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Businesses Are Not Testing Their Emergency Plans

Written by Paula Devine | 09 Mar 2015

Businesses who want to test their ability to survive a crisis like a major fire, power cut or a flu epidemic can make use of free resources from the Bedfordshire and Luton Local Resilience Forum (BLLRF) during Business Continuity Awareness Week (16-20 March).

Because many companies in Bedfordshire and Luton at risk from a major emergency do not test their business continuity plans they do not know if they will actually work when needed. Often business continuity plans are drawn up, put in a desk drawer and not used until a crisis strikes. Any omissions or mistakes only come to light during an actual emergency – when it might be too late.

Figures from the Business Continuity Institute show that only 39% of companies actually test their business continuity plans and another half admit they will not test them in 2015.

To make it easy for organisations to check whether their plans work BLLRF will be hosting a free and simple “table top” exercise in March to coincide with Business Continuity Awareness Week (BCAW).

Tony Green, Luton Borough Council’s Emergency Planning Officer, said “Any plan is only as good as its last test. If you don’t test your business continuity plan, how do you know it will work when you need it?

“Using our simple desk top scenarios companies will be able to simulate emergency situations that might affect their business to discover if their current plan works. Does it protect vital assets? Does it enable your business to carry on? Will it save you money if disaster strikes?

“A plan that looks good on paper but doesn’t work in reality is something you don’t want to discover during a real emergency. Testing your plan now also gets your emergency team actively involved in understanding how your business might respond in a real crisis.”

The simulated scenarios will include the effect of a fire, flu pandemic or a power cut upon a business and will help those taking part work out how they can keep their company in business and weather the crisis.

Bedfordshire businesses can test their BC plans during BCAW 2015 by downloading a scenario that could affect their business and a series of “injects” to be used during the day/week to test their reaction to an evolving emergency situation.

Bedfordshire businesses can also get advice from emergency experts at Local Business Awareness Drop-in Day at Priory House, Central Bedfordshire Council between 10am – 3 pm on 17 March. The day features the Environment Agency, Bedfordshire Fire & Rescue Service, Bedfordshire Police, Bedfordshire Chamber of Commerce, Federation of Small Businesses & Portakabin

Also visit the BLLRF stand at the Business Expo on 16 April 2015 at Bedford Corn Exchange.
Start planning for emergencies now, visit

Topics: Bedfordshire Chamber of Commerce, Business Development

Paula Devine

Written by Paula Devine

Paula is Head of Membership and Global Services at Bedfordshire Chamber of Commerce.

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