Learning from incidents and disseminating these lessons is one of the founding tenets of CRJ; we wholeheartedly subscribe to George Santayana’s opinion that those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.
Yet today that is not enough. We must also look to the future.
CRJ’s articles on the London terrorist attacks describe how emergency services and the other agencies planned and exercised in anticipation of such an eventuality. Those interviewed confirm that these efforts paid off on the day.
But it seems that we are less prepared for the effects of extreme weather. As the journal went to press, wildfires in Portugal were burning out of control. Floods laid waste to parts of Central and Eastern Europe while other European areas have been suffering from extended periods of extreme drought and low rainfall (p19).
Meanwhile, the HN51 strain of avian flu is said to have spread to Russia and Kazakhstan. Like predictions of terror attacks on London, experts say that it is no longer a matter of ‘if’ the virus mutates so that it can be transmitted between humans, but rather it is a matter of ‘when’.
On page 37, Edouard Dervichian broaches the topic of distributed processing: “It is no longer known which computers, where, are being used to achieve what, let alone how,” he says. Communication, power and water supplies all rely on distributed processing; failure could bring about a disaster of monumental proportions.
Of course we must learn from the past, but while planning for the immediate future, we must always keep one wary eye on the horizon.
As Dr Lagadec emphasises (p21): “Do not fight the last war.”