Disaster planning: Raising awareness and fear mongering

I was having dinner with a friend over the weekend and, as the discussion rambled over barbecued ribs and coleslaw, we got to talking about disasters terrorist attacks. You know, light sort of dinner banter. By the time we were at our coffees, the discussion had shifted to what we do at Iridia:

“Do you make money at that?”

“Sure. You know, not Microsoft money, but some.” I then explained to him some of the ways we help people prepare for the worst.

So you guys are, like, part of that whole Industry of Fear.”

“Pardon?”

“Well, like in Bowling for Columbine: you need people to be scared of things, like H1N1 or terrorists, or they don’t hire your company, right?”

He raised a good point.

That isn’t how we work; we are not out to scare people.  We want to raise awareness and help people to be prepared. But when you’re trying to prepare people for scary things, really, what’s the difference?

The difference is in the choices we make. We can make a decision before we face danger, whether or not to expose ourselves to the prospect of that danger. Usually our choice is no; sometimes it’s yes. Driving over the speed limit is dangerous, but husbands sometimes speed to the hospital when their pregnant wives go into labour. Rock climbing can be dangerous, but it sure is fun. These are choices we make.

Disaster planning

Adventure is where we find most of the value in life. (photo: James Sullivan)

We won’t tell you never to expose yourself to risk because we know that there are times in your life when you’ll have to. There are times in your life when you decide, “Yes, I’m going to take this risk and accept the consequences because the issue at hand is that important.” Police and firefighters do it all the time. Or you might decide that a measure of risk is something you can live with, like people who make their homes in places subject to extreme weather. Our job is to help people to identify these risks beforehand so they can be aware that they’re making a choice and be prepared for the consequences if danger comes.

We don’t want you to fear the rain, we just want to show you how and when it might fall so you know when to take an umbrella.

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