Free workshops to help businesses get through, recover

14 Feb 2014, 2:16 PM

Civil Defence officials are again offering free workshops to help Northland’s business owners and operators both get through emergencies and better recover from them.

The Northland Civil Defence Emergency Management Group (CDEM) says the two latest workshops will be held at the Northland Regional Council's Whangarei offices on Wednesday 26 February; the first from 9.30am to 12.30pm and the second 1pm-4pm.

Limited to just 24 participants each, the easy to understand three-hour workshops are a collaboration between the Northland CDEM Group, New Zealand Fire Service and the Northland Chamber of Commerce.

Kim Abbott, an Emergency Management Officer with the Northland CDEM Group, says local business owners need to be better-prepared to get through and recover from disaster.

"Many businesses, especially our smaller ones, are relatively comfortable they will be able to cope with the types of adverse events we more typically get up here like flooding and bad weather. People are familiar with these and that can lead to a false sense of security that can make them complacent."

However, Ms Abbott says other unexpected events – like fires, power cuts or even road closures – can cause businesses serious and costly problems and its important owners and operators know how to respond and recover from these too.

She says in a disaster an inability to access premises, contact staff or customers or deliver goods can lead to significant financial losses and even see stricken businesses forced to shut up shop for good.

"A relatively small amount of time spent planning for disasters through a good business continuity plan now can help keep an organisation up and running during future interruptions of any kind. As a business owner, it may prove to be one of the easiest and smartest investments you'll ever make."

Ms Abbott says qualified business and emergency mentors will help workshop participants through a business continuity planning process, with the aid of a locally-developed, Northland-specific kit in plain English.

"The kit is included for all workshop attendees and spells out what a business continuity plan involves, as well as the most likely risks Northland businesses face. It also includes learnings from both local storms and Christchurch businesses and helps them to complete an individual plan."

Ms Abbott says those interested in registering for the workshops should contact her on (0800) 002 004 or email her on [email protected] for more information.

Similarly, those in areas outside of Whangarei who are interested in attending a future workshop in their area should also contact her to register.