Weather can threaten your business no matter where you live. Some parts of the United States are a little more accustomed to hearing the tornado warning or hurricane alert. But no matter where you live, every business should have a severe weather plan in place to protect their employees and their business.
Identify Possible Threats
The first step in protecting a business from harsh weather is identifying your threats. Are you in a flood plain? What is the likelihood a tsunami would reach your property? Could a wildfire threaten your area?
- Most severe weather will only threaten an area at certain times of the year.
- Severe winter weather can threaten between November 1- March 1 in most of the country. If you are in the mountains, that season is longer.
- Wildfire season is from March – June in the Southeast, but June – November in the West
- The West should watch out for flooding March 1 – June 1, but any storm or ice melt year-round can cause a flash flood.
- Tornados are not considered a threat in the West, but between March 1 – June 30, the Midwest, South, and Mid-Atlantic should all be keeping an eye on the tornado forecast.
- Hurricanes threaten the Gulf Coast and Atlantic Seaboard from June – November.
- Severe thunderstorms and lightning can cause damage from the Mid-Atlantic down to Florida, the Central Plains, and Southwest from March through September.
- Hailstorms can cause major damage in the states east of the Rockies between March and September.
Stay on Top of Weather Information
Every business should designate a member of their leadership who will be in charge of tracking and communicating weather information to the company. Some businesses are small in scale and concentrated in one location, so following local weather news will be sufficient to keep their employees safe.
Does Your Business Need More than The Morning News Forecast?
Many companies depend heavily on the weather for their operations. Location-specific weather forecasts that update every minute are essential to their operations running smoothly. Weather-dependent businesses include those which:
- Manage large outdoor events
- Have drivers all over the map who could be in danger without sufficient weather warnings
- Have many of its employees working outside
- Have several different building locations that need to communicate with one another.
For businesses like this, the first step for their weather preparedness is communicating with a weather station that can track readings at locations significant to their business. A tool like WeatherSentry can tailor the information a business tracks, and organize it in a way that gives them the ability to make fast decisions. They get real-time alerts of what weather is coming right to them, and frequent updates on current conditions where they are invested.
Create a Severe Weather Plan
Once a business is confident it will stay informed about the weather, the next step is putting a plan in place. Work with local public safety professionals to make a plan to protect your business’s greatest responsibility, the people who work there. Then think about how you will be defending their livelihood and yours.
Identify the Vulnerabilities of your Business or Building Type
You know your business better than anyone. You know what disasters could cause the most considerable loss of production. Walkthrough the possible threats to your buildings, equipment, and materials in the field and establish priorities for protecting them in case of severe weather.
Establish a relationship with a contractor by hiring them to come and assess your building for vulnerabilities. While you work with them, arrange for a plan to keep them on board to help your business recover after a storm.
Have a Checklist for Emergency Procedures
Create a company list of what to do when weather threatens. Establish procedures for one week before, and continue with a plan for three days, two days, and one day before. Use a tool such as the Preferred Mutual Severe Weather Emergency Preparedness and Response Planning Checklist and tailor it to the needs of your business.
A checklist would include:
- A plan for emergency shut-down. Who makes sure all the computers are off?
- Communication plan. How will you give your employees status updates?
- Backup plan for payroll
- Alternate security plan if alarms are not online
- Area-specific protections. Employees should know what to move out or protect in their office.
- Emergency supplies, and designated people who know where they are
- Start-up plan. Who does what when it’s time to get back to work?
Predict the Unpredictable
A well-organized severe weather plan is your best defense against long-term weather damage to your business. Weather is still unpredictable, but the tools now available are taking as much mystery out of the weather as possible.
Now a business owner can be as well-informed as a meteorologist, with all the right information for the business’ locations and operations. Identifying risks and establishing a severe weather plan will also make him an expert on what needs to be protected the most. Any business with that combination of knowledge has the best chance of weathering whatever storm comes its way.