Top three catastrophic risks for London in 2009


The London Fire Brigade just updated their series of forward thinking analyses about various risks in the Greater London area and how to prepare for them.  

It may sound a bit dry but their “Community Risk Registers” are actually a very exciting effort to cooperate and share information across agencies in preparation for future crises.  They  list a series of potential hazards by likelihood and impact, then sort them by what they might look like and who should take the lead in responding to them.  They update these lists quite often and just released their new registers for 2009.

The top three greatest risk for Central London in 2009?

  1. Human Health: Influenza type disease (pandemic) – High number of cases and consultations with healthcare providers threatening to overwhelm health and other services. All ages may be affected, but until the virus emerges we cannot know which groups will be most at risk
  2. Industrial Technical Failure: Telecommunications infrastructure, human error – Widespread loss of telecommunications (including public land line and mobile networks) at a regional level for up to 5 days. 
  3. Industrial Technical Failure: Technical failure of electricity network – Total shutdown of the electricity supply over an entire region occurring during working hours and lasting for 24 hours. 

Good to see the LFB is aware of these issues and already making preparations.  An excellent best practice example. HFP recently completed some similar scenario work for Oxfam UK outlining possible Avian Influenza outbreak scenarios, as well as conducting a serious game training simulation for ICVA in Geneva about the impacts of a complex technical failures and a major industrial accident in a politically unstable port city.

UPDATE – By way of background, the BBC did a report on the Avian Flu risk and the Registers back in August, 2008, which can be found here.  Also Charlie Edwards from Demos’ Resilient Nation project and contributor to Global Dashboard did a brief post on the background of the Registers in June, 2008, which has some interesting policy background on the effort and be found here.


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