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Emergencies in business

With good planning and training companies can withstand emergencies such as floods, fires, IT failures or major incidents. Here are some of the ways you can prepare your business for emergencies.

An excellent place to start is the government publication Preparing for Emergencies which provides a clear and concise guide to emergency planning for everyone.

Prepare your business for emergencies

  • Make a list of emergency contacts and print it out. Include your electricity, gas and water providers and any IT support.

  • Check the flood risk to your business by contacting the environment agency on 0345 988 118 or visit gov.uk/flood.

  • Do a fire risk assessment and check electrical equipment regularly.

  • Make sure staff know your evacuation procedures and have appropriate health and safety and first aid training .

  • Get in touch with your local council’s emergency planning team for support.

  • Register with Cross Sector Safety and Security Communications (CSSC) for your industry.

  • Check your insurance and read the small print – which emergencies does it cover and how much is the excess?

  • Try this ten minute plan to prepare your business from the Business Emergency Resilience Group (BERG).

  • You will also find some good tips in the London Resilience Partnership's guide to protecting your business whether you are based in the City or not.

  • If you need to make a full business continuity plan, there are lots of resources online and the government published a book called Business Continuity for Dummies aimed at small to medium enterprises in 2012.

During business emergencies

How businesses react during an emergency will depend on the nature and size of the business, and the type of situation being faced. The most important thing is to have detailed plans in place beforehand and to follow them calmly and professionally. 

Staff safety is, of course, paramount. Initially, you will need to check that everyone is accounted for, contact the emergency services and utilities, communicate with staff and follow through your detailed emergency procedures.

After a business emergency

What happens after an emergency should be part of the emergency plan. There will be a lot to think about, so a detailed checklist for your organisation’s needs is essential. Use any incident to improve your plans for the next emergency. 

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