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Less than 10% of businesses prepared for epidemic

MEDIA RELEASE : 4pm, Tuesday 25th October 2005


Less than 10% of businesses prepared for bird flu epidemic

A survey of businesses attending an emergency management event in Tauranga has revealed that less than 10% have any form of plan for operating during a possible bird flu outbreak.

The survey conducted by the Sustainable Business Network asked businesses whether they had plans for how to operate during a bird flu outbreak, a flood or any other form of emergency that might disrupt normal business activities. While 25% had learned lessons from the May 18 flood in Tauranga and indicated that they would do things differently, only 10% had formalized an emergency management plan.

Regional manager for the Sustainable Business Network, Calum Revfem says that the survey highlights a lack of planning by most small and medium sized businesses. “The recent flood events and media coverage of the bird flu does not seem to have motivated businesses to develop a basic emergency plan. This has the potential to translate into some serious economic impacts if the lack of planning is not addressed.” A recent BNZ economic review stated that a bird flu outbreak could force businesses to cope with 30% revenue shocks and staff no-show rates as high as 50%.

The emergency management forum is going to use Western Bay businesses’ response to the May 18 flood event as a guide for operating during a possible bird flu outbreak. Topics at the forum include emergency preparation, relocating business activities and operating a business with depleted staffing - as was experienced during the flood event and would be the case during a flu epidemic.

The public event is being held at Tauranga’s Historic Village at 4pm on Thursday October 27th. There will be presentations from Tauranga City Council and IAG Insurance (NZI and State Insurance). There will be focused group discussions and an opportunity for businesses to ask questions.

ENDS.

For event information go to www.sustainable.org.nz/bayofplenty

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