Resilience planning has become a hot topic lately. How can families, businesses, and communities survive and thrive in the face of disaster? Disasters come in many forms, but their effects can be similar in terms of loss of life, infrastructure, and economic activity. As LA is overdue for its next major earthquake, improving resiliency is of critical importance to our region.
A/G attended USGBC-LA’s Fundamentals of Building Resilience-LA workshop on July 18th, and came away with important strategies for increasing both building- and organization-level resilience. In order to be more prepared, organizations need to have a plan; and as workshop leader and director of USGBC-LA’s Building Resilience-LA initiative reminded us, a plan is not a document but rather a working process. Forming a team, mapping risks and assets, setting goals, developing a plan, and then implementing and maintaining it are parts of this process. Going through this planning process will touch on overlapping areas including built resources (such as back-up systems and seismic safety), operations (such as emergency and communications plans), and social systems (such as neighborhood resources and employee networks).
While the resiliency planning process may seem overwhelming, organizations who go through the resiliency process end up ahead. Businesses experience less uncertainty, better financing terms and insurance rates, and lower operating costs. If the team includes the right people, the planning process breaks down silos and creates efficiencies. And as 80% of businesses do not come back from a large-scale disaster like Hurricane Katrina, having a resiliency plan can make the difference between life and death on every level.
The LEED rating system does not currently address resiliency planning, but related pilot credits have been floated and may reemerge as communities across the country increasingly deal with disasters of human and natural origin. In the meantime, USGBC-LA’s Building Resilience-LA initiative is working with the City of LA and local non-profits to develop robust plans and networks. Check out their Building Resilience LA: A Primer for Facilities for guidance on how to increase your organization’s resilience.