For example, on the big day of the evacuation, a worker whose house was about to burn down came to Allen and said he had to go home to rescue his dog. “I said to him, ‘I know this is hard for you and I know what you want to do but you can’t do that and there’s two reasons for that. First of all, the traffic is so bad you’ll never get there and even if you get there, you won’t be able to do anything. And secondly, I really need you to stay here and do your job because there is no one else to do your job right now.’ And we both had a little cry and he stayed and he lost his home and he lost his dog. It’s terrible but he is still a good friend of mine and sometimes you just have to make difficult decisions,” Allen says. Navigating the largest wildfire evacuation in Alberta’s history makes Allen a bit of a crisis management expert. He now travels across Canada sharing his story of the Alberta wildfire and speaking on trust, leadership and teamwork. As a first step, he says all organizations need to conduct a risk analysis to determine their biggest risk. These risks could be flood, fire, terrorist threat, hurricane, earthquake or cyber hacking, says Allen. “Everybody is different. McMurray’s biggest risk was obviously you’re surrounded by trees and you could have a wildfire.
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