On 5th November 1605 Guy Fawkes was discovered underneath the Houses of Parliament with barrels of gunpowder and materials as part of his infamous plot. Justice in those days was handed down quickly and brutally and he met his fate at the hands of the authorities on 31 January 1606.

So what was he? A protestor, campaigner, militant, criminal, terrorist?

By all accounts he was born and raised in a nice city (York) and went to a good school, but at some point got in with the wrong crowd which resulted in him following the path that eventually culminated in his death. This seems to have become a familiar story that has been replayed with a number of terrorists over the past 400 years. In some ways not much has changed.

Nowadays people refer to celebrating Guy Fawkes night and we all look forward to joining with family and friends around fires and watching fireworks. Children grow up associating him with positive experiences which in a way is ironic given the purpose if the plot. Most terrorists are seen as evil and frightening so we seek to extract them from society and from our communities. The way we mark such atrocities these days is by focussing on the victims, the people who have been killed or maimed by such acts, so the events are by their very nature more sombre.

If you receive my regular mailshot you will have seen that it was based on the topic of Fire this month. I mentioned that there are continuing improvements in year on year reductions in the numbers of fires and fire related deaths but nevertheless a fire can have a devastating effect on your organisation. It is not simply a case of clearing up and carrying on. The impacts can often be long lasting and expensive.

The thing to remember is that fires do still happen.

Prevention is better than cure so when your Health & Safety guy interrupts your day with a fire drill, or pulls you up for wedging a fire door open, or asks you not to block a fire exit, or asks you to clear away all the paper that’s fallen down the back of the photocopier he’s trying to help you. Unfortunately you’ll never be sure whether the actions have prevented a fire but surely every day without such an interruption to your organisation is a good one! Next time you see him remember to say ‘thank you.’

Even with good disciplines a fire can impact your organisation in a number of ways. It could impact your day to day operations, your stock, your supply chain, your infrastructure, your people and your customers. Think through some of the scenarios for each of these and consider how you would respond.

Next month is Christmas, which is a peak time for many businesses so any disruption in the next few weeks could be catastrophic for you. Stay vigilant. Stay disciplined.

There are things you can do now to prepare your organisation in case you ever have to face such an incident. I can help you with these so give me a call and we can get started.

November 5, 2012 at 11:53 am
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