You pride yourself on your skills as a facilities manager, but a hurricane isn’t an average day at work. It poses a serious danger to your workplace and your employees.
You can’t eliminate the risk associated with hurricanes, but you can reduce the risk that your employees will be hurt. For that, you’ll need to do hurricane prep – long before a hurricane is on the horizon.
Here are a few tips to guide your storm prep and protect your people and facility from a disaster.
The first thing you need to do is gather information.
If you need somewhere to start, contact your local National Weather Service office and your local government. Find out the emergencies that could occur in the immediate future.
Find out if your facility is located in an evacuation zone. Evacuations are more common than most people realize and your team should have an evacuation plan in place ahead of time. Your local or state government can usually tell you your evacuation zone.
FEMA also provides a hazard map to help you get a sense of the potential hazards in your area. If you haven’t yet, take the time to familiarize yourself with the National Weather Service’s watches and warnings and what they mean.
Once you’ve collected the appropriate information, you can start to plan ahead. At a minimum, you’re going to need:
- An emergency response plan
- An evacuation plan with multiple evacuation routes
- A list of contractors and vendors providing disaster relief services
- Provisions for data backup
- Provisions for alternative communication systems
- Accessible safety equipment
A good emergency response and disaster management plan identifies emergency leaders and ensures that every employee is prepared if disaster strikes.
Prepare Your People
Part of building a strong emergency response plan is preparing your people. After all, your emergency response plan should focus on your employees first.
For example, you should be able to locate and communicate with your employees at any time if an emergency happens. As such, you should have contact information for every employee and you should know where all of your employees are at all times, including part-time and contract workers.
You should also hold a preparedness discussion. Think of it like emergency safety training for your employees. It gives you the chance to go over essential information and protocols that employees should follow in the event of a hurricane.
Outline your company’s emergency communications system. Identify emergency leaders who employees can contact if a hurricane hits. Inform your employees where safety equipment is located and explain how to use it. Explain what is expected of your employees and what their responsibilities are.
Once you’ve gone through the basics, your company should run through emergency drills. This will help everyone know their role in an emergency and assess your ability to respond in the event of a hurricane. Don’t be afraid to practice several times. It’s better to take time out of the workday to practice than be unprepared in an actual hurricane.
Prepare Your Facility
Finally, make sure to prepare your facility in case a hurricane could head your way.
For example, if you have any hazardous chemicals on-site, you should have a containment plan in place to minimize the risk to workers and disaster response teams.
If you have any fire hazards, your emergency plan should address measures to contain them.
If you don’t already, you should have data backup servers and backup generators in case the power goes out.
Hurricane Prep Protects Your Business
Hurricane prep takes time out of the day to protect what matters most: your employees. If you’re prepared ahead of time, you can get everyone home safe to their loved ones.
For more tips to make your business stronger, whether it’s an average Tuesday or an emergency scenario, check out our blog for more useful posts.