Tag Archives: Business Continuity

The 2016 National Flood Resilience Review for the time-pressed: UK Flooding, what you need to know

updated 02/11/2016

“We need to recognise that there is a non-negligible chance that we will see further events (flooding) of a similar, or maybe even greater, scale over the next decade.” (Executive summary)

Sadly, awareness of the seriousness of flooding is very thin on the ground. Just 6-8% of people actually living with flood risk know they are vulnerable, a figure that has not changed much since 2014 according to the Environment Agency’s @johncurtinEA.

That was households. What about business? For small businesses that make up 99% of the UK economy, it turns out that SME’s ‘prefer’ to react rather than pro-actively engage in business continuity and business preparedness as discussed recently during @TheFloodExpo . Dr Jessica Lamond (CFCR UWE)  showed that, sadly, SMEs are not pro-active (despite this making a lot of business sense), taking active steps only after having been flooded – twice! Even after measures are taken, actual preparedness is just at 60%. These are stark figures.

 

In September  the @cabinetofficeuk with @DefraGovUK under the leadership of  @andrealeadsom and with input from @uksciencechief published the National Flood Resilience Review. It charts the immense work undertaken by @EnvAgency and @metoffice in the wake of the devastating 2015/16 floods, lessons learnt and ways forward for better resilience nationwide.

For those of you who are time pressed or disinclined to read the full report, here are some key points important for household and business preparedness:

UK Flooding: money matters

  • £2.3 billion will be spent over the next six years from 2015- 2021 to strengthen flood and coastal defences with a particular focus on better protecting 300,000 homes
  • recovery packages handled by local authorities are currently in place for homes, businesses and farms in areas of Northern England affected by the 2015/6 floods
  • Flood Re has been established to ensure that households can continue to obtain affordable flood insurance (schemes for small business are being discussed; source: FloodExpo)

UK Flooding: severe weather and more frequent, stronger storms

  • the intensity of recent storms is unusual, but not unprecedented
  • a comprehensive study of trends (1871-2010) shows a robust signal of increasing numbers of strong winter storms and with increasing intensity for the high latitude North Atlantic; further south over the mid-latitude North Atlantic (ie the path of the storms that affected the UK in winter 2013/14) signal are more complex. Although the number of strong winter storms has not increased since 1871, storm mean intensity has increased. Notably, for very strong storms, the mean intensity has increased significantly. However, results are not conclusive and there remains substantial scientific debate about the behaviour of the North Atlantic jet stream and the storms that form along it.

UK Flooding: extreme rain fall, extreme tidal scenarios, sea level rise

  • rainfall depends on geography, the west receiving ten times more rain than the east of the UK; England and Wales is divided into six climate regions
  • based on robust analysis, the Met Office concludes that winter monthly rainfall totals could plausibly be 20% higher than recent past extremes in some parts of the country and up to 30% higher than recent past extremes in other parts
  • seasonal variability: winter flows have increased in upland, western catchments; autumn flows have increased in Central England and parts of Eastern Scotland. There is no apparent pattern of change in summer flows across the UK
  • high winter flows have increased over the last 30 years and there has been an increase in the frequency and magnitude of flooding over the same period, particularly in the West and North.  However, as with rainfall, longer records demonstrate that there are flood-rich and flood-poor periods in the hydrological record. Reconstruction of floods from sediment records suggests some very large floods in the 18th and 19th centuries
  • sea level along the English Channel has already risen by about 12cm during the 20th century; this is over and above the increases associated with sinking of the southern part of the UK due to isostatic adjustment from the last Ice Age; this increases the risk of coastal flooding and tidal locking. A further overall 11-16cm of sea level rise is likely by 2030, relative to 1990
  • the Environment Agency’s Extreme Flood Outlines (EFO) have been stress-tested and found to be a reliable way to identify areas at risk from extreme river and coastal flooding over the next ten years
  • the risk of extreme river flows resulting in a severe flood are not unusual but the probability of this occurring is low
  • the 2016 National Risk Assessment (confidential document) for the first time differentiates fluvial and surface water flood risk in place of a single ‘inland flood risk’, allowing a better targeted approach to planning and management (NRR Civil Emergencies)

