Mitigating Disaster With a Continuity Plan

London Fire Brigade has reported that the fire which raged for 36 hours in Holborn at the beginning of April was caused by an electrical fault which then fractured a gas main, further fuelling the conflagration. With residential buildings, offices and even theatres in the affected area, at its height the fire resulted in thousands of properties being without electricity and gas supplies and 5,000 people being evacuated.

Commenting on the incident, London Fire Chief Ron Dobson said “This technically difficult fire shows just how complex London can be and how unseen risks underneath the capital can significantly affect businesses, residents and the day-to-day running of parts of the capital.”

The fire acts as a stark reminder to all businesses about the importance of setting up and maintaining a business continuity plan. Whilst electrical fires in Victorian tunnels may be rare, there are plenty of other reasons why businesses may lose power or be forced to evacuate to alternate premises. Having a plan in place means that when disaster strikes, the effect can be mitigated. 

One of the key elements of a good disaster management or business continuity plan is having a robust communication strategy in place. Being prepared means that the business can communicate swiftly and effectively with employees, clients and suppliers; invaluable if you want to keep people loyal and informed. Something as simple as bulk SMS text messages can be used as a first line of defence. These can easily be set up in advance with the wording added or changed as required. 

On an ongoing basis, the options available range from a simple phone divert to alternate landline or mobile right through to a mirror switchboard swinging into action. As with SMS messages, the action to be taken can be prepared, tested and then sit dormant until required. From local to worldwide connectivity, Business Continuity Plans should reflect individual organisational needs. For example, Callagenix’s own system has been structured with multiple links to global carriers, helping to ensure that if one carrier has a problem, others can take over. Fully customisable menus also mean that call pathways can be reprogrammed simply via the internet, so even if the business premises are out of action your phone system need not be.  

Written by Alison