Why Earthquake Intensity can Affect Any Disaster Recovery Plan

If you think your organisation is in an earthquake-free zone, you may be right – up to a point. From a purely local point of view, your site may never have experienced the slightest tremor or be likely to. On the other hand, you may also be using suppliers for raw materials or components that are located in areas where strong seismic activity occurs. If these suppliers are key ones for meeting your needs, then their disasters become your disasters. Your disaster recovery plan can then reflect that, possibly using green, yellow, orange and red classifications accordingly.

This colour scheme in earthquake impact terms refers to the different levels of intensity of the earthquake. There are two parameters used by USGS (U.S. Geological Survey) for example – fatalities and economic losses. Green level alerts are the least serious, followed by yellow, then orange and red as the most serious. Correspondingly, fatality and loss levels increase by a factor of ten from one colour to another. Green starts with zero fatalities and less than $1 million in losses, leading up to red at 1,000 or more fatalities and more than $1 billion in losses. Having appropriate responses to these different levels then becomes part of your disaster recovery plan.

Depending on your circumstances, a certain level of earthquake intensity affecting your supplier may mean having to assume that you will need to source your materials or components from another company. The possible financial or quality impacts on your business are points for your disaster recovery plan. Even if the supplier’s premises are left intact, local infrastructure including electricity and water supplies may be damaged too much for the supplier’s site to remain operational. Besides USGS information, GDACS (Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System) also latest earthquake information, and offers the possibility of SMS alerts for orange and red level tremors.