PROPERTY owners in Yorkshire have been urged to ensure they are protected in the event of a major incident such as the recent riots.
Sarah Hodgson, associate director with property agency DTZ in West Yorkshire, said planning for the unexpected was essential.
She said: “The physical – and therefore financial – impact on property and businesses as a result of the civil unrest in London and other UK cities has been widely broadcast on news channels, newspapers and across the internet.
“The damage has prompted some searching questions from a property perspective that carry resonance for all property owners.
“How do you plan effectively for the unexpected and what should your priorities be when faced with a major incident such as a riot?”
She said: “A major incident could be anything from a gas main explosion, a bomb threat, a transport network failure, a fire, a fuel spillage or it could even be an outbreak of a contagious disease that temporarily debilitates a workforce.
“Where property is concerned, these incidents fall into two groups – the direct physical and non-directly physical threat to property.
“For the directly physical threat, you need to consider preparing a major incident plan, which may either be stand alone or linked to the non-directly physical business disaster recovery plan.
“The major incident plan will affect both investors and occupiers. Planning for the unexpected is all about forethought, considering what may potentially happen and then thinking how you can best overcome or work around the eventualities to minimise or eliminate the impact.”
Said Ms Hodgson: “The major incident plan defines an individual’s role, how they co-ordinate with others and provides a single point of reference in case of any doubt. You might know what to do, but does your assistant when you are on holiday? What role will security play? Does the replacement security guard know? How will you communicate with other occupiers?
“Creating a major incident plan may seem like a time-consuming activity, but the fact of the matter is that being impacted by a major incident may very well be extremely costly. Worse, that cost will not be planned for and may occur at any time.
“Each property and each business will pose unique challenges, so seeking advice and assistance from a third party expert to either prepare or help guide you through the process can help you plan effectively.
“In context, the relatively minor cost of seeking professional input may be an excellent way of mitigating a much bigger bill.”
Ms Hodgson said insurance was a prudent step for any asset, but added: “The issue is not your insured liabilities, but fulfilling your underlying duty of care, mitigation of any interruption to ‘business as usual’ and protection of your asset and your brand by taking positive steps that have been well thought through and practiced.”