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Thinking inside the box

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How to Prepare a Recovery Plan

In our last blog we looked at what steps can be taken to preserve and save files in cases of dire emergency such as a flood, fire or even a robbery or vandalism.  As we write the Met Office has issued two warnings of named storms about to hit our shores in the South West bringing high winds (with the possibility of broken power lines), threat of floods and who knows what else!

However it is not all doom and gloom. Anyone in charge of the company archive or records office including all those irreplaceable documents that need keeping for accounting, legal or HR purposes can prepare in advance to protect against disasters, in particular by assessing the risks. Make sure you take such immediate remedial action as may be appropriate, without waiting for disaster to strike.

With a great deal of guidance from the National Archive we hope the following tips will help:

Carry out an assessment of the most likely risks, and draw up a provisional plan to assist recovery after disaster. The plan should take account of the worst possible case, including the exclusion or absence of the records officer or custodian from the site by police or security authorities following the disaster.

Get to know the premises well, including the location of switches, valves and stopcocks for the mains utilities.

Store off site: a duplicate set of catalogues/finding aids; security back-up copies of any computerised data, and copies of any documentation of the computer system itself; a spare set of keys and (if appropriate) a sketch plan of the premises.

Draw up a list of addresses and telephone numbers of people who may need to be contacted for help in an emergency, and keep copies handy both on site and off site.

The list might include any available colleagues and, among local contacts: police station – fire station – caretaker/ managing agent of the premises – plumbers – locksmiths – glaziers – nearest record office – freezing contractor (with whom a standing arrangement should be made) – computer consultant or firm specialising in the recovery of computers from disaster insurers.

Draw up an order of priorities in which the documents should be rescued/treated in the event of an emergency. Also be sure to study the published manuals for guidance on supplies and equipment for use in an emergency.

If all of the above seems like a huge amount of hassle, not to mention staff resource and financial outlay, Filofile offers a free audit to businesses and organisations who may like to look at better ways to handle their document storage and management. Contact us today to see how we can help.

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