Limitations of scientific models

  • statistical analysis used to produce the report assumes that the probability of flooding has not changed significantly over time, for example because of  changes in land use, climate change or other climatic variations
  • interestingly climate change was not identified as a factor, so called ‘natural variability’ dominating extreme rainfall scenarios ; but there was consensus that the techniques used should be developed further to explore a fuller range of possible events
  • the variable nature of regional/local weather and rainfall plus the complexities of terrain and catchments mean that any results are indicative only and cannot describe all settings
  • the next set of UK Climate Projections due to be published in 2018 (UKCP18)

 

UK flooding: critical national infrastructure and the private sector

We depend on a secure supply of services such as electricity, telecommunications, water, healthcare and transport. Many are delivered by the private sector. Government, sector regulators and industries are working together to ensure security of supply across the 13 CNI (critical national infrastructure) sectors (more, see CPNI). The loss of local services during the winter floods 2015/6 meant that, for the first time, individual sector-by-sector assets at risk from flooding were identified.   The complex inter-dependencies between sectors continue to be investigated.

  • 1640 potentially vulnerable national infrastructure asset sites serving a (pragmatically determined) population threshold range from 10,000 to 25,000 have been identified, most  of which were deemed ‘defended’
  • 530 key infrastructure sites around the country are currently vulnerable to flooding (again within the 10,000-25,000 threshold)
  • infrastructure sectors are at different stages in the resilience building process, some have yet to complete their analysis. Losing electricity or hospitals are particularly acute ‘worst case’ scenarios impacting communities
  • the electricity industry will invest £250 million (2015-2021) to protect the network against flooding; sites serving more than 10,000 people which are not protected against an extreme flood have been surveyed and have a plan in place to deploy temporary barriers if required and feasible
  • work with the water industry to extend analysis to cover all relevant water assets (clean and waste) serving more than 10,000 people continues
  • transport is vulnerable, investments are under way
    • Network Rail is planning to spend £900 million over the next three years
    • Highways England plans to invest £78 million over the next five years to reduce the risk of flooding on major roads, and a further £300 million as part of its Road Investment Strategy
    • Gatwick Airport following flood-related disruption in December 2013, commissioned an independent review of its vulnerability to flooding and is allocating a further £10 million above and beyond the original £20 million investment in flood resilience over the next 2 years
    • the Department for Transport promote closer working between ports and Local Resilience Forums to improve overall awareness of, and preparation for, severe flooding and port resilience groups are being set up along the East Coast

(thankfully health and safety is much stricter in the UK)

UK flooding: temporary flood defenses

Permanent flood defenses are clearly preferable to temporary defenses. In some instances, however, permanent solutions either do not offer value for money or cannot improve the situation before next winter. Therefore temporary defenses play an immediate role in strengthening the resilience of local infrastructure: temporary barriers do not provide the same level of protection as permanent defenses; failure rates typically are 20-30%, although this can be reduced by good advanced planning

      • no type of temporary barrier is universally deployable in all situations, and generally they cannot withstand large wave action. All leak to a certain extent and therefore need to be supplemented by pumps (annex 8 illustrates a range of temporary flood defenses such as tube, filled container, frame barrier, flexible free standing and rigid free standing)

 

      • once installed, successful ongoing deployment requires additional support including security against theft and vandalism as well as health and safety measures such as lighting and access maintenance to surrounding homes and businesses

 

      • thorough site-specific pre-planning as well as the availability of sufficient numbers of trained staff or volunteers is critical to success (as are training exercises)

 

      • engineered hard flood defenses can only ever be part the solution. Benefits of natural flood management has been seen ie in Pickering, North Yorkshire and Holnicote in Somerset. The Government’s future 25 year plan for the environment will look at strengthening the role of local partners, bringing them together to integrate flood management with water planning at a catchment level.

