The Element of Risk

The Element of Risk is composed of three factors.

  1. Threat:  The threats are different t when it comes to terrorism and natural disasters.  Neither of these are predictable enough to prevent from happening.  Both of these can be forecasted but neither can be avoided based on predictions.  When it comes to terrorism we can predict that the intentions of the threat are to cause loss of life and possibly infrastructure damage.  Natural disasters vary depending on where the location is.  In order to prepare for these possible threats we must learn from past instances and correct errors that were made in the past.  For example, hurricane prevention is impossible, but building structures that can withstand hurricanes is possible.  Having lived in the Island of Okinawa for 4 years we went through a few typhoons and the houses that we were living in were built out of cement and the windows were thicker and had multiple levels of protection.  These are all measures that can be taken into consideration when building new structures or even repairing the ones that have been damaged by these natural disasters in the past.  Threat preparation will be different depending on the threat you are preparing for.  When it comes to terrorism and natural disasters the preparation is very different.  The only similarity is that in both cases there needs to be preparation for possible mass casualties.
  2. Vulnerability:  This represents how susceptible we are to any sort of attack or natural disaster.  Vulnerability must be reduced at the lowest level.  Each person is responsible for being informed and prepared for any type of situation either terrorist or natural.  Like I mentioned above, being prepared for any threat will make us less vulnerable and this is the best way to prepare and mitigate damage.
  3. Consequences:  This is the aftermath of the situation, the outcome of a terrorist attack or a natural disaster.  In order to reduce the consequences there needs to be much preparation and this is the responsibility of both the government and its people.  This is something that will also cost money to private companies and therefor not always be the right solution.  Companies are not going to want to enhance preventive measures if it will cost them additional funds and reduce their profit margin.  To a certain extent it is something that can be regulated by the government, but once it prevents companies from making a profit then it can cause companies to stop functioning.  Once again the consequences can be similar in structural damage and loss of life.  The preparation must be ready to handle both sets of consequences.


This is extremely difficult to achieve because we do not always know what is going to happen in the future.  For terrorist attacks it is more attainable but this will require a very active community that is always involved and informed.  Having proper information from higher levels of government will assist the communities in preventing terrorists attacks from taking place.  When it comes to natural disasters, there is no way to prevent them from happening.  The best thing to do in these cases is to be prepared and to listen to the state and local agencies and follow their instructions.  If required to evacuate then you must do so in order to prevent injury or death to your family.  This is probably the only way prevention can be applied for natural disasters.


Is defined as activities designed to reduce or eliminate risk.  This is something that is similar in both types of situations because it can be practiced and rehearsed.  For terrorist attacks there are functions like “Active Shooter Drills” which are designed to teach people what to do in those situations.  Fire Drills and earthquake drills can have the same value for those types of natural disasters.  These are both mitigation methods that can be done at a low cost.  Teaching people what to do and how to react in these types of situations is extremely valuable to everyone involved.  It can be the difference between life.


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