On Friday 13th March, I delivered some fire marshal training to one of my clients. We all knew there was a virus attacking other parts of the world, but here in Britain, life generally continued. Looking back, it reminds me of H G Wells, in The War of the Worlds. "For the most part", he wrote, "the daily routine of working, eating, drinking, sleeping, went on as it had done for countless years."
Within ten days, the dramatic halt of everyday life had taken place. Events cancelled, sport stopped, and extremely strict but vital measures on movement and socialising with those we love halted. Social distancing, social isolation, and stay at home policies were put, and remain, in place.
The Silent Spring I recently referred to has arrived.
Never for 100 years in peacetime has the health and safety of every man, woman and child been so important. And all because of the microscopic tiniest of viruses.
Government, people and businesses everywhere have had to adapt. There have been huge upheaval and changes to everyone's life, livelihoods and lifestyle.
In the end, it will be impossible to know if we have over-reacted or did too much, but it will be quite apparent if we under-reacted or did too little.
What I do know, is that for the past 21 years, I have worked tirelessly to try to ensure the health and safety of people. Personally I think we are doing the right thing. It seems finally, for many, the importance of health and safety has come to the fore.
People on calls, video conferencing, talking from a distance are now ending the conversations with two words "Stay Safe". And that we must. And the vast majority of us are.
Yet I see on the TV that people are still having barbecues, assembling in the street, crowding onto Tube trains, and so forth. It is vitally important that we follow Government direction. Protect our vulnerable - we are ALL vulnerable to this virus - Stay Home!
I saw on social media a quote from Samuel Pepys diary, during the plague of 1664. How relevant it still is.
"On hearing ill rumour that Londoners may soon be urged into their lodgings by His Majesty's men, I looked upon the street to see a gaggle of striplings making fair merry, and no doubt spreading the plague well about. Not a care had these rogues for the health of their elders."
Don't be part of that gaggle of striplings. Play your part in saving lives. We all must act together by remaining apart.
KSH Safety Services continues to offer its services to businesses across the north west. The only difference is how it is done. Classroom training is done via Zoom call, but is no different other than that. Our e-learning courses continue to be utilised - and this is a great time to do them, whilst at home. Consultancy work can on the whole be done remotely. Only if it is vital to see a process can this not currently be done. We have also set up a Coronavirus resource page, with useful official links, resources and guidance.
The world has been paralysed. The world has changed. Businesses and people adapt. Life goes on, differently.
Thank you to all the key workers in the NHS, the emergency services, teachers, care workers, food manufacturers, supermarkets and corner shops, delivery drivers, and those in warehouses loading those delivery vehicles, and all others keeping the country going in our time of need.
And thank you too to the hundred of thousands of volunteers helping look out for the vulnerable, helping keep the NHS going, and being true heroes.
Stay strong. Protect our key workers. Save lives.
And above all, Stay Safe.