PlanB Consulting

Smog In The City, A Travel Threat

This week’s news seems to be dominated worldwide by the ongoing protests in Turkey and Brazil. As we have discussed riots in the past, I thought this week we would talk about the smog in Singapore, which was brought to my attention whilst I was browsing round the BBC news website. The smog, caused by slash and burn in nearby Indonesia, has resulted in smog covering the whole of Singapore. Schools have had to close and people with respiratory health issues have been affected badly.

Chinese cities have been affected and are affected by similar smog caused by pollution. First of all, I think the possibility of bad pollution in our cities has to be added to the growing list of threats, we as business continuity people should think of, and we should think through the consequences of this happening in our locations.

  1. The smog has caused a number of schools to close. School closure for me, is always a business continuity issue as it can cause a number of  employees being unavailable for work. This can have a large impact on organisations, which employ a large number of female workers, as it’s often women who are expected to go home to look after  children. Many parents and carers are able to use friends and family to cover their childcare responsibilities for a few days but after a while they run out of favours, resulting in having to take time off. So, one of the factors you should take into account within your business continuity plans is the effect of the closure of schools.
  2. Are you aware of  the health of your staff and whether you have staff members with health issues? Finding out this information may not always be easy to do but, the more you understand about the people working in your organization, the better you can plan for incidents and the better you can understand the impact of events on your organisation as they occur.
  3. We have talked about horizon scanning before but is there someone who is scanning the news to identify potential threats to your staff travelling. You may regularly scan high-risk countries but do you regularly scan counties, which are normally considered “safe”. Singapore is a very low crime country and the terrorist threat is very low so may not be considered for a threat assessment. Low risk countries should be scanned as well as the higher risk countries so that a risk assessment can be made of the risk to your staff travelling to the country.
  4. Singapore is also a air and sea hub so it may been worth looking if the smog may have an impact on your supply chain and disrupt the supply of goods to your organisation or it may disrupt travel.

Holiday season is almost upon us so I hope all readers have a good holiday when it comes!

About Charlie Maclean-Bristol

Charlie Maclean-Bristol is one of the Founders and Directors of PlanB Consulting. He is also the Training Director of Business Continuity Training Ltd., a UK-based training provider accredited by the Business Continuity Institute. Charlie is a former Business Continuity Institute board member and one of the very few Fellows of both the Emergency Planning Society and the Business Continuity Institute.

A former Infantry Captain in the British Army, Charlie held several emergency planning, business continuity and crisis management positions within the energy and utility industry before founding PlanB Consulting in 2007. Over the past twelve years, Charlie has delivered business continuity consultancy in 6 of the worlds 7 continents, frequently providing full business continuity roll-outs to organisations of all sizes and in all sectors.

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