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As promised I will speak about the activities you carry out after an incident such as a fire. I tried to sneak in a bulletin about sabotage this week but have been firmly told that it has to be about the activities after the fire has been put out!

Firstly after an incident you need to think who will remain at the scene of the incident, as it is likely that those who work on site will either have been sent home or have moved on to their alternative work location to continue their business activities. I believe that the role of the person who remains should be written into your plans, and it should be someone from the property or facilities management department rather than a senior manager from the departments who work in the building.

The first task is to secure the site. I have been told that after the 1996 Manchester bombing of the Arndale Shopping Centre by the IRA there were looters in the damaged buildings within 40 minutes. Once the site is secure (this is not a job which the police will do) then you should look at salvage and cleaning the building. If the building is completely destroyed then there may be little to salvage but in many cases there are items in the building which can be saved. If the damage is slight and there is soot, fire and water damage then specialist cleaners should be used to clean up the building. A good specialist cleaner will be able to make the building habitable very quickly which will allow you to get staff back into the building and back working. I believe all business continuity managers should be aware of specialist cleaners and salvage companies who can come and clean up after an incident. If you make contact with them prior to an incident you can understand their capabilities and often they will advise in advance how you can make the clean up quicker. In speaking to clean up companies it is amazing what they can clean up, and it is often cheaper to get them to clean items such as PCs than it is to buy new ones. If you have specialist equipment within the building you should be aware of how to salvage them which may be a better recovery strategy of trying to find or purchase a new one.

Finally, if you have lots of important documents within the building you should speak to a document recovery specialist and understand their capabilities. If you are looking at a document recovery specialist you may want to talk to Document SOS who have over 20 years experience of recovering and restoring documents after floods, fires, bombs and sewage!!

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