A perfect storm

King Edward’s Witley tests Disaster Recovery Plan using a virtual snowstorm

It was an early start on the morning of 26 November, for the senior management teams of both the School and its caterers, Holroyd Howe, when, without warning, a virtual snow storm hit King Edward’s as a test of the school’s Disaster Recovery Plan.

The scenario implemented was of heavy snow falling from 6 am, making catering deliveries and staff access impossible by 7.30 am. Following a normal breakfast service for the 275 boarders and day pupils who arrive early, the emergency planning considered stock, menus, staffing and accommodation. In accordance with the Disaster Recovery Plan, the school’s Response Team met to consider the information provided by the caterers, looking at the wider issues likely to arise in such a scenario, including contingency arrangements for the exeat weekend. 

During the course of the morning, Helene Wood, the Catering Duty Manager, faced the additional challenges of an assumed loss to the kitchens firstly of electricity for half an hour during the lunch production and then of their main water supply. Against this backdrop, 525 lunches were successfully served with minimal impact on the school’s pupils and staff, albeit with a revised menu.

The virtual storm ended at 2pm. Helene commented: “After the initial shock, and having been briefed, I responded to each aspect of the challenge and was impressed with how our staff worked together and supported each other so well. It was a tremendous team effort. We really did learn from the exercise and, at least afterwards, I can say I thoroughly enjoyed it!”



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