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Civil Defence offers help to ‘ill-prepared’ North businesses

Media release

Civil Defence offers help to ‘ill-prepared’ North businesses

Lessons from Christchurch’s devastating earthquakes show most Northland business owners are ill-prepared to survive and recover from an emergency, the region’s Civil Defence officials say.

Kim Abbott, an Emergency Management Officer with the Northland Civil Defence Emergency Management Group (CDEM), says the Christchurch experience has reinforced that an inability to access premises, contact staff or customers or deliver goods can lead to significant financial losses – or even permanent closure.

Ms Abbott says while many of Northland’s small to medium businesses are familiar with adverse events like flooding and bad weather, they need to know more about how they can respond to – and recover from – a wide range of incidents from fires to power cuts.

With that in mind, Northland business owners and operators are being invited to attend one of a series of free business continuity workshops being run throughout the region over the next several months by Civil Defence.

Ms Abbott says a relatively small amount of time spent planning for such events through a good business continuity plan can keep an organisation up and running through interruptions of any kind.

She says the Northland CDEM Group, New Zealand Fire Service and the Northland Chamber of Commerce have joined forces to offer business continuity workshops at no cost to assist the region’s small to medium business owners.

The 2.5 hour workshops aim to strengthen and enhance the ability of businesses to respond and recover from adverse events that may affect or interrupt them; from an isolated event like a fire, an ongoing disruption through things like power cuts or road closures to a major regional event like a storm.

Ms Abbott says a series of workshops around Northland are planned, starting with three in Whangarei in early and mid-October before moving into the Far North later this year and Kaipara early next year.

“Basically, they’re designed to enable business owners/operators to undertake the business continuity planning process with the aid of qualified business and emergency mentors.”

She says a “Northland-specific” kit has been developed in simple English to assist businesses to prepare.

Included for all workshop attendees, it includes:

• What is a business continuity plan?
• What are the most likely risks to Northland businesses?
• Lessons learned from earthquake-affected Christchurch businesses
• Help to complete an individual business continuity plan.

Ms Abbott says each of the Whangarei workshops will be limited to 24 participants and will be held at the Northland Regional Council’s Water St headquarters; the first on Thursday 04 October from 9.30am to noon and the second and third on Tuesday 16 October from 9.30am to noon and 1pm to 3pm.

She says there although dates and venues are still being finalised, the Far North’s workshops will be held within the next several months in Kerikeri, Kaikoke and Kaitaia. Kaipara will follow early next year.

Those interested in attending any of the Northland workshops are invited to contact Kim Abbott on (0800) 002 004 or email her on kimab@nrc.govt.nz for more information or to pre-register.


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