Ensure it’s ‘business as usual’ after an emergency this Business Continuity Awareness Week

14 May 2018
hand writing a checklist in a book

​Businesses in Northamptonshire are being encouraged to have a plan in place to help them get back to normal as quickly as possible after an emergency incident such as fire or flood.

As part of Business Continuity Awareness Week (May 14 to 20), Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service (NFRS) is sharing advice to help firms plan and prepare so they are better able to cope in the aftermath of a fire.

Run globally by the Business Continuity Institute, Business Continuity Awareness Week encourages organisations to plan for all kinds of situations including fire, flooding, cyberattack, supply chain failure or the loss of a key employee.

Barry Mullan, business continuity lead at NFRS, said: “The cost of fire can be significant, with many businesses suffering financial losses which pose a very real threat to their continued operation. A business continuity plan will make all the difference when it comes to whether your organisation can survive a period of disruption or not.

“Make sure your plan takes into account all the different functions or departments in your firm, and ensure all staff or teams know that it exists, where to find it, and when and how it should be put into action. Carry out business continuity exercises and review your plan at least once a year.”

Help your business cope during and after a fire

  • Fires occur at all times of the day. Have you considered the impact of a fire at different times and on different days when making your business continuity plan?
  • Is your fire alarm monitored when your premises are shut? Make sure the alarm monitoring company holds current contact details for your staff.
  • Can a key holder be contacted and attend out of hours? If so, how will they be alerted to an incident?
  • Where are your business continuity plan and associated documents stored? Do staff know where and how to access them in the event of an incident?
  • Are staff aware of their roles within an emergency, and have you undertaken periodic fire drills to check everyone understands what to do? The actions taken in the immediate stages of a fire can have a significant impact on the outcome and the extent of the damage suffered.
  • Be clear on who is calling 999, ensuring they have relevant details and access to information to assist the fire service control room in taking appropriate action and launching a suitable emergency response.
  • How would your organisation identify hazards or high risk areas within your building to an attending fire crew? If a hazard can be identified at the early stage, e.g. the storage of LPG cylinders, then actions can be taken to reduce the risk in these areas, hopefully reducing overall fire development and damage.
  • Premises information boxes can help to provide a secure, onsite storage facility for site plans, product storage information, gas and electrical shut-off points, high risk areas and contact information. Information boxes, sited in a prominent place, can be accessed by the fire service and the contents used to assist during an incident.
  • Could you create a mutual agreement with another local company where you offer each other support during the emergency phase of an incident? For example, some care homes have contacts with local schools so that residents, if they must leave the building, can be taken somewhere safe and warm whilst the incident is on ongoing.
  • Ask the questions above and consider the ‘what if’ elements when testing your continuity plan.
Find out more about #BCAW2018

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