Spring flooding: an important focus during Business Continuity Week

It’s Business Continuity Week

This week – March 18 to 22 – is Business Continuity Awareness Week. It is dedicated to recognizing the work of business continuity teams and raising worldwide awareness of the critical need for best practices in this area.



When I scan the headlines to see what’s new in the world, I am always on the lookout for bad news. This is because business continuity planning and emergency preparedness are my areas of expertise. As a member of the Business Continuity team at TELUS, I work to ensure that our company and our team members are prepared to deal as efficiently and effectively as possible in the face of any natural or human caused emergency so that our customers continue to be served, So, when I read about a new SARS-like epidemic, Southern California’s March 11 earthquake, and the inquiry into the Elliot Lake mall collapse, I look for lessons that can be learned and possibly applied at TELUS.

At TELUS, business continuity is a critical and well established part of how we do business. Right now, the team is monitoring the spring flooding situation in New Brunswick, Ontario, Quebec and southern Saskatchewan. TELUS has flood preparedness plans and controls (such as flood control tubes, pumps, sandbags) always in place to protect team members, buildings and equipment. As part of our ongoing business continuity program, we continuously update our processes and plans to ensure we can respond as quickly and proactively as possible in the communities in which we live and serve our customers.

Precautionary steps are taken every year by teams such as Customer Solutions Delivery, Network Assurance and Real Estate to deal with flooding. In partnership with provincial and federal authorities, as well as other teams across TELUS, we maintain detailed plans to protect our customers, team members and network infrastructure in the event of a disaster.

What you can do at home

Communication with family and emergency services could prove crucial if flooding occurs. Here are several simple steps to help stay in touch:

•           Keep a wired phone in your home or emergency kit. TELUS back-up power generators and battery banks automatically kick in to power the phone system during a power outage.  However, cordless phones require commercial power to operate, so it is a good idea to keep one corded phone around for use during power outages.

•           Keep a spare mobile phone battery charged and accessible. Should a flood force you from your home or knock out landline phone service, you will be thankful for a fully charged phone.

•           Moderate your phone use during a significant natural disaster. When emergencies strike, people have a natural desire to phone everyone they know to check in. This volume of calls can overwhelm the phone network, making it difficult for emergency calls to get through.

To reduce the likelihood of flood damage, follow these tips, courtesy of Public Safety Canada, at home:

  • Put weather protection sealant around basement windows and the base of ground-level doors.
  • Install the drainage for downspouts a sufficient distance from your residence to ensure that water moves away from the building.
  • Consider installing a sump pump and zero reverse flow valves in basement floor drains.
  • Remove debris from eaves troughs and other areas that can affect drainage.

Read more at getprepared.ca.

John Yamniuk, TELUS Risk Management