Preparedness reminder

The Monday morning earthquake on 14 November was a salutary reminder that we live on an active and ever changing planet. The third rock from the sun has been shifting and changing for millennia and will continue to do so for millennia to come. Given that New Zealand only exists because of the ongoing collision between the Pacific and Australian plates, the likelihood of earthquakes is clearly high, with potentially extreme consequences. But it is a risk that we cannot control and until such time that science provides us with the means to predict where and when earthquakes will occur (and with sufficient notice to do anything about it), the only mitigation that we have at our disposal is to be as prepared as we can. Having experienced the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes in Christchurch, I learned the importance of always keeping the car at least half full of petrol; of having some spare food, water and shelter readily available; having prepared text messages on my phone, and knowing what immediate actions to take when the shaking starts.

Businesses also need to be prepared. These shaky times are an opportune reminder to revisit those emergency response plans, that have possibly been gathering dust for a while! Are the emergency contact numbers all up to date? Have staff practiced what to do if an earthquake, tsunami or another major event occurs? Are role holders clear on what is expected of them, and does the plan provide clear advice on what steps to take and when? Companies might also need to think about developing or reviewing their business continuity plans. How can the equipment and property of the company be best protected and what needs to be done to get the business up and running again quickly?

Major events don’t always happen to other people or organisations. Sometimes they happen to us and our business. The best we can do for our family, employees and business is take the time to plan for such eventualities. There is some great advice available on government websites.

See the following links:

WORKSAFE – Emergency procedures

Ministry of Civil Defence & Emergency Management

Emergency and continuity planning

Taking a bit of time now to be prepared, could save a great deal of time, expense and heartache when disaster does strike.

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