flower tributes

London Attack – is anyone ready for something like this?

23 Mar
by Suzie Business Owner & Senior HRBP

London Attack at Westminster – is anyone or any business ready for this?

The shock of the attack yesterday in Westminster, London are still reverberating intensely in people’s minds and my heart goes out to those personally involved and those who have lost family, friends or colleagues.

I was interested in the planning that has obviously gone into reacting in the Houses of Parliament to an emergency like this one and how this reflects on an ordinary companies’ reaction to a similar disaster. Including the thoughts for the employees, visitors and Parliamentarians.  I was very glad to hear that they would receive counselling should they wish for it.

The CMI (chartered management institute) ask the question about disaster preparedness in an annual survey and the results suggest that UK organisations are “sitting ducks” when it comes down to a disaster like a fire or a terror attack.

An ordinary disaster..

I have personally been effected by a business disaster when I was working at General Electric. During a severe hail storm the roof and ceiling failed in two buildings holding over 1500 employees. The result was the evacuation procedure was followed but after that, no one knew what to do. Eventually we just went home.

The following month or so, I worked from home after getting my laptop back from the stricken building and then we were re-located to the other side of the city to a vacant building GE just happened to own – I am sure most companies don’t have that luxury.

This is minor in comparison to the events of the London Attack. But as HR and business owners we have to look at all the risks and come up with some way of dealing with them.

What to do?

This plan will be according to your business needs – a manufacturer will have very different requirements to a Management Consultancy.

Here are some considerations to make:

  • Who is going to liaise with the emergency services?
  • Employees – where are they and are they safe? Take a register, ensure you have emergency contacts and personal details correct
  • How are you going to communicate with employees? You may wish to set up a helpline to ensure people get the right information and can ask questions
  • Who is going to be responsible for executing the plan – who are the key contacts and do they have the training to carry out the responsibility
  • Wellbeing – plan a de-brief within 72 hours of the disaster occurring (this is something that is in place at the Houses of Parliament with counselling available to all)
  • Contact your insurers as soon as possible – you may have resources available under your policy
  • Security – your data, your equipment, your plan, your buildings, your people
  • Think about possible costs – make sure you have enough insurance and that your H&S is up to date
  • How would you deal with clients and suppliers?
  • Do you have a plan to work with the media if it becomes necessary?

I haven’t mentioned IT, UK businesses have quite a good handle of disaster recovery for IT system and facilities. However if you don’t have the people or somewhere to house them – your business won’t be functioning.

As Quakers do – I am holding in the Light all those effected by the horror of the London Attack.

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