Severe weather can strike unexpectedly no matter where you are. As a manager, you will want to make sure your staff is adequately prepared to face natural disasters whenever they strike. A little preparation will go a long way in ensuring the safety and well being of your employees and customers and minimizing loss to company assets
Communication is the most important element in your disaster relief plan. Talk with your workers about the steps you are taking to ensure their safety in the event of fire, flood, hurricane, or other emergency. Develop an alert system that you and your team will all understand. For example, “code white” may mean that there is a tornado warning, while a sounding alarm indicates fire.
Write the disaster plan you have in the company’s policy and procedures manual. Post instructions for major events in easily accessible areas such as the company bulletin board. Make sure that every new hire is briefed on your emergency plan as a part of their new-hire orientation. Employees with tenure in your organization should be briefed whenever changes to the policies are made and if possible be given a copy of the memorandum for thier own reference.
Keep the items you will need to execute your plan readily available. These may include flashlights with batteries, a battery operated radio, bottled water, blankets and other first aid materials. Be sure that these essentials are kept in working order and refill and replace them as needed. Key office personnel should be aware of the location of these items and have easy access to them in case an emergency situation arises.
Rehearse your disaster drills as frequently as possible. Ideally, your office should perform a mock emergency drill at least once per month. Stress the importance of knowing how and where to exit the building if you are conducting a fire drill. Do not be discouraged if employees tire of the routine and are not enthused about participating. Remember, you are looking out for their best interest and want to ensure their safety in the event of a real disaster. Keeping this in mind should help you to maintain a vigilant effort in staying prepared.
From time to time, you may want to revise your plan based upon the size of your staff, changes or modifications to the building layout, and seasonal threats. Be open to suggestions from your colleagues when revising your plan. Keep current on local events and take special note of any business that has suffered a recent loss due to extreme weather. You can use these events as a learning tool to help you become more prepared. Remain diligent in your efforts and your office should be able to withstand any weather-related disaster with minimal impact on your business and employees.