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Be prepared should disaster strike, forum urges firms


However help is at hand during Business Continuity Awareness Week.
The campaign, which begins on Monday, aims to highlight the importance of creating a plan that would help local companies to keep in business and protect jobs.
BLLRF brings together the emergency services, business representatives, local councils, health and government agencies and risk and resilience consultants to prepare and plan for disasters and to help businesses think about the unthinkable before it happens.
Bedfordshire Fire & Rescue Service area commander Tony Rogers said: “One in five Bedfordshire businesses could be affected by a major disruption such as fire, flood or – as the recent horse meat scandal has shown – a problem in their supply chain.
“But two thirds do not have any plan to get them back in business and half of businesses affected by a major disaster with no recovery plan will be bankrupt within the following 12 months. This could be a major blow to the local economy, local employment and local services.”
Mr Rogers, who heads BLLRF’s Business Continuity Awareness Working Group, urged firms to complete a survey on the forum’s website www.bllrf.org.uk. It aims to clarify how much assistance Bedfordshire business would need should disaster strike.
He added: “Because disasters can strike any organisation, large or small, at any time we are urging businesses to check their risks and how prepared they are.”
Chief Superintendent Mike Colbourne, chair of BLLRF’s Executive, said: “Business Continuity Management is about planning a business’ return to normal as quickly and painlessly as possible in the event of a major disruption.
"Whether it is a small business or an international company, managers should have already put aside the information they need to keep their businesses running in case of flood, fire or criminal activity.
“Being prepared makes good business sense – if your business suffers from a disaster your competitors will be ready to take over your customers and your business. You should also think about your customers – what will happen to them if you cannot supply them with your services?”
Off-site data back-up and a reserve place of business were also vital elements of any plan, he added, as well as provisions for severe weather.
“Local business people owe it to their staff, their customers and their community to start thinking about what they would do if disaster struck,” Mr Colbourne said.

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