My attention kept getting drawn to the article on the news this week about a major fire in South Wales. Not so much for the images and details of the fire itself but more so for the comments from businesses on the industrial park who had been impacted.

‘We will be at least a day behind. We are not allowed in the office.’

‘Unfortunately all our computers are in there. The business will be on hold for a day.’

Check out the full article here. Did you notice the comment about it being the second fire in less than a month?

As a Business Continuity Consultant I hate relying on others misfortune to prove a point and I really hope the businesses impacted are soon able to return to their premises and recommence operations.

Nevertheless the story does serve as yet another reminder to us all that incidents do occur and in this case twice in close succession – how many warnings does it take?

No matter how good the precautions are that we take to avoid disruptions to our own organisations – our neighbours and local environment may cause or result in incidents beyond our control. The point is we may not be able to control our neighbours but we sure can control our own preparations in case anything does happen.

Anyone remember the Buncefield oil terminal incident?

Just like the Buncefield incident the timing of the fire could be devastating for some businesses. Retailers and suppliers supporting the provision of goods to customers for the increased seasonal demand backed up with promises of ‘delivery in time for Christmas’ could be particularly impacted. Equally those businesses looking to close out the year with a solid performance to achieve targets are also likely to be affected….and all this for something that wasn’t their fault!

Many organisations operate from Business Parks often (in true UK fashion) with one entry/exit road. Every day we travel to our work locations without a thought about what is going on in the other premises on the park so we don’t know the risks that may lurk behind our neighbours’ front doors!

What do you fancy? A fire, a chemical spillage, a protest, or an accident at your neighbours’ premises? Their problem soon becomes your problem.

We can only control what we can control. In other words you will only have limited influence over your neighbours’ activities unless they breach regulations so look at what you can do yourself.

My advice is to think about the different scenarios you could face and start to formulate ideas and plans for how you would cope, how you would continue to operate. Believe me, your neighbour will be too busy sorting out their own mess so don’t expect a Christmas card from them.

Irrespective of the size of your organisation there are ways to help you prepare for such incidents. Whether you need consultancy support, training, guidance or even if you just want a Simple and Effective Guide to show you how to develop the key elements yourself you just need to contact me or visit my website.