17:00 – Thursday 2nd April 2015
As we head in to the bank holiday weekend the emergency services are still working hard to extinguish the gas fire on Kingsway. Indeed National Grid are advising that gas supplies to the surrounding area may need to be turned off – see Camden Council statement below…
“Emergency services continue to attend the ongoing serious incident around Kingsway and we are working hard to ensure the safety and security of residents and businesses.
We understand from National Grid that it may be necessary to turn off the gas supply to some properties and they are communicating with their customers about this.
Unfortunately National Grid are unable to confirm at the moment how many residents and businesses will be affected. Once we know what is needed we will provide the appropriate support to residents and businesses.”
Our crisis management team have had a busy day advising local businesses on the tactical steps they should consider to minimise the negative financial impact of a prolonged outage. We will continue to monitor the situation throughout the weekend and remain available to support anyone that needs us. We will also update this blog if any new information or insight becomes available.
10:30 – Thursday 2nd April 2015
Latest Statement from UK Power Networks
“A major gas fire in an underground tunnel is still burning so we cannot yet access our equipment. Our engineers have restored power to 2000 customers and the remaining 1100 will regain power through generators and cable works as soon as possible. We had over a hundred staff working through the night and work continues today. We are working with the emergency services and other agencies to keep affected customers updated. The cause of the incident is being investigated.”
21 Hours have passed since the outbreak of the Holborn fire and the Fire Brigade are still on scene to ensure the fire is completely extinguished. Only when the Fire Brigade are satisfied about safety will the utilities companies be able to assess damage and begin repairs. Utilities potentially affected by the fire include: Electricity, Fibre Optic Data, Telephone, Gas and Water
Call your insurer or broker asap to inform them that your business has been impacted by the Fire. Potentially you may be eligible to claim for loss of revenue or increased cost of working as a result of the damage to Public Utilities and Denial of Access. Failure to inform your insurer immediately and take steps to minimise losses may breach your terms of insurance.
Practical Steps to Consider
- Source Temporary Office Space – fully furnished office space is still available (although supply is limited) and some providers will allow you to sign a rolling weekly rental agreement. We can source this space for you if required.
- Implement Home Working – consider what changes will need to be made to normal work practices to support a prolonged period of home working (phone call routing, group communication/meetings etc)
- Divert Telephones – speak to your telephony provider about a telephone diversion strategy, or perhaps appoint a call bureau to field calls and distribute to mobiles or home phones
- IT Systems – identify critical systems that are unavailable and develop a workaround to bring them back online
- Customer Communications – keep in regular contact with customers and other stakeholders, try to deliver positive messages about the steps you are taking to get back on track.
Thankfully we are just about to commence a 4 day bank holiday weekend so office demand over the next few days will be reduced. Our advice to businesses affected is to spend some time planning for the impact of disruption for the coming 3-4 weeks. If you plan for the worst then you either have it covered or can be pleasantly surprised when the disruption actually turns out to be less serious than expected.
Our team are highly experienced in recovering businesses from interruption so please contact us if you need any help or would just like to discuss your options.
19:30 – Wednesday 1st April 2015
It is still too early to assess the full impact of today’s fire in the Holborn area, although we can be fairly certain that the impact to local businesses is likely to be significant. The closest direct comparison we can draw is the Manchester cable duct fire in April 2004. In this case disruption to normal business operations was measured in weeks.
We do know at this early stage that in the case of Holborn the fire has affected power supplies and is also likely to have seriously affected telephone and data communications.
Hopefully many of the affected firms in the area will be able to invoke their Business Continuity plan to minimise disruption.
If you are impacted by the fire in any way and need expert assistance with sourcing temporary office space, IT hardware or any other service please do not hesitate to contact us via our web form and we will call you back.
This post will be updated as the situation unfolds and more detail is known.