteristics – biological relationships (children, parents), spouses, partners, extended relationships, friends, and pets. They may live in the same dwelling, in the same city, same region, or far away.

As a BCP professional, in order to support your business, you need to be available. If your family is impacted – whether as part of the business crisis or as a separate family crisis – you may not be available to help keep your business resilient.

The good news: you can use the same methods to determine risks and plan for your family as you do for your business.

  • What are the natural threats to your family members (at home, school, and work)? For example, I know that during the summer, microbursts can have major impacts to localized areas in my metropolitan area.
  • What are the most likely threats to your family (violent crime, health or injury risks)?
    • Understand your family members’ hobbies and extracurricular activities. Understand family health conditions and how those may impact each family member.
    • What is the risk profile of your neighborhood – are there any potential high crime or protest locations, hazardous vehicle routes, etc.? Talk to the local police and understand the crime distribution. For example, vehicle theft is relatively high in my zip code.
  • Create a basic communication, relocation, and assembly plan.

    • Practice and review the plan on a regular basis. Make updates as situations change. A plan that includes young children is different from one that includes teenagers, adults, or adult dependents.
  • Put a plan together on how to check on a family member or loved one not living with you to make sure all is well. (Side benefit, you to get communicate more often.)

There is nothing more important than you and your family or support group. Take the time to plan – it will give you a little more peace of mind.

Richard Long is one of MHA’s practice team leaders for Technology and Disaster Recovery related engagements. He has been responsible for the successful execution of MHA business continuity and disaster recovery engagements in industries such as Energy & Utilities, Government Services, Healthcare, Insurance, Risk Management, Travel & Entertainment, Consumer Products, and Education. Prior to joining MHA, Richard held Senior IT Director positions at PetSmart (NASDAQ: PETM) and Avnet, Inc. (NYSE: AVT) and has been a senior leader across all disciplines of IT. He has successfully led international and domestic disaster recovery, technology assessment, crisis management and risk mitigation engagements.

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