The recent spate of major fires serve as a timely reminder of the risks to businesses that this ever present hazard presents. Within the last couple of days, hotels (White house Hotel, Llandudno and Crathorne Hotel, Yarm), recycling centres (Cleartech Waste, Hull, European Metal Recycling Centre, Smethwick and Transwaste, Melton) and industrial sites (warehouse, Tyseley and South Hams Industrial Estate) have all experienced major blazes, as has the former Majestyk Hotel in Leeds. Investigations are still on-going into the cause of the Nottingham University Fire . But is fire still considered a major threat to businesses?
Interestingly, of respondents to the BCI Horizon Scan survey 2013, over 20% stated that they were not concerned about fire, with one respondent stating that that fire was not applicable as a risk. Perhaps this can be related to the fact that fires are rare events, as demonstrated by the Chartered Management Institute annual Business Continuity Management surveys, which showed that between 2002 and 2013 no more than 6% of respondents experienced disruptions due to fire.
There has been a general downward trend for fires in the UK, as can be seen from the Fire Statistics: Great Britain April 2012 – March 2013.
However, as can be seen from the fires listed above, fire does still present a real and present threat, and it is critical that businesses have plans to be able to respond effectively to the damage and destruction that could be caused. This should include:
- understanding the location of critical documents and putting appropriate mitigation in place, which may include:
- ensuring that duplicates are available off-site;
- scanning documentation;
- ensuring fire-proof storage solutions are required;
- maintaining an effective Business Impact Analysis which clearly identifies the resources that would be required should you lose access to your premises, and will assist in the prioritisation of business recovery;
- maintenance of effective Business Continuity plans, which detail business recovery but also clearly identify your incident or crisis management procedures and how they will be invoked; and
- implementation of training and exercising, which will ensure as far as possible that staff are prepared for the response to an incident.
It is also critical to understand the risks that may be presented by your neighbours; do they deal with hazardous or explosive substances? Could an incident in their site impact or spread to your business? Could an incident at their site restrict access to your site?
Take a step to be fire-ready: Contact Cambridge Risk Solutions today on 0800 035 1231
Written by Helen Molyneux