Hurricane Matthew put the entire East Coast on high alert this month and reminded everyone there is no time like the present to make sure you are well prepared for mother nature. When it comes to the safety and well being of your family it’s important to be prepared no matter what.
Here are the appropriate steps you & your family can take leading up to any natural disaster that is known to be coming:
The Week Leading Up To The Storm
- Notify all employees for the potential of severe weather and ensure employees have your business’ designated emergency telephone numbers and key contact information.
- If you are in an office building check the surrounding area for loose debris, which may become a hazard in high winds. Make sure to remove any debris within 72 hours of the projected timeline in case the storm is ahead of schedule.
- Provide a list of safety preparation & needed supplies to help your employees prepare their homes and families. A simple Google search can provide excellent suggestions based on your geographical area and specific needs.
2-3 Days Before Storm Conditions Occur
- If not completed already, remove or secure all loose debris, including any landscaping items that may become wind-borne debris.
- Clear roof drains, gutters and downspouts of debris, to prevent water back-up.
- If you have an emergency generator, make sure everything is running properly and that you have sufficient fuel supplies. Make sure to anticipate needs for post-storm deliveries.
- Ensure fire alarms, carbon monoxide detectors and fire protection systems are in proper working order.
- Notify key customers, suppliers, and partners of office/facility closing and contingency plans.
- Have a written plan about when to excuse employees so that they have sufficient time to prepare their homes and families, and notify employees of office closure details.
- Make any necessary alternative arrangements for employees that travel or are on the road.
- Update your website, email signatures & telephone recordings to reflect closing and contingency plans.
1-2 Days Before Storm Conditions
- Double check to make sure all employees have your business’ designated emergency telephone numbers and key contact information.
- For hurricanes and other high wind events, install window protection; if window protection is unavailable, close all window blinds, and cover office equipment with plastic sheets or tarps.
- If your office has a refrigerator – place a frozen cup of water with a quarter on top to check for power outages.The purpose of this trick is if the power temporarily goes out the ice will melt dropping the quarter in the cup. If you come back to find the water still frozen but the quarter at the bottom of the cup you should check food for spoilage.
- If you expect your building to be exposed to flooding or storm surge, seal all water entry points such as utility penetrations into the building and install flood protection including first-floor drain plugs.
- Advise employees to check the status of your office/facility at least twice per day.
- Disconnect all electrical equipment and unplug from power source.
- Close and lock all office doors, especially perimeter offices.
- Place a “Closed” notice on office/facility main entrance.
During & Immediately After The Storm
- Update company website with postings on the status of your operations.
- Activate the company telephone call list process, in order to contact all employees regarding the status of your office/facility.
- Designate times for key staff members to call into conference calls for situation overviews.
- Designated personnel should return to the facility, assess conditions, document damages, and notify the emergency operations teams of their findings.
- When it is deemed safe, designated personnel should begin start-up procedures.
- When all safety and operational concerns are addressed and an “All Clear” is provided, employees can return to work.
- Take an overall inventory, including photos of all damaged property, and report damage and related expenses to your insurance company.
- Employees returning to the building should be instructed to examine their work area, test all office equipment and report findings back to the designated staff contact.
- Notify key customers, suppliers, and partners of office/facility re-opening and any necessary property or operational changes resulting from storm damage.