October 5, 2022 Posted by Pocketstop in Crisis Communications, Business Continuity Social Share
An emergency preparedness plan specifically for severe weather and events is critical to business continuity and safety. Climate-related disasters jumped 83 percent in the past 20 years according to a study done at Yale University. Major floods have more than doubled, the number of severe storms has risen 40 percent, and there have been rises in droughts, wildfires, and heatwaves. As these events increase, it is more important than ever that businesses are prepared to protect their employees, customers, and communities.
When creating your emergency preparedness plan for severe weather for your business and staff:
- Be proactive. Put your plan together and in place in advance. Think of every possibility of severe weather in your area, and how it may affect your staff and business. Consider that different scenarios may require different action plans.
- Get your people involved. Making sure your staff is informed is only part of the strategy. Make sure they are a part of the planning and execution of your emergency preparedness plan. Hold discussions and welcome input. Be open to criticism. Be sure that your staff can tell the difference between a weather watch and a weather warning.
- Develop an escape and/or shelter plan. First, draw an overhead floor plan of your property. Then determine at least two escape routes for each room and area. Make sure all of your staff is aware of how to open windows and even screens. Determine shelter areas that you will need in the event of a tornado (example: under the stairs or in the basement; perhaps in a centralized room with protection).
- Know who to call in an emergency. Make sure you connect — in advance — with your local fire and police departments, as well as your nearest emergency management agency. Make prior arrangements for help during any evacuations. The time you save here may ultimately save lives or minimize injury or damage.
- Practice! Drill! Your emergency preparedness plan may be foolproof, but unless it’s practiced and drilled on a regular basis, it may fail you in the heat of the moment. As you do this, identify any weak links or loopholes in your plan. Be on the lookout for anyone on your staff who may not be totally grasping directions or options. Practice makes perfect.
- Stock up. Collect and store well-stocked disaster supply kits. Make sure you have the equipment and supplies that will be useful in any and all types of weather-related emergencies. You can purchase commercially available disaster kits at a discount from a military surplus store or a hardware store.
Accomplished properly, planning provides a methodical way to engage the whole community in thinking through the lifecycle of a potential crisis, determining required capabilities and establishing a framework for roles and responsibilities. It shapes how a community envisions and shares a desired outcome, selects effective ways to achieve it and communicates expected results.
A shared planning community increases the likelihood of integration and synchronization, makes planning cycles more efficient and effective and makes plan maintenance easier.
Invest in an efficient, state-of-the-art emergency communications system
An emergency communications system like the kind we offer at RedFlag offers a solid strategy toward minimizing damage and danger in a crisis. Use it to make sure your staff can receive the most urgent communications and authentic information in real time.
How your staff will receive this information:
- SMS texts
- Phone calls
- Social media
- Other platforms like Microsoft Teams
How RedFlag can specifically help your emergency preparedness plan for severe weather
When the weather turns severe, consider the features and benefits of a RedFlag mass notification system:
- One user-friendly platform. Simple to navigate and powerful enough to reach everyone. Send your message in mere seconds, and have it received in real time.
- Integrate with your existing computer system seamlessly. Integration is possible with both your business hardware and software – RedFlag will work with your system, not intrude upon it.
- Multichannel usage. One message goes to every platform where your staff will most likely see it and benefit from it: texts, email, voicemail, desktop alerts, Microsoft Teams alerts, and more.
- Two-way communication. This could be the most important feature of all. With two-way communication, your staff should be able to not only receive the message but also be able to respond to it. This gives the both of you peace of mind, letting you know if they are okay or if they need help.
- Accountability. In the end, after the event, you will have a detailed account of the communication you’ve conducted with your staff for the duration of the emergency. First and foremost, you will know your staff is safe and accounted for, but you can also use this information if a legal proceeding occurs in the near future. This data shows that you were in front of the problem as best as you could have been and that you have done everything within your power to make things right.
- Specific customization. Messages are good, but they won’t mean anything unless your staff knows that they are actually, authentically coming from you. Use a company logo or a “secret word,” to help your staff easily recognize you and your message. You can send these messages to a very specific recipient list, even you only need to contact just one person. At the same time, be sure that the very people you need to contact will see the message — no wasted communications, no confusing mixups.
- Plan ahead. Compose your message in advance, long before any emergency happens. The last thing you will want to do is create the message and the recipient list in the middle of any chaos or panic. You’ll always be able to edit the message and the recipient list in real time, if you need to. You can embellish or edit the message when needed, but at least the basic communication will already be there, saving you extra time and trouble.
Reporting and analytics capabilities. This data can serve as your documentation of the emergency event. If you are called into court, it could possibly prove that you have taken the proper steps to help and rescue your staff, and it shows that you are transparent in your procedures. Your system will show you who had received and opened the message, and that they had chosen in advance to receive your message on a certain platform (for instance, email or text).
Security. Know that your data and messages are secure, and will not be knocked offline or hacked. Ultimately, this is all about your personal and business information, and you need this data to be secure. Your communications will only go to the right people — the people you have granted access beforehand. Permissions will be required, to add to your security.
Geo-targeting capabilities. When an emergency happens, you may be nowhere near the scene. That should not matter. You can protect your staff from afar. Guide your staff to a safer place, map the emergency location and “group” the people who most need to be addressed and helped.
Sooner or later, severe weather happens to everyone. An emergency preparedness plan will help you work through the crisis with a minimum of panic and confusion, and put you in front of the event. Remember to include a mass notification system like RedFlag, which can keep your staff informed and one-step-ahead during every phrase of the emergency.
Read more about how RedFlag can help you strengthen your emergency preparedness plan for severe weather. Click here.
Ready.gov explores further how to make a plan in order to prepare for severe weather. Click here.
The American Red Cross shows you how to create your severe weather preparedness plan in just three steps. Click here.
Of course, your family is as important as your business. Learn about a family preparedness plan for severe weather from Habitat.org. Click here.