Learning from Earthquakes: First person reports


“Switch” on to Business Resilience, Anne Wein, U.S. Geological Survey

March 17, 2011 by
Filed under EERI Team Field Blog, Social Impacts

Businesses in the CBD have been closed for a couple of weeks and will be for months and years. A staged and controlled re-entry process was set up to allow property and building owners to retrieve critical items (e.g. computers and business essentials) from safe (yellow and green placarded) buildings. On subsequent re-entries during the third week, owners were going into clean up. The owner of Switch Expresso shared that he and family members were returning to clean out the rotting food from the refrigerators. However, his business has proven to be a resilient organization and is booming. First, the owner had another establishment in New Brighton outside of the cordon area. Second, this café had a back-up generator that supported limited operations. Once electric power service was restored the business was able to overcome remaining issues by procuring roasted beans from another source (roaster is in the café in the CBD), receiving financial support from the government (paperwork for business interruption insurance was in process), and posting signage to the nearest porta loo (waste water system outage). The Switch Café business resilience strategies of distributed locations, back up power, and input substitution were made effective by government aid and city council provision of porta loos.

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