Almost 60% of Bedfordshire and Luton businesses are not ready for any kind of disaster, a survey has found.
One in five are so complacent about the chances of a serious incident occurring that they were doing nothing at all to protect themselves, the survey by Bedfordshire and Luton Local Resilience Forum (BLLRF) revealed.
Yet incidents as simple as a delivery vehicle being stolen, a key supplier going bankrupt or the recent severe weather could put a company out of business, while preparing for such emergencies could save them.
In Business Continuity Week 2014 (March 17-21) BLLRF have organised two days of FREE one-to-one consultations with professional emergency planners in Bedford and Luton.
Each session lasts 30 minutes and will help companies understand the risks they face and begin planning to reduce them.
Emergency Planner Amie McGrory, the Vice Chair of the BLLRF Business Continuity Group, said: “There’s an appetite for information and a real need for Bedfordshire and Luton businesses to recognise the commercial benefits of planning for disaster.”
“There is a clear business need to prepare for something like a key supplier being out of action because they are in Somerset or the Thames Valley or the roads are blocked by floods and fallen trees.
“Our survey found only half of local businesses are registered to receive alerts and warnings of local emergencies, so 50% will have no warning of severe weather or similar threats. Few currently follow BLLRF on social media despite our frequent updates on local problems like heavy rain, flooding and the transport problems it creates.”
BLLRF’s survey, undertaken during Business Continuity Week 2013, also found that only a quarter of businesses had received any training in business continuity and one third of companies would welcome help in starting to develop their own plan and understanding the kinds of incidents that might affect them.
“To enable local companies to survive we are offering FREE consultations to help them assess their risks and begin preparing a business continuity plan,” says McGrory. “Many businesses in Somerset or the Thames Valley probably didn’t think it would happen to them and now look at the situation there. We want local companies to take action now to protect their business, staff and customers from the future consequences of unpredictable weather.”
The FREE sessions are being held between 9am and 6pm at Bedford Corn Exchange on Tuesday, March 18 and the Tokko Building, Gordon Street, Luton on Wednesday, March 19. Working with professional emergency planners businesses will create a basic plan and leave with a 1Gb data stick containing this and other useful information.
The sessions last about 30 minutes and pre-booking is strongly advised. There are also stalls and exhibitions by major responders from across the county and a company that survived the Buncefield disaster.
To pre-book the one-to-one business continuity planning sessions contact the Bedfordshire Chamber of Commerce at www.chamber-business.com/events/chamber-events or call 01582 522448 (you do not need to be a member of the C of C or FSB to attend).
To get started why not check out the 10 minute checklist on the BLLRF website to assess your businesses’ readiness to react to disaster and use the online resources to HYPERLINK “https://www.bllrf.org.uk/content/?area_id=5” begin creating your own business continuity plan - HYPERLINK “http://bit.ly/1bl9vD1” bit.ly/1bl9vD1
You can join BLLRF’s Facebook page and follow them on Twitter #BCAW2014 and #BusWWYDI.