Winter and Spring.
"When icicles hang by the wall,
And Dick the shepherd blows his nail,
And Tom bears logs into the hall,
And milk comes frozen home in pail,
When blood is nipp'd, and ways be foul,
Then nightly sings the staring owl........"
by William Shakespeare
Winter approaches, and with it the potential for severe weather. Fortunately, we can predict most of the problems will arrive in the form of the wrong kind of snow, sticky leaves on the line and too much water or wind in the wrong place.
Not so easy to forecast are the growing number of sink holes that appear in the UK, industrial action, how many people will die of cold and whether or not the flu jab will work.
We cannot stop any of the natural forces of nature from occurring, though we have accelerated some. We can, however, put some measures in place to help us face any disruption these might bring with them.
NHS England have set the example on the 1st of November by publishing their cold weather plan , which gives advice on the effects of winter weather on people’s health. I thought I would follow suite with a few ideas on what Business Continuity planners can do by way of winter preparations for their organisations before it all arrives.
The list is by no means exhaustive, but over the years I have found that it is worth doing annually, because you can guarantee small bits of your plans will have changed since you last looked.
· Does your staff dispersal / fall-back plan still work – do you still have the same estate as you did last year or are you sharing with a partner agency.
· If you share premises with a partner agency, do both groups understand each other’s BC plan.
· Is your staff communications process still relevant – are all of the names and contact details correct.
· Are roles and responsibilities set out in the plan and do any new staff know what they are.
· If you put winter tyres on your fleet, is that action in place, and what does the programme look like.
· Do you put a winter survival kit in your fleet, snow shovel, blanket, water etc.? If so, make sure the sweets from last year are still in date.
· If you have a 4x4 capability for your response work, are all the contact numbers in place, and is the procurement process the same.
· If you use a volunteer group for 4x4 transport, has the memorandum of understanding been renewed, and are the callout arrangements the same.
· Has your flood risk increased – check where you are on the environment agency updated flood matrix.
· How will you advise and communicate with staff if they are dispersed from the main site, are those communication facilities still valid.
· Have the HR messages and processes changed?
· Promote the flu jab, particularly in call centres.
And finally, once all this and any other relevant work to your plan has been done, conduct at least a walk through / talk through of the plan with all concerned. This will give everyone the confidence that preparations have been made and understood, as well as the opportunity to challenge and add to the plan.