Services - Information Lines, UK & International numbers


At 6am on Sunday 11th December 2005 there was a massive explosion at the Buncefield Oil Depot in Hertfordshire. The blast was so large it woke much of South East England. The resulting fire was the largest in Europe for 60 years.

Thankfully nobody was injured in this disaster, but it did create real problems for businesses in and around the surrounding areas.

Unfortunately for our client, Henkel Ltd, their site where 324 staff worked was located only 400 metres away from the depot.

Some of the immediate key issues Henkel had to deal with were:

  • They were denied access to their business for 4 days
  • How could they communicate with their staff to advise them what to do and where to go?
  • How could they communicate with their customers and suppliers, to inform them it was business is as usual?

Disaster Recovery / Business Continuity

Thankfully, during early 2005 Callagenix had worked with Henkel to implement a Disaster Emergency Line that enabled staff and customers to receive up to date information and instructions should an incident ever occur. Staff and clients in the UK were given a dedicated 0845 local number, while callers in Ireland were given a local Dublin number.

The service was set up to allow the Henkel response team to update the information from any telephone (or internet PC) using a separate phone number with PIN security. As and when new information became available, the Henkel response team shared it with staff and customers.

On the day of the Buncefield explosion, Henkel activated the service. Over the next 4 days, thousands of calls were made to the information line from staff and customers. As the service was a hosted one, all telephone lines used in the emergency were provided by Callagenix. The information line service (as is the case with all Callagenix Services) has the ability to open multiple, simultaneous telephone lines to cope with the large volume of callers.

The Henkel Emergency Information Line was judged to be a success by the extremely positive feedback from the staff affected by the crisis.

Alan Thomas, Henkel Crisis Team Manager, said:

One of the lucky breaks with this crisis was that we were just about to roll out our Crisis Line solution which had been set up and tested 1 month ahead of the Buncefield fire. It is a cost-effective low-maintenance system which is a key component in our crisis communication strategy. The “try before you buy” option from Callagenix allowed me to set up and refine before presenting to the Board as part of our Regional Crisis Plan.

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