Earlier I wrote about eights ways to treat risks. One of the risk responses is avoidance. The focus of this strategy is to ensure the risk does not occur by eliminating the cause of the risk.
It was Fall, and I had raked the leaves in my backyard into three piles. I was trying to decide what to do with them. I knew there was a ban on burning in my area since we had been extremely dry for months.
What were my options? I could bag the leaves. I could haul the leaves into the woods. Or I could burn the leaves.
I decided to take a chance and burn the leaves. Later, I soaked the areas with water to fully extinguish the remaining embers.
Before I went to bed, I checked the three areas again. Everything looked great.
Next morning, I walked down the hall toward the kitchen for coffee. What I saw next shocked me. There was fire as far as the eye could see. Yikes!
I was talking and yelling at speeds that as a Southerner I’d never reached before, “There’s FIRE in the woods! Call the fire department! Call the fire department!”
My wife made the call. My son and daughter jumped out of bed to help.
I grabbed some old towels and ran toward the fire. I attempted to put the fire out. With every swipe, the fire would simply pop back up like magic. It was no use.
Meanwhile, my ten-year-old son continuously watered the backyard and kept the fire from advancing toward the house.
Soon I heard the sirens. The fire department arrived. The forestry department arrived. The ambulance arrived. The neighbors arrived with tools in hand.
I have never been so embarrassed in my life! I wanted to run for cover, but there was nowhere to hide.
The fire department said the best strategy was to contain the fire with a fire break. The forestry department cut a fire break around several acres. By this time, the fire was up in the trees. It looked like a scene from the “Hunger Games: Catching Fire.”
Sometimes I learn the hard way. Here were the lessons I learned that day.
What activities are you engaged in today that you should avoid? What are the causes of your most significant threats? Are there ways of eliminating the cause and avoid the potential adverse impacts?
Be intentional about your risk management. Define your risk management plan. Identify and evaluate your risks. Discuss the most significant risks with your project team members and determine which risk strategy would be best. Sometimes, risk avoidance is your best choice.
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