What to do in case of emergency
Unfortunately we can all recall events that have seriously impacted businesses over recent years: the Buncefield explosion and resulting fire and the flooding during the summer of 2007 are some examples of major incidents which seriously impacted many small, medium and large businesses.
What would the effect be on your customers and your ability to continue with your business if your premises could not be accessed for days or weeks?
By planning how you would cope with such events, you can make your business more resilient: it will help you ensure the key aspects of the business are covered and are in the best position to continue your business.
See also the St Albans City and District Council’s Emergency page.
Contact our Emergency Planning Officer Paul Blande
We are here to help!
To help you protect your business, Hertfordshire County Council has a range of resources on www.hertsdirect.org/businesscontinuity,including a business continuity plan template, tools to help you improve how prepared your businesses is, and guidance on how to test any existing plans.
No matter how small your business is, business continuity is a good investment. Make this year’s Business Continuity Awareness Week the year that you make your business more resilient.
So, where do I start?
Know your risks. Make sure you are aware of the most common risks in your area that could affect your business and plan accordingly. Refer to Hertfordshire’s Community Risk Register, and use your local knowledge to try and identify other risks that may not be included; for example, is there a local road that regularly floods, or are power outages common at a certain time of the year?
Main risks in Hertfordshire:
- Infectious outbreaks and diseases
- Prolonged extremes of temperature
- Industrial accident
- Major road traffic disruption
- Infrastructure and utility failure
Identify your critical services
Business continuity planning does not have to be complicated, time-consuming or costly. By asking some relatively simple scenario based questions, businesses can be better prepared. The answers to these questions will help you create your plan.
- What would you do if you were physically unable to access your premises for a prolonged period?
- Where would you get information on what is happening during an emergency?
- Would you be able to contact members of staff to tell them not to come into work if your premises had been damaged?
- Do you have access to insurance details and other key business information at all times?
- How do you communicate with customers and suppliers when things go wrong?
- How would you deal with any media attention during an emergency? What are you likely to be asked?
- What would happen if one of your key suppliers was affected by an emergency?
Whilst these are just a few questions that could be asked, they highlight the types of practical challenges that your business would have to cope with in the early stages of an emergency.
Knowing the answers to these questions could help your business be as prepared as possible in advance of an emergency, and encourage you to take positive actions to be prepared such as:
- Identifying alternative suppliers
- Ensuring essential information, both paper and electronic, is backed up securely
- Determining back-up working arrangements if your main building was inaccessible
- Having a business continuity plan which you and your staff have tested and are familiar with
- Ensuring you can contact staff and customers
Visit www.hertsdirect.org/businesscontinuity and ensure your business is prepared for emergency, today.