 

 

UK flooding: improving incidence response

  • £12.5 million are being invested through the Environment Agency in temporary flood barriers, mobile water pumps and incident command vehicles – stored in strategic locations across the country for fast response
  • £0.75 million are being invested to provide maintenance grants to enable nationally deployable flood rescue teams to maintain their equipment
  • a single register of national flood response assets will be kept up to date and will be viewable through ResilienceDirect; developing new capabilities in line with responders’ requirements.
  • an operations centre will be established (as identified in the National Security Strategy and Strategic Defence and Security Review 2015) bringing together relevant organisations, including the armed forces
  • Defra in collaboration with other government departments will establish a standard operating model for local responders and the Environment Agency will work with Local Resilience Forums to identify opportunities to embed good practice in their flood response plans

 

UK flooding: flood defense and urban development

  • ultimate aim is to deliver flood defense levels for the Core Cities similar to that of London, Sheffield is the pilot project which, if successful will be broadened to the other core cities

 

The National Flood Resilience Review also contains interesting case studies in annex 4 which you may be interested to read especially if you are in or near to Carlisle, Calder Valley, Oxford, Exeter, Great Yarmouth, London (Teddington to Thames Barrier).   References

Much excellent work continues across the country including the setting up of local Flood Action Groups, Community Resilience Projects (i.e NYLRF) and flood prevention excercises such as

However, it also pays to be better prepared.There is a lot that can be done. If your’re an individual start at our preparedness hub, if you’re a small business start at business preparedness. Addition: EFRA report, Future flood prevention; Second Report of Session 2016–17

Be prepared, not scared.

Have a good week.

Monika     thank you for sharing, raising awareness for Emergency Preparedness!

For more EVAQ8 blog simply use the right hand navigation. For emergency kits and practical resources use the top navigation. For FREE resources head over to our Preparedness Hub and find out why we use humour. If you like this post, please share it to help raise awareness for Emergency and Disaster Preparedness. Thank you!

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Zika Virus Outbreak – Travel Health – what you need to know to be better prepared and minimize exposure

The WHO has just declared an international emergency in response to the emergence of the zika virus

The race to understand Zika link to baby microcepahly is on yet the fear is that for those threatened by Zika, vaccines may not come soon enough. Brazil has warned pregnant women to avoid the Olympics and Public Health England is advising to consider delaying travel to countries with ongoing Zika outbreaks. The list of affected countries is unfortunately expanding fast …

… and climate change may affect the spread; considering trade and travel, this may well extend beyond current projections such as

How can I protect myself from Zika?

Short answer: no mosquito bite – no Zika.

Follow these simple yet effective steps when travelling to minimize exposure

You may also want to read the latest developments with regards to Zika virus being sexually transmitted; i.e. Reuters on WHO calls for further investigation into sexual spread of Zika virus.

With regards to Business Continuity and potential impacts to the economy of regions affected by Zika, read Prof Geraint Johnes’ (Lancaster University) illuminating article The human cost of Zika is clear, but will Brazil’s economy suffer too? drawing comparisons to recent SARS outbreaks affecting Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong and China.

Monika

 thank you for sharing!

Find EVAQ8 on social media, like and follow us!

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Emergency Preparedness and Resilience for Schools – a new approach

source: http://www.lincoln.kyschools.us/userfiles/2/EmergencyExercise_web_H.jpg

Amazing things happen when passionate people share a hugely important common interest such as advancing Community Preparedness and Resilience. You already know about us and what we do and also about me more personally through this blog.

Now I’d like you to meet Ben.  Why? Because he has worked tirelessly with us since earlier this year to realize one of our ambitions, to create

the UK’s first robust, affordable and readily accessible School Resilience Products following recognized ISO and British standards.

It may even be a world first.

But let me start at the beginning with Ben and you will understand why I am so excited about our latest collaboration project.

