Disaster Planning: How to “Disaster Proof” Your Law Practice

  • February 07, 2020
  • Maryana Viguiliouk, barrister and solicitor, Viguiliouk Law

There is no time like the present to plan for the future, and no better time to develop and implement systems that will protect your law practice and your clients in the event of an unexpected disaster. Disasters can and do occur, everywhere, and they may strike in many different ways. Sudden illness, incapacity or death of a sole practitioner, train derailment, hazardous spill, earthquake, flood, wildfire, hurricane or other forms of natural or man-made disasters can result in catastrophic loss. While many of these catastrophic events are beyond our control, advance planning can make a difference and give you and your practice an edge in overcoming the long-term implications of these catastrophes.

While many Ontario residents tend to believe that they live in a relatively low risk area not prone to natural disasters, on January 12, 2020, millions of Ontarians got a wake-up call that may have left them momentarily pondering not only their mortality, but also their preparedness for nuclear disaster. On what appeared to be a very nice and chilly Sunday morning, an emergency alert message was blasted out across the entire province warning of an unspecified incident/emergency at the Pickering Nuclear Power Station. As reported by numerous media outlets, the alert said there had been no release of radioactivity and to stay tuned for more information. This frightening wake-up call turned out to be an error. A mistake. A false alarm that could have been devastating, had the emergency been real.

It is incumbent on all of us to take modest and reasonable steps to see to the safety of ourselves and our loved ones. I have to admit that until that frightening Sunday morning, I had no clue what an emergency at a nuclear power plant would mean. If you do not have a family emergency plan, and if you have not familiarized yourself with the threats you could potentially face in your area, now would be a good time to fix that. What is more, even though this false nuclear emergency alert might be attributed to the fault of the Ontario government, in a real emergency, if you are not prepared both personally and professionally, than such failure would be on you.