With COVID-19 impacting businesses worldwide, it’s hard to focus on anything else. Unfortunately, the weather has no plans to let up, and businesses still need to be prepared. To help support you in this hectic time, we’ve listed some steps you can take to better distribute your resources to stay ahead of any storm.
A crisis like COVID-19 straps resources and makes time even more of a limited commodity. Normally, your company’s Emergency Managers can devote time to staying current on severe weather developments. In times like this, they barely have a minute to spare.
The timing of the outbreak couldn’t be worse. The United States is already seeing the typical severe weather of spring, marked by tornadoes in Nashville, flooding in Arizona, and severe thunderstorms across the country. Both severe weather and COVID-19 will impact how you focus resources for months to come. One misstep could have lasting impacts on the resiliency of your operations.
We understand it’s hard to think of anything else besides COVID-19 at the moment. To make it easier for you, here are some steps you can take to ensure you’re prepared and that your focus is distributed effectively:
Any time staff work remotely or off-site, it can become a significant challenge to keep track of each employee’s location. However, this is crucial information during a severe weather event. Maintaining robust, updated records of staff addresses means you won’t have to spend time tracking them down later.
Severe weather may not impact remote employees all in the same way. Enable staff to stay informed of the weather at their specific location with apps that let them track based on location—such as the “follow-me” alerts in the StormGeo app.
Next, ensure each staff member has a plan in place for where to shelter their families during severe weather. Clarify that your company may not have space for them to wait out the storm. In circumstances like what we’re facing today, remind staff that their families would be vulnerable to COVID-19 in any plan which incorporates a potentially crowded space.
Having personal emergency plans in place for staff enables you to focus on the crisis at hand, while giving them peace of mind knowing their families are protected. This allows them to focus on maintaining operations even in the face of a crisis.
Have backup satellite phones ready to use and distribute in case you lose power and phone lines go down. Check that your backup power generators are functioning and able to last for an extended period of time. Know where you can reduce power consumption in case you need to divert resources to areas in critical need.
If backup work locations are incorporated in your severe weather emergency plans, consider that these locations may not be available should you and your staff be on mandatory lock-down. Have an alternate plan ready just in case.
If you do have critical staff working remotely, they will each need to have their own backup electricity plans. Keep in mind that not everyone has a backup generator or satellite phone readily available, and plan accordingly.
In a time of crisis, supplies will likely be low for some time, especially if your vendors are also being