Learning from Another’s Mistake

Photo by Louis Bedor III

“That’s what a company is supposed to do is plan for a worst-case scenario,” Fearn-Banks said in an interview with Anne C. Mulkern of Greenwire for the New York Times, June 10, 2010.

Kathleen Fearn-Banks is a communications professor at University of Washington and author of the book “Crisis Communication, A Casebook Approach,” which examines the Exxon Valdez spill.

In the days following the worst oil spill on record resulting from an unexpected accident at a deep-water oil drilling site in the Gulf of Mexico, it seems obvious that 20 years of accident-free drilling does not excuse one for not being prepared for the worst.  What lessons were (or weren’t) learned from the Valdez spill?

How tempting it is to say, “We haven’t had foot-and-mouth disease in the US for over 80 years, why bother planning for such an unlikely event?”  What have we (or haven’t we) learned from the experience of the United Kingdom in 2001 or other previously FMD-free countries that have experienced outbreaks in the past decade?

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