Environmental disaster is of course only one of an very wide range of potential threats. However, the following list may assist some organizations when perming risk analysis with respect to this:
Hurricanes are storms with heavy circular type winds which can exceed 60 mph. The center of the hurricane is usually quite calm. Along with extremely strong winds, it delivers torrential rain. Hurricanes can cause flooding, structural damage to buildings, resultant power failures, and personnel injury and death.
Snowstorm conditions can include blizzards and sub-zero temperatures with substantial amounts of snow. This can affect power, communications and transport (for example preventing employees from travelling to work). Buildings may collapse under the weight of snow. Personnel injuries or death could also occur through freezing temperatures.
Contamination includes pollution of the air, polluted water, chemical leakage, radiation, smoke, dampness, toxic waste, asbestos, and oil pollution. Many of these can directly disrupt business processes and of course can cause sickness or death amongst employees. This in turn can result in litigation.
Droughts are caused through lack of rainfall. This can of course have a devastating affect on human, animal, and plant life. Droughts are often seasonal and can have substantial affects on businesses that depend on the availability of water for products/processes.
Earthquakes are caused by a shifting of the earth's rock plates beneath its surface. This results in violent shaking of the surface itself, potentially destroying power supplies, and communications lines, and affecting water, sewerage and other basic services. Devastating damage to structures can occur. Earthquakes can also initiate landslides, dams breakage, and other catastrophes.
Lightning strikes can cause disruption to power and of course cause fires. It may also damage essential electrical equipment such as computer systems. Structural damage is also a possibility through falling trees or other objects.
Fires acan be devastating and can be started through an extremely wide range of events, including environmental. The affect on the business will vary depending on the seriousness of the fire, and how quickly it can be surpressed. Fire can of course cause personnel injury or death.
Tornadoes are tight columns of circling air creating a funnel shape and effect. The wind forces within the tornado can reach hundreds of miles per hour, and Tornado speed can often exceed 50 miles per hour. They can cause substantial structural damage, personnel injuries and death.
Subsidence and Landslides
These are often caused through a change in the composition of the earth's surface. This can be caused by flooding (eg: flowing water creating open areas beneath buildings and structures). They can cause structural damage, as well as severe disruption to transport.
Freezing can be devastating. Severe freezing can significantly disrupt businesses and again, cause personnel death or injury. Businesses can be seriously affected through malfunctioning equipment, burst water pipes, inadequate heating, and transportation disruption.
Epidemics can occur when a contagious illness affects a large number of people within a territory. This can have affect business through large numbers of personnel being unavailable at the same time. Some epidemics can have a longer term effects, for example, in certain third world countries where the Aids virus is considered to be of epidemic proportion.
Floods result from thunderstorms, storms, snow thaws or prolonged rainfall. These can cause rivers to overflow their banks, flooding the surrounding areas. This can seriously affect buildings and equipment, and can cause power failures and again personnel injury or death.
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