Friday 18 August 2017 08:54:08 PM

Business Representatives Join Project Argus in New Civic Centre
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DEATH? Disaster? Famine? Earthquakes? Tsunamis?

Local government authorities now have a growing responsibility to cope with large scale public emergencies with the help of the national initiative Project Argus.

Local business representatives with Council staff, and members of the PSNI, NIAS and NIFRS pictured at the Downshire Civic Centre after their session of emergency planning.

And now the public in Down District can be reassured that its local council is now prepared to face the rigours of a full scale emergency.

Down District Council, like all local councils, has to be prepared for the eventuality of any major incident such as a plane crash, a serious flood, or a public health crisis.

The Council has continued to develop its capacity to respond to emergency situations and on Wednesday (28 November) a further step was taken when Project Argus arrived at the new Downshire Civic Centre. The Council was joined by the PSNI who hosted the national initiative.

Council employees together with Ballynahinch, Downpatrick and Newcastle Chambers of Commerce along with representatives from other local businesses attended the morning exercise.

Marie Ward, Down District Council’s Group Chief Building Control Officer, said: “Project Argus is a great informative session which was delivered in an innovative way, which really kept your interest.  Delegates came away with some really helpful information about what to expect and what we all need to do, in the event of any emergency situation.

“The event made very effective use of audio visual simulation of an emergency incident and explored how businesses can protect themselves and their customers. In the event of an incident, they learned how to care for people when the emergency services are severely overstretched.  It has stimulated our local businesses to take another look at their recovery plans.”

The Project Argus gets under way at the Downshire Civic Centre.

This multi-agency event was also facilitated by the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service, Northern Ireland Ambulance Service and Mr Harry Whan, Eastern Group Emergency Planning Co-ordinator

Business Continuity planning is just as important for small companies as for public authorities. Nearly 1 in 5 businesses suffer a major disruption every year and getting back quickly to ‘business as usual’ after a major incident depends on how effectively the Business Continuity Plan can be put into action.

Project Argus highlighted the importance of  having the necessary plans in place to help to safeguard  staff and customers as well as safeguarding your physical assets and reputation.