Being Ready for Next Time–5 Tips for Emergency Readiness

Hurricane Florence may not have lived up to the original forecasts, but she has had significant impact in the Carolinas.  If your location had been in the path of Florence, would your organization have been prepared?  Here are some tips for next time:

  • Review and update as necessary your emergency policy, sometimes also called the winter weather policy, then circulate it to your staff. Make sure that staff knows where to get information from about when and whether the organization is open for business or not.
  • Consider your staff’s needs during the emergency and err on the side of generosity in closing the office site so that they can prepare themselves and their families for the upcoming emergency. Keep in mind that your employees’ safety should be your first and foremost consideration despite business needs.
  • Test any methods of communication via email or text and iron out any technical glitches. Review the lists of recipients to make sure that all current personnel are included.  Consider the need to communicate via several methods in situations where power outages are likely and people will be rationing their use of computer and phone.  In addition to pushing information via text or email, think about including a hotline that employees can call for information.
  • In addition to updating your staff contact information, update and/or assemble contact information for your vendors and other key contacts. It’s possible that you may need to contact vendors for help, including the payroll company, insurance brokers and companies, and others.
  • Consider and plan for the need for communication to your customers or members and other key stakeholders, as well as the need to communicate via several methods such as the online phone attendant, the website, and perhaps even email.

These are only a few tips that can be used during the final days before an expected emergency.  To be fully prepared, your organization needs a business continuity plan that outlines how your business will proactively manage many types of emergencies including those without any notice.  The plan should also consider how to continue doing business if an emergency lasts more than a couple of days.  Failing to plan is planning to fail, or so they say.