There are a range of risks that businesses may also face and should prepare for, these include fires, floods, adverse weather and crime among others. There are, however, some simple steps that can be taken to reduce the impact of any such eventuality and improve the resilience of your business. The steps are not exhaustive and are only intended as a starting point for micro, small and medium size businesses.
Prepare your Business for a denial of access
Denial of Access may occur due to variety of causes, such as fire, flooding, road closures or a transport strike among others. Having contingency arrangements may be critical for your business.
- Establish fall-back locations and remote working procedures if your premises are inaccessible.
- Establish channels for communicating with staff, customers and suppliers in such an eventuality.
- Consider the impacts on your supply-chains and how your business could continue.
- Ensure management always have access to a set of spare keys.
- Ask staff to sign up to receive free TfL Travel Alerts.
Prepare your Business for adverse weather
Adverse weather includes storms and gales, snow and ice, heavy rainfall and heatwaves. It can occur all year round and can have a substantial impact on businesses and service delivery.
- Register for the free Met Office severe weather alerts.
- Plan for supplier, logistical and delivery problems. Could opening hours be changed? Do you have reserve stocks? Do you have more than one supplier available?
- Plan for staff shortages. Could staff work from an alternative location?
- Know what to do in case of adverse weather causes a power outage or water disruption.
- Keep practical equipment available, for example a shovel and brush to clear your doorstep.
Prepare your Business for flooding
Many businesses are negatively affected by flooding every year, which poses a very real risk. Kingston has a numbers areas across the borough which are in river and surface water flood zones.
- Check if your premises are in areas at risk of flooding via the Environment Agency website and, if so, sign up to their free 24 hour flood alerts service and view their live flood warnings map.
- Consider options for flood proofing to try and prevent water from entering your building by following the National Flood Forum property protection advice.
- Reduce the damage caused by water entering the building. Know how to turn off the power supply and consider raising electrical sockets as well as using flood resistant materials.
- Store hazardous equipment and important records/information, such as your insurance details, in a safe place, preferably on an upper storey of the building.
- Prepare a flood plan – look at some guidance produced by the Environment Agency on this.
Prepare your Business for fire
The cost and effect of a serious fire will be high and many business do not recover.
- Complete a fire risk assessment as per the Regulatory Reform Fire Safety Order 2005 and view the generic advice provided by London Fire Brigade.
- Reduce, eliminate and control ignition sources and combustible items.
- Ensure the appropriate PAT testing of electrical equipment and checks of wiring.
- Consider installing fire safety equipment (e.g. sprinklers, fire doors, fire extinguishers, fire blankets and smoke alarms – which can be connected to remote care services).
- Train staff in emergency procedures.
Prepare your business against crime
- Ensure your premises are fitted with security alarms and quality locks.
- Fit a shutter that can be used at closing time or in lockdown situations.
- Install CCTV cameras and keep valuables and money secured and out of sight.
- Build good relationships with your neighbours and join local security networks. All businesses are encouraged to register for the free Cross-Sector Safety & Security Communications service.
- Seek further advice through your Police Safer Neighbourhood Teams or via the National Counter Terrorism Security Office (NaCTSO), ensuring that all crimes are reported to the Police. In an emergency always call 999. If non-urgent call 101.
Prepare your Business against cyber crime
- Ensure that all devices require a passcode. Use strong passcodes and keep them private.
- Install security software 9including anti-virus) and set them to automatically update.
- Back up data regularly for all of your computers, electronic devices and other IT systems.
- Use password-protected files for any necessary but sensitive documents that are stored.
- Get further tips from the National Cyber Security Centre, Get Safe Online and Cyber Essentials.