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Anticipate threats, opportunities and cascade effects. It is not only about identifying single events, but how parts may interact and affect each other.

Associated cards

3.1. Enhancing the capacity to adapt to both expected and unexpected events

Emergency situations occur suddenly and without warning. Therefore, organizations must be prepared and adapt their functions to respond to emergency events as quickly as possible. Among those situations, some of the events are expected while others, could be unexpected with different nature. Roles, training, strategies, and procedures must be in place to provide such capacity, using an all-hazards approach which considers the common denominator of emergency situations in different areas, building a generic response plans that can be adapted to a specific event.

Response plans should be based on everyday operations, and designed in line with the all-hazard approach, distinguishing between core components of response plans and specific elements of each scenario. In addition, it is important to appoint of a person in charge of the emergency field and, together with managers, of the definition of roles and responsibilities of involved actors, as well as the coordination with relevant partners.

Endorse familiarity of actors and personnel with response plans, together with conducting drills and exercise routinely, advance flexibility in building and applying plans; enhanced capability to interpret the real situation, to work out interventions accordingly, and enhanced capacity to adjust procedures in progress.

Organizations that build their response plans based on both everyday activities as well as the all-hazard approach, may increase their adaptive capacity to handle emergency situations by:

  • Enhancing the ability of organizations to build response plans for a wide range of emergency scenarios in a comprehensive way;
  • Increasing familiarity of actors with actions that should be conducted during emergency;
  • Simplifying the understanding of actors with rational of response plans;
  • Managing the emergency situation comprehensively, identifying the changing characteristics of the event;
  • Facilitating ways to deal with more complex incidents and emergencies potentially involving more than one type of hazard.

The implementation of response plans during an emergency situation is a key factor in handling unexpected situation. Therefore, organizations are expected to build response plans in a comprehensive way, paying attention to a wide range of emergency scenarios. In addition, familiarity of personnel with plans and their rational may increase implementation during emergencies.


9.1. Supporting Development and Maintenance of Alternative Working Methods

The card supports the development and the maintenance of Alternative Working Methods (AWMs) in case of system failure. System failures are situations in which an essential component to ensure continuity in the service offered by the organization is either lost or functioning in a degraded mode and there is no backup, emergency or contingency solution available by design. Applying an AWM means performing one or more activities within the organizations in a way which is remarkably different from what described in existing procedures or practices, in order to bypass the constrain created by the system failure. It may imply following different steps in the way to perform the activity, using different tools or cooperating with different people (or all of the above) with respect to what is normally done without the system failure.


  • Preparing organizations to ensure business continuity in the face of major system failures by supporting the development of alternative working methods (AWMs).
  • Making sure that relevant people in the organization will be ready to identify and use the AWM
  • Making sure that the identification of AWMs is based on a thorough analysis of potential failure scenarios, not manageable with ordinary backup systems and with a potential for compromising the business continuity


  • Identifying possible AWMs in dedicated focus groups, based on three main principles:
    • Revising already existing AWMs
    • Reverting to “older” working methods, such as using older facilities characterized by a lower level of automation
    • Envisioning alternative uses of existing resources
  • Making sure relevant people in the organizations are aware of the availability of AWMs
  • Making sure relevant people in the organizations are sufficiently trained to use AWMs in case they will be needed
  • Tailoring the mechanism to situations before, during or after a crisis due to a major system failure.


  • Organizations for which maintaining business continuity shortly after a major system failure is of critical importance
  • Organization for which it is impossible to design in advance a backup system for all possible occurrences of system failure
  • Organizations which are ready to provisionally reorganize their resources in the face of a system failure even if this would imply significant deviation from ordinary procedures, working methods and hierarchical structures
  • Organizations whose activities depend on critical infrastructure that may experience failures on which they do not have full control


  • It should be clear who is in charge of deciding the feasability and sustenaibility of the alternative methods, as well as the transition process (begin it/end it)
  • There should be a clear communication on the development and manteinenche of alternatives working methods to all the relevant mebers involved in the decisions.


4.1. Assessing community resilience to understand and develop its capacity to manage crises

The assessment and monitoring of community resilience prior to, during and after the occurrence of crises allows policy makers to establish interventions and plans in collaboration with community leaders and members, in order to ensure communities will be better able to manage and recover from future events.


  • Initial resilience assessment to identify the weaknesses and strengths of the communities under their responsibility and implementation of subsequent intervention plans, followed by new assessments in order to identify the impact of the intervention plans on the community
  • Monitoring an assessments to understand the impact of the emergency situation on the community members
  • Measuring community resilience after the emergency situation to understand the long term impact of the emergency, as well as the recovery process


  • Measuring CR during routine time in the pre-emergency period enables to create a “baseline score” which is presumed to be useful as a reference point for comparison during a crisis period
  • Monitoring readiness and measuring the resilience prior to, during and after the emergency situation, reflects the internal resources of the community.


  • Better understanding of the community’s capacity to adapt to crisis events.
  • Enabling maximisation of the community's ability to cope better with extreme situations and reduction of the impact of crises and disasters.
  • Strengthening of the community as a functioning system active in crisis management.

Decision makers have to integrate community resilience assessment in working programs and budget allocation during routine periods.


4.2. Identifying sources of resilience: learning from what goes well

One of the aims of Resilience Engineering is to learn from the everyday performance and from successful operations, rather than by only through lessons learned after failures. In line with this, identifying Sources of Resilience means investigating the mechanisms by which organizations successfully handle expected and unexpected conditions. Such mechanisms (e.g., strategies, processes, tools) allow the organization to adapt, perform and deliver required services in spite of the variability and complexity they experience in their operations. This adaptive capacity can be recognized by looking at the work-as-done, both in daily operations and unusual or exceptional scenarios, in order to identify sources of resilience and to learn from what goes well.

Identifying successful resilience includes answering a number of triggering questions in relation to different aspects of crisis management: work-as-done/daily operations, goal trade-offs, adaptive capacity, coupling and interactions.


  • Providing a deepened understanding of everyday performance, in order to learn from not only failures but also from successful operations.
  • Learning from what goes well during normal operations in safety critical work as well as incidents and crises can lead to better preparedness and learning and thus increased resilience.


  • Build knowledge of crisis situations as well as of everyday operations.
  • Enhanced resilience based on amplified sources of resilience.


  • Organizations need to have an open view on flexibility and adaptation related to use of procedures focusing on understanding challenges and strategies.
  • Organizations need to invest in the understanding of everyday operations in order to be better prepared for crisis situations. Resources for building up and maintaining this understanding need to be allocated, an investment with the purpose of retaining, enhancing or amplifying the organization's (or, organizations') resilient capabilities. This means among other resources that time needs to be available from experts to share their views on the functioning of the system, as well as facilitators or analysts (possibly experts on resilience management) that are able to analyse and compile this knowledge so that the organization may learn from it in a methodological manner.
  • It may generally be easier to analyse and understand the properties that make systems resilient of more tractable systems, meaning systems (organizations, networks, domains, etc.) with known functioning that do not change faster than it takes to describe them. More persistent organizations such as in Air Traffic Management and Health Care are complex and dynamic, and therefore never fully tractable, but these may be easier to analyse than for example ad hoc on-site disaster relief organizations on the disaster site, which may both be created and changed very quickly.