Ben is soft-spoken with a ready smile, an enthusiastic and thorough person with a sense of humour who always goes the extra mile or ten. I know because here we are today after many months of back and forth tweaking and perfecting to create an entirely new approach: robust School Resilience products beginning with a School Resilience Package and a School Desktop Review Emergency Planning.

Although Ben and I come from hugely different backgrounds we share a certain vision and tenacity as well as an uncompromising insistence on quality and value for money. In his case this capacity is not surprising when I tell you that, having graduated from the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in 2001, Ben spent 10 years as a British Army Officer responsible for response and evacuation of injured personnel overseas. He was also responsible for coordinating the roll-out of a £85 million Medical Information Management Programme to 180 sites worldwide. In addition Ben has considerable expertise in HAZMAT and clocks specialised training in CBRN to the level that he is qualified to advise National and Local Government. Oh, and he is a member of the British Standards Institute, The Chartered Management Institute and The Emergency Planning Society as well as a British Military Martial Arts instructor, teaching Self-Defense and Close Quarter Protection.

Importantly, Ben is also a loving and engaged father and has spent significant time working with schools on a voluntary basis. Thus he is expertly placed to know and understand the particular needs of schools in terms of dealing with major events.

And so here we are today, the various expertise coming together and falling into place. Easy – well, kind of 😉  It is with real pleasure and a deep sense of satisfaction that we introduce today:

  • School Resilience Package: a custom-made Risk Assessment, Crisis Management and Business Continuity Plan in one comprehensive Package to all current BS/ISO standards

Please see the individual product ‘Description’ tabs for detailed info and how to order. These two custom-made consultancy products will perfectly complement our range of ready and custom-made Emergency Kits for Schools.

These days, Schools are being placed ever more actively at the forefront of Community Resilience. Rightly so, I believe for a culture of Preparedness and Resilience needs to be built early on. Schools can play a vital role in this not only in their own Preparedness but in their role as community educators.

EVAQ8’s mission and contribution to this much larger picture is simple: making available reliable, effective and affordable products and services. Please contact us anytime – our friendly and knowledgeable team is happy to be of assistance.

School Emergency Planning | source http://emergency.ucsc.edu/emergency-management/plans/images/plans-banner.jpg?t=0

You may also be interested in: A factual comparison: Emergency Grab Bags for Schools, official UK Guidance vs EVAQ8 Kits and Why template School Emergency Plans do not add up.

Monika

thank you for sharing and helping raise awareness for Community Resilience and Preparedness! For more resources visit our schools preparedness page and also see:

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Business Resilience – Business Continuity – What does it mean?

Resilient Business, Business Continuity, Risk Management – all are big buzzwords reverberating around cyberspace with renewed vigour these last weeks. Interestingly, the more I read the more I realize just how fragmented the discussions are and how these terms seem to mean very different things to different people. No wonder it is all quite confusing.

Risk Management versus Business Continuity Management, what’s the difference?

Source: http://www.esri.com/news/arcuser/0405/graphics/comstat_1a_lg.gifBusiness Continuity Management or BCM is often treated as a subset of risk management. Up to a point this holds, for in Risk Management (ISO 31000) risk identification is the first key step in risk assessment that leads to the selection of appropriate risk treatments based on the best available information. Problems arise here, however, when ‘best available information’ is not good enough or absent. This is often the case in today’s world of complex and often hidden or fast developing threats both man-made and natural disasters.

Being able to select risk treatments for unpredictable incidents and disasters is the great strength of Business Continuity Management.

Simply identifying risks and producing a plan – Risk Management – is not enough – not for Resilient Business

The original definition of Business Continuity Management recognizes that BCM is more than just writing a Business Continuity Plan:

A ‘holistic’ management process that identifies potential threats to an organization and the impacts to business operations that those threats, if realized, might cause and which provides a framework for building organization resilience with the capability for an effective response that safeguards the interests of its key stakeholders, reputation, brand and value-creating activities.’

I concur with Andrew Hiles (The definitive Handbook of Business Continuity, 2010) in that this 53 word definition, while appearing comprehensive is rather long and difficult to understand, lacking clarity in what exactly is meant by ‘holistic’ and ‘organization resilience’.

However, Hiles’ own attempt at a more user-friendly reductionist definition of BCM as ‘Preparing an organization to deal with incidents that might otherwise prevent it from achieving its operational objectives’ has in my view been stripped entirely of meaning which is perhaps why he finds it necessary to add two explanatory notes neither of which seems to add more practical insight. He qualifies first, that it is a management process that identifies the potential impacts of disruptions and provides the means for coping with their consequences and second, that preparing includes taking measures to reduce the likelihood and impact of incidents.

Business Continuity Definitions, while important, are limiting by their very nature

Rather than getting embroiled in minutiae or distracted by exactly where Business Continuity Management belongs – some recent authors seem to think BCM only encompasses aspects of IT issues such as cyber threats, I take the practical connectionist stance that Business and therefore Business Continuity cannot be seen in isolation. This brings my viewpoint back to interpreting the ‘holistic’ and ‘resilience’ aspect of the original definition. However, rather than going off on some metaphysical discourse as you might expect at this point let me emphatically state that in its essence ‘holistic’ ought to be intensely simple and practical. In Business, as elsewhere, ‘resilience’ is not a lofty metaphysical concept but is firmly grounded in daily life, in the skills, resources and connections of people. Resilient people bounce forward.

source: https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/ec/18/04/ec18046b2128f40323387efc8a99c080.jpg

Today I came across an article on ‘Employer’s Focus on employees’ mental wellbeing‘.

Jennifer Paterson mentions diverse organizations such as Anglian Water, law firm Browne Jacobson , Microsoft and Marks and Spencer implementing staff well-being initiatives which made me smile and think ‘this is a huge step in the right direction’.

People are physical, mental and emotional beings, all aspects that holistically integrate into making personal resilience.

Resilient People = Resilient Business.

They are inseparable.

Perhaps there is hope that

  • A holistic management process that identifies potential threats to an organization’ will gradually come to mean ‘a mindful management that recognizes and furthers the individual resources of its people’

After all

  • ‘Effective responses that safeguard the interests of key stakeholders, reputation, brand and value-creating activities’ can only be delivered by (obviously well spoken – tongue in cheek) people that are resilient which is a complex mix of many factors as I have explored (and will continue to explore) in this blog.

… but back to Business Continuity Management…

Of course there needs to be management, Business Continuity is too vital an element of resilience at all levels (local to international) to simply be left to chance. While BS ISO 22301 Business Continuity Management System certainly is a valuable framework, it is also perhaps overly complex and bogged down with jargon thus putting it out of reach for many otherwise astute Businesses. On the other side of the spectrum is the well-meaning but rather unfortunately titled book by the Cabinet Office ‘Business Continuity for Dummies’ (2012) with its overly ‘soft’ approach. There’s also a short video:

However, Business people by their very nature are anything but dummies. Is there nothing else, no nuanced approach?

Active Programmes are better than Passive Guidelines

Rather than more books and guidelines, perhaps a more practical approach can be taken in line with another recent innovation that made me smile today (Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service): the Prince’s Trust ‘Get Started Programme’ aimed at helping young people experience and practice Emergency Preparedness.

Now just imagine that but as an active BCM training programme for small and medium size Business that includes simplified and flexible planning and – of course – Business Continuity Kits. Apologies for the shameless plug but there is real and practical resilience in what we do so do have a look around while you’re here. You will find a large range of real value-for-money ready-made Emergency, Disaster and Business Continuity Kits or – if you’re a fan of the Goldilocks Principle ‘just right’ like us – see our Custom-Made section for tailor made practical Business Continuity Solutions.

Wishing you a resilience-building week and thank you for stopping by and don’t miss our resources on Business Preparedness.

Monika


For more EVAQ8 blog simply use the right hand navigation. For emergency kits and practical resources use the top navigation. For FREE business resources head over to our Business Preparedness page. If you like this post, please share it to help raise awareness for Emergency and Disaster Preparedness. Thank you!

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