In 2011, both the U.S. and Canada experienced a very specific risk scenario.  There was groundbreaking flooding from heavy winter snows and rains. In both countries, flood gates were opened to flood some areas in order to protect others.  Third parties – Government officials – made hard choices in order to protect the greater good.

In the United States…

Army engineers in Louisiana opened a spillway to relieve the swollen Mississippi River.  Opening one of the 125 floodgates in the Morganza Spillway dumped water into thousands of homes and fields.  It also saved New Orleans and Baton Rouge.  In addition, over 3 million acres of farmland flooded in Mississippi, Tennessee and Arkansas.

About 3,000 square miles of land was inundated in up to 20 feet of water.  It took up to three weeks for the water to pass through a system of levees and spillways to the Gulf of Mexico.  The irony is that there was a drought in the area and still, they weren’t able to benefit from the flood waters.  If the spillway was not opened, New Orleans could have been at risk of flooding worse than what happened with Hurricane Katrina. Katrina caused 80 percent of the city to flood, and 1,500 people died.

In Canada…

Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Quebec saw similar problems.  The decision was made to open a dike in Manitoba in order to divert water from swollen rivers into farms and towns.  The idea was to sacrifice some homes to save many more.  Regardless, tens of thousands of sandbags helped minimize damage to homes in the path of the water.   In Quebec, the Richelieu River flooded scores of homes as well.

So what does all of this mean in the continuity business?  Government officials in all of these cases were faced with difficult decisions to choose between homes, farms, businesses, power plants and oil refineries.  Even with the best of intentions, someone had to lose.

Your Business Impact

As a result of the decisions made to redirect flood waters, your business might:

  • Be forced to move to another location, for the short term or long term,
  • Experience issues shipping or receiving parts or finished goods,
  • Need to clean up water damage, and
  • Have to work without key staff until the way is clear for them to get to work.

That is why you need to be prepared!  Make sure your business continues to review your BCP to keep it up to date.  That way, the next time a third party decides to sacrifice one for the greater good, you’ll be ready.

About KingsBridge

KingsBridgeBCP offers businesses of all sizes BCP Software Solutions and industry know how based on best practices.  We help build, exercise, and maintain Business Continuity Plans. Our services and software packages are customized to meet the wide range of our customers’ needs, ensuring we deliver the best value in every project. To learn more click here or check out our Services.