While we have no specific threat to us, and we hope this will never happen… it’s always good to be prepared in case it does. Please make sure that you’re familiar with what to do in case of a major incident that affects your building. We should all already be aware of what to do in case of a fire, but with events earlier this year in both Manchester and London still fresh in our minds, it’s good to make sure you know what to do in case of other types of major incident.
Stores and funeral homes
Ultimately, the decision on what action to take in case of an emergency rests with the person running the site at the time. Colleagues are encouraged to do what matters most in the event of an emergency – whether that is phoning the emergency services, shutting the site or barricading colleagues and customers in to keep safe. Safety is our number one priority and colleagues have the freedom to act appropriately.
Major occupancy buildings – offices and depots
Each site should have its own plan and they will differ by location. In line with advice from emergency services and government agencies, we think there are three responses to a major incident which could affect our buildings.
Please make sure you familiarise yourself with these scenarios so that in the unlikely event of us having to put them into practice, you are prepared to follow the instructions – all of which are designed with your safety, and that of others, in mind.
We’d use this if we needed to evacuate the building (other than for fire) as quickly and safely as possible. We may give specific instructions on where to go to or which exits to use. This could be because of an outside threat in a particular direction (for example if we discovered a suspicious package outside the building – we’d want everyone to head away from that direction and not just evacuate via all exits).
Probably the most extreme example that we can think of would be where our security is breached and we have a problem inside the building. The advice is to hide and not get out as you may inadvertently put yourself in harm’s way. Meeting rooms, under tables, inside cupboards are all potentially safer spots to wait in – and the need to turn your phone to silent is important so you don’t give your position away as you receive updates on the situation.
In both of these instances, colleagues may also phone the emergency services to make sure they know of the incident. Even if the services receive many calls about the same incident, it will help them understand the severity of it and everyone could be adding more to the picture of what is happening. Our security and facilities colleagues will also make contact with the emergency services as soon as they know about the incident.
This is where we’d ask you to stay put in the area of the building you’re in and continue to work as normal. This is what we implemented in 1AS a few months ago when we found suspicious powder in a package and when Andale House was ‘invacuated’ following the Manchester bombing. The restriction on movement just helps us keep any problem isolated and easier for the emergency services to deal with.
It’s worth watching this hard-hitting Police video on their advice on how to act in case of an emergency – in this instance, a gunman entering the building. It focuses on RUN, HIDE and TELL which covers our first two instances above. Our third action, STAY, is a different instance which we also want to be prepared for in our sites.
[We know videos are blocked in store – search ‘run hide tell’ on YouTube on your own device or see the full information on the National Police Chiefs’ Council website]
As I say, we hope that we never have to use these measures – and rest assured, there is no specific threat to us that we’re reacting to – it’s just a case of us being sensibly prepared. And in all cases, if you were to receive any instructions from a member of the emergency or security services, then their advice will always supersede anything else at the time.
I’d suggest that you have a discussion as a team to make sure everyone understands this advice and these actions, and if you have any queries, then please talk with your business continuity coordinator [link opens to contact details on our intranet] first.
Chief Risk Officer