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How do we treat risk

Once we have assessed the risk and correctly applied the risk context in evaluating that analysis, the next decision is what to do about that risk.

Assuming that in an emergency context we need to take a positive action; what then should that action be? There are six options for treating risk in a non-emergency context:

  • avoid the activity

  • remove the source

  • change likelihood

  • change consequence

  • share the risk

  • retain the risk

Can this typology be adapted to the emergency scenario?

In many respects the answer must be yes. For example ‘avoiding the activity’ could be to adopt a defensive perspective and to keep responders out of harms way; ‘remove the source’ might involve extinguishing the fire, creating a protective barrier, moving populations out of harm’s way; ‘sharing the risk’ may involve involving other responding agencies to bring additional and complementary resources to bear on the problem etc. But probably the most obvious tactic is to reduce likelihood and or consequence through mitigation.

Your task

Let us return one last time to the Galston Mine incident. Using the above typology, which activity should have been the focus for the response at this incident? What are the reasons for your suggestion?

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This article is from the free online course:

Managing Risk in an Emergency Context

Coventry University

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