Fire in head office multinational

At a multinational, which has its European head office in the Netherlands and employs 150 staff, a fire breaks out during the night at one of the work stations (desk with computer and telephone). The fire rages on the second floor but fortunately it doesn’t take long before it’s noticed. The fire brigade is called out and, amongst other things, uses an aerial platform to fight the fire.

The extent of the damage only becomes clear at daybreak. Smoke has made the upper floors unusable because the air-conditioning units have become blocked with soot particles. Hazardous substances have also been released in the premises. The extinguishing water has made the lower floors unusable. Specialist companies have been brought in to remove the extinguishing water and to erect fences, and a security company has also been engaged to protect the premises. The high temperatures have melted furniture into the floor and in some places the concrete has cracked. All of the cabling has been affected, and as a precautionary measure the power has been isolated from the building. Shoring has to be erected before the premises can be entered. It is two days before a structural engineer is able to inspect the foundations and structure for the first time and the outcome is it will take at least six months before the premises can be used again.

The Crisis Management Team (CMT) is the first to appear at the COIN recovery location, where decisions about press releases, notifying the European branch offices and the company headquarters in the USA are made. The CEO arrives from the USA to address the management and the staff. The organisation is able to recover at COIN, where it can continue its activities for several months. The telephone is rerouted and the workstations are fully configured so that this multinational is operational again. Clients can be spoken to, orders delivered and within a week it’s business as usual for this multinational.