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Emergency planning advice for businesses

Disasters can happen at any time to any organisation big or small. Would your business survive?

This page provides advice for businesses on preparing themselves to deal with unforeseen emergencies and disruption.

The Risks

Business operations can be threatened in many ways, consider the effect of losing:

  • Staff.
  • Premises.
  • Key systems.
  • Records and data

Potential impacts

  • Loss of customers.
  • Loss of contracts.
  • Loss of good reputation.
  • Closure

What you can do

  • Make sure your staff know what to do in an emergency.
  • Identify a different location or site to work from.
  • Insure your business.
  • Backup systems and data.
  • Develop a Business Continuity Plan

Business continuity

A carefully thought-out business continuity plan will make coping in a crisis easier and enable you to minimise disruption to the business and its customers. It will also prove to customers, insurers and investors that your business is robust enough to cope with anything that might happen.

The Business Continuity Institute

Become more resilient and find out more about the value of effective business continuity management

Business in the Community

Business in the Community (BITC) has created a quick guide and a checklist for small businesses to create their own bespoke emergency plans. Organisations can follow the eight practical steps to be ready for disruptive events, such as a flood, cyber attack or civil unrest.


Bomb threats and suspect packages

The vast majority of bomb threats are hoaxes designed to cause alarm and disruption. As well as the rare instances of valid bomb threats, terrorists may also make hoax bomb threat calls to intimidate the public, businesses and communities, to draw attention to their cause and to mislead police. Having a plan in advance makes the response to bomb threats, unattended items, or suspicious items as orderly and controlled as possible, reducing risk and the impact of false alarms on regular business activities.

Cyber attacks

Many organisations rely upon information systems to support day-to-day business and employ digital technologies to manage safety and security. As a result, businesses can become vulnerable to threats that undermine their confidentiality, integrity or accessibility. The consequences of such incidents can be significant to organisations, leading to substantial financial loss, damage to assets, regulatory fines, loss of reputation and even physical injury.

By being aware of the cyber threat you can begin to take steps to secure your business.

Cyber guidance

The National Cyber Security Centre provides advice and guidance for small and medium sized organisations.

Cyber essentials

The National Cyber Security Centre's cyber essentials programme helps you to protect your organisation against a range of the most common cyber attacks.

Cyber security toolkit

The National Cyber Security Centre's cyber security toolkit provides resources to help board members govern cyber risk more effectively

Mapping your supply chain

The National Cyber Security Centre's "Mapping your supply chain" guidance demonstrates how organisations can map their supply chain dependencies, so that risks can be better understood and managed.

National Protective Security Authority (NPSA)

The National Protective Security Authority provides information and resources to support the promotion of security awareness across your organisation.

Fuel disruption

Fuel is the life blood of our economy, over the last few years disputes in the fuel industry and higher prices have caused disruption to supplies. Below are some initial questions that you may wish to run through your Business Continuity Plans when considering the impact of a disruption in the fuel supply.

Getting to work:

  • Would all of your staff actually need to come to work during a period of disruption? For example, could some staff work effectively from home or from another site/office that is closer to home?
  • Could your staff make more efficient use of their private vehicles by car sharing with colleagues?
  • Could your staff make greater use of public transport to get to work?

At work:

  • Which of your business functions are critical and must continue during any period of disruption?
  • Of these, which critical functions must have vehicles in order to deliver them?
  • Which of your business functions are less critical such that they could be scaled back or even suspended during a period of disruption?
  • Of these, which functions normally depend on vehicles in order to deliver them – i.e. could your business reduce its overall demand for fuel during a period of disruption?
  • Could you multi-task your vehicles in order to make maximum use of their delivery capacity?
  • Could you make greater use of the vehicles in your fleet that have lower fuel consumption?

Infectious diseases

Infectious diseases, such as Pandemic Flu, may lead to localised, national or even international outbreaks if not rapidly controlled. 

If such an outbreak occurs it will almost certainly detrimentally impact employees, stakeholders, supply chains and the customer base. 

The following guides provide information to increase organisational preparedness to help protect employees, suppliers and customers and so reduce the risk to business. 

Power cuts

According to National statistics, a single hour of downtime is said to cost a small business an average of £800 and a large commercial organisation £8,500.

The following information will help you to understand what support is available and how best you can protect your business.

Energy bill relief scheme

Help for businesses and other non-domestic users

Energy advice for businesses

Official advice for businesses from Ofgem

Severe weather

Whether cold, sunny, wet or windy, the UK is prone to weather extremes.

For businesses severe weather conditions can lead to a lack of personnel and resources and, in the worst case scenario, being unprepared for severe weather can ultimately lead to businesses becoming insolvent or closing.

Support contacts

Contact us

For information on accessing local advice and support please contact the Disaster Management team via Dudley Council Plus.

Federation of Small Businesses

Information and advice from the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB).

Black County Chamber of Commerce

The Black Country Chamber of Commerce helps firms of all sizes across Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall and Wolverhampton to achieve more.

Creative Industries Centre
Wolverhampton Science Park
Glaisher Drive
WV10 9TG

Further information