If you live anywhere on the East coastline of the U.S., you have either experienced or been made aware of the dreaded Hurricane Season, and like clockwork it is here once again. The question is, how are you and your employees preparing for this inevitable time? Do your employees know the office procedures or who to call in case of an unfortunate situation? Do they know what to do with the equipment or if there is an alternative way of conducting business? Do they know how to communicate before, during and after the disaster? These are all questions that should be answered in advance and shared with your teams before a storm is even in the radar. Below we will outline a list of steps every organization should include in the planning and preparing process for a natural disaster.
As a reminder Hurricane season runs from June 1 through November 30, with a peak from mid-August to mid-September. For the 2022 Hurricane Season, NOAA has predicted above average activity with anywhere between 14 – 21 named storms, of which 6 -10 can become hurricanes and 3 – 6 major hurricanes (https://www.noaa.gov/news-release/noaa-predicts-above-normal-2022-atlantic-hurricane-season). To prepare for the season, organizations should have a written Hurricane Preparedness Plan. This plan should include:
- An outline of what employees, managers and leaders need to do in case of a natural disaster. Depending on the storm category there might be different instructions (these should be defined in your plan).
- A description of who is responsible for determining next steps and who is responsible for giving the office closure/opening determination.
- Establish command center and determine who is involved and their role in the center.
- Ensure all insurance policies are up to date and ensure there is a designated team that will be responsible for claims processing, if needed.
- Describe shut down procedures that include what to do with the equipment, how to communicate changes to client and who, if anyone, will stay behind to keep operations working.
- If employees are designated to stay, ensure they have the supplies needed to be safe and a communication process.
- Define a system to account for employees such as call trees. Designate individuals or groups of individuals that will contact each other.
- Have updated contact information for all employees, important vendor, and clients. Create communication templates.
- Determine the method and process for work distribution in case employees are not available or cannot come back to work.
- Ensure processes are defined for systems back ups (email, servers, etc.).
- Create a reopening plan. Who will provide the approval to open the business and what employees need to do once the order is given?
The above list encompasses an overview of elements your plan should include. Depending on your industry, there might be more or less items you are required to incorporate. It’s important to remind everyone that all organizations should have a Hurricane Preparedness plan or a Disaster Recovery Plan, its actually part of OSHA’s must have’s. Above all it provides your employees a sense of order in the midst of an event that can be very catastrophic. Now, it is not only important to have a plan, it is equally important to share the plan with your team and train them on what they need to do. Here at Tua’s Top Tips we can support your organization with preparing, distributing and training on your Hurricane Preparedness Plan, schedule your appointment now to find out how we can help!