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The Energizer Blog

  • Writer's pictureEileen McDargh

#1 Thing Snowed—In Atlanta Needed—and Didn’t Have

PRESILIENCE!™   Don’t look up the word. I made it up. But it is what every city, community, state and individual better pay attention to: Preventive Resilience. Common sense—which isn’t all that common—tells us that preparation and planning for a major event is needed BEFORE the occurrence, not in chest-beating afterthoughts. “While meteorology is far from perfect, there are real consequences for not acting on storm warnings.” Mike Smith, author of Warnings: The True Story of How Science Tamed The Weather Atlanta has had major storms before and its transit system is the victim of frequent snarls on the best of days. Where was the pre-work? Where was the coordination between state and local officials? Where was the advanced scenario planning which would have had triggers for different levels of courses of action? The Rockefeller Foundation's has spent 100 years of work , learning that that resilient systems share five core characteristics: Spare capacity, which ensures that there is a back-up or alternative available when a vital component of a system fails. Flexibility, the ability to change, evolve, and adapt in the face of disaster. Limited or "safe" failure, which prevents failures from rippling across systems. Rapid rebound, the capacity to re-establish function and avoid long-term disruptions. Constant learning, with robust feedback loops that sense and allow new solutions as conditions change. PRESILIENCE™ – the practice of resilience before it is needed, would have these things in place. Pointing fingers only delays what can be learned from this event. By the way, this isn’t just a lesson for the Southern towns hit by storm Leon. It’s a heads-up for all of us.

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