By Dave Gorham
Emergency weather planning is important for business. No matter how tight of a ship you run, Mother Nature remains unpredictable and one never knows when a disaster may hit.
That’s why savvy, forward-thinking executives create risk management and business continuity plans to ensure businesses continue operating in the event of an emergency. Without these protocols, chaos could ensue and the business may shut down for good.
We’re constantly protecting business processes during emergencies. But supporting employees during these occurrences may be the most important business continuity decision we make.
As tragic as a lost home is to a family, a lost support system to a community is more so. Even those who are unaffected are unable to assist those friends, neighbors, family members and co-workers who are in tremendous need.
This makes it even more imperative for members of a community to embrace a culture of preparedness, yet so few do. Businesses large and small rely on their employees to run them. But without a level of preparedness at home, the survivability of these businesses will be tested in the wake of a disaster.
Here are some basic steps management can adopt to help employees help themselves and help the company:
A centralized list of current employee contact information is vital for communications. Apps like GroupMe and even Twitter also allow for mass messaging in emergency situations. (Keep in mind that some apps, like Twitter, are public, and that may not be appropriate for your business.) Always make sure multiple key employees know how to initiate disaster preparedness protocols to keep critical systems and staff running, no matter the time of day.
During emergency situations, texting is typically easier and faster than calling, as phone lines can be jammed and text data travels more easily than voice data. And most cell phones have texting abilities, not just the expensive smartphones. Be sure employees (and their family members) are well-versed in the texting capabilities of their phones.
Facility managers should understand the repercussions of all decisions being made regarding work schedules, production timelines, overtime, HR capabilities and more. The ability to split time between work and home needs to be considered, discussed and — if possible — encouraged.
The ability for employees to continue to be paid and seek ongoing medical attention needs to be absolute. Communicate regularly, and be fully transparent with everyone on the team. Help employees understand the risks, and provide support for their families and homes because they’re experiencing the disaster alongside everyone else.
Always be sure you’re basing decisions on solid information and don’t be afraid to get advice from experts. Obviously, there's no need to shut down operations or enact emergency procedures unless there’s an actual emergency. However, when one hits, you’ll be glad procedures and support systems are already in place and that everyone’s trained on how to react before, during, and after the emergency. Properly prepared, you'll have confidence the decisions you make are the right ones.
Image credit: Pixabay
StormGeo senior meteorologist Dave Gorham is a former U.S. Air Force meteorologist with expertise in aviation meteorology and severe weather. Dave is one of the few servicemen to directly support both Air Force One and Marine One, stationed at Andrews Air Force Base and Camp David, respectively. After the Air Force, Dave worked as an on-camera meteorologist for an NBC affiliate in North Texas and as an on-air meteorologist at Houston’s KUHF-FM radio station before returning to his aviation roots with Universal Weather and Aviation.