Museum HR staff stand firm against terrorists

When a bomb exploded on a London bus at 9.47am in Tavistock Square on 7 July 2005, staff at the British Museum had no time to ponder the unfolding horror, but reacted in the way they had been trained to.

Because of the high-profile of the museum, management have always assumed it could be a terrorist target and staff undertake a lot of emergency planning.

Martin Moore, HR director, was working off-site at the time and delegated responsibility to his number two, David Wraight.

With the explosion less than half a mile away, staff and visitors were held inside the museum and followed advice from the police and other authorities. The whole building was also swept for any suspicious bags or objects.

The museum then shut several hours early at 4pm to allow staff extra time to get home.

Moore said: “The bomb that exploded in Tavistock Square was uncomfortably close by, and was heard by everybody. HR’s role on Thursday was to ensure that we got information out as fast as we could to our staff about what was going on and to help liaise with the emergency services.

“Our role on Friday was to help make things as ‘normal’ as possible for our visitors, and to make it clear to our staff that it’s quite normal to feel upset and emotional about what has happened.”

None of the museum’s staff were killed or injured, although two employees had to be brought up from the London Underground after the explosions, Moore said.

For practical advice on dealing with trauma after a terror attack go to www.personneltoday.com/30688.article

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