What will you do if the lights go out?
by Alasdair Ross,
AVA & ACVO Policy & Consultations Officer
Recent extreme weather has shown the need for individual households to be better prepared to cope with unexpected events, but how prepared are 3rd sector organisations to deal withwith emergencies?
Business continuity and emergency resilience planning is now an essential part of running any business, and the 3rd sector is no different. Have you thought about what would happen if you had no access to your premises or transport, no internet, no phone or no power? Would you still be able to deliver services to those who need them?
As well as emergency situations, there is growing uncertainty about the resilience of the national electricity supply. The government and electricity networks are prepared to introduce rolling blackouts across the UK if the need arises this winter. These would be planned and communicated in advance according to an agreed strategy which you can read more about on the SSEN website.
The high demand on councils and the emergency services during an emergency mean that they are not able to respond to everyone as quickly as they would like – this means that we all have to make sure we are in the best possible position to deal with the most likely problems ourselves.
Part of our role at AVA is to help the third sector be more resilient, and so we are encouraging everyone to take time to think about what would happen to your organisation if faced with unexpected circumstances by using the Business Emergency Resilience Group’s 10 Minute Plan. This quick checklist will help you identify what you might need to do to be better prepared.
Many 3rd sector organisations will also have to consider the impact on their service users, will you be able to continue offering support? How will you communicate with your clients? Are there vulnerable people who will need extra support? Planning your emergency response in advance saves time, money and confusion for you and for your service users.
Ready Scotland has advice on how to prepare an emergency plan for a household and a list of suggested kit to keep on hand for emergencies. Your organisation may be able to use this information to help your clients get ready for what might lie ahead this winter.
Our message to the third sector is to prepare as much as you reasonably can for what might lie ahead this winter.