The Titanic: 100 years of disaster learning

Posted on April 12, 2012 by Veronica Taylor

April 15 is the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic. Somehow, I’ve been told, I am related to the ship’s Captain, Edward Smith. Disasters, it seems, run in the family!  What wisdom would Captain Smith pass down to me 100 years later about disasters?

Disasters are the great equalizer.

They don’t care what class of cabin you booked, if you are rich or poor, young or old, pretty or not.  Disasters can happen to you. Ongoing or systematic problems that are manageable in routine circumstances may be a serious problem in a crisis. Work daily to stabilize and grow the resources of your family, your neighborhood, and your community.

Make sure you have enough lifeboats for everyone. Make sure they work and that everyone knows where and when to get in. Make sure there are additional boats nearby in case something happens. It will. Routinely test your preparedness processes and systems to validate readiness.

New leadership emerges. A crisis will generate previously unexpected and unknown leadership capabilities. Individuals will step up to rescue or respond. Pre-disaster identified leadership may be directly impacted and unavailable to fill the anticipated role. Be respectful of the person at the helm and row together.

The picture is distorted.  No one has a complete picture of what is happening. People looking on from the safety of a lifeboat (via the news media, for instance) may have a sense of the big picture but lack accurate, detailed and critical information from within the crisis zone. By the same token, people holding on for dear life in the middle of the crisis see what is in front of them, but may not be aware of what is taking place elsewhere.

What other lessons would you add to this list?

  • Learn about these and other concepts used in TPF's approach to philanthropy.


Leave a comment

You are commenting as guest.