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Expect the unexpected when it comes to disasters

By CCIWA Editor 

You can never spend too much time or effort preparing for the unforeseen. Take summer as an example WA was at times been declared a natural disaster zone due to unseasonal rain and devastating floods as well as bushfires.  

Both cause damage to critical infrastructure, with roads and bridges washed away or burnt out.  

In 2017, a damage bill for the table grape industry alone was estimated at between $10-$15 million after unseasonal weather wreaked havoc on the industry in the Swan Valley. 

Every business large or small can experience a disruption that can prevent it from continuing normal business operations.  

This can happen at any time. Although emergencies like earthquakes, floods and bushfires are front of mind when someone recalls a disaster, they’re not the only things that can cripple your operation. 

Influenza outbreaks can have a disastrous impact on staff numbers and even computer viruses can shut down entire IT systems, so modern businesses must be prepared to tackle any disruptive events effectively. 

Even organisations not directly impacted by a natural disaster or emergency can suffer significant disruption to their operations.  

This can result in financial hardship due to collateral effects such as continuity of supply chain, or retraction of a customer base or pool.  

With typically long intervals between events, it’s easy to understand why businesses are complacent about preparing for emergencies, especially as crisis management is often unfunded and not part of the core business. 

CCIWA is helping businesses be better prepared for disruptive events with the new Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Workbook produced with the support of the Office of Emergency Management under the All West Australians Reducing Emergencies (AWARE) grant program. 

The workbook walks businesses through a step-by-step process for developing a business continuity plan and covers principles that can be applied to any disruptive event.  

In a 2016 survey of its members, CCIWA found 61 per cent of respondents didn’t have any staff trained in critical incident management, while 66 per cent had not determined in how many days or weeks without a regular stream of income they would go out of business.  

When asked why they had not created a business continuity plan, almost 39 per cent said it was “common sense”, 33 per cent said they were “too busy doing their normal work to create one” and 28 per cent said they would “rely on their insurance”.  

Members also shared their own business disruption experiences, from power outages to fires, cyber-attacks and even an earthquake. 

If you don’t have a business continuity plan? We’ve made it easy to safeguard your business — you can download the free disaster recovery workbook.

You can never spend too much time or effort preparing for the unforeseen. Take summer as an example WA was at times been declared a natural disaster zone due to unseasonal rain and devastating floods as well as bushfires.  

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