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Ask ten people to give you their views on the likelihood of a threat occurring, and you’ll get ten different answers. However, they probably won’t diverge as much as that of two people who I met last week.

We were talking about the chances of severe weather affecting the UK and causing serious disruption to businesses. The first person, who was relatively young, and had lived all their life in the centre of Birmingham, thought that such an event was extremely unlikely. The second person, who was somewhat older and had lived in various parts of the UK, thought exactly the opposite – that such an event was extremely likely to happen. I have to say that I agreed with the second individual, given the fact that such events happen nearly every year (for example, in 2009  Cumbria was disrupted by severe flooding), and it was amazing that the first individual rated the chances as very low.

OK, the first individual was young, and maybe severe weather doesn’t happen in Birmingham, but given that they were employed in the areas of Risk Management and Business Continuity their understanding of the likelihood of such an event should raise concerns. Severe weather is something that is well documented, and there is no excuse for not being aware of the chances it happening in any given geographic area. If someone working in Risk Management and Business Continuity does not know about the threat of severe weather, how much can you rely on their estimate of threat occurrence for all those other threats for which reliable statistics are not available?

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