International Day for Disaster Reduction 2015

Loss of power can cause great hardship to populations and economies

By Antoinette Price

When disaster strikes one of the first things to go down is the electricity supply and with it healthcare, clean water, safe food, sanitation, lights, not to mention all the technology that powers the home and the workplace.

IECEE CBs can test and certify AV and ITE equipment to ensure safety
Staying safe

As well as the disaster itself, loss of power can cause great hardship to populations and cause long-term economic and development losses. The use of electric and electronic products is growing everywhere and by 2040, developing countries will use double the electricity that developed countries use today. According to the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) in 2014, 19,3 million people were newly displaced by disasters.

Knowledge for life

On 13 October, the International Day for Disaster Reduction, established by the United Nations, celebrates how people and communities are reducing their exposure to disasters and raising awareness about the importance of disaster risk reduction (DRR). This year’s theme ‘Knowledge for life’ focuses on raising awareness of the use of traditional, indigenous and local knowledge and practices, to complement scientific knowledge in disaster risk management.

IEC three-prong approach to disaster risk assessment

IEC standardization and conformity assessment work plays an important role in reducing risk and avoiding major disasters by:

  • preparing International Standards with built-in safety mechanisms. Nearly 60 IEC Standards directly support risk assessment and help reduce or avoid risk of disasters resulting from power failure.
  • facilitating recovery through reliable alarm and emergency systems, which are built to resist failure during extreme conditions.
  • providing four IEC Conformity Assessment Systems which enable the verification and certification that systems and products perform as they should.

The IEC White Paper on Microgrids for disaster relief and recovery considers what needs to be done in anticipation of major electricity outages as well as for post-disaster recovery.


The UN General Assembly adopted the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction in December 1999 and established UNISDR, the secretariat which ensures its implementation. Its mandate is to serve as the focal point in the United Nations system to ensure coordination and synergies among disaster risk reduction activities of this system and regional organizations and activities in socio-economic and humanitarian fields.

Crane safe load indicator Crane safe load indicator
safety first symbol Staying safe
shutting off a machine with the emergency button Emergency button shuts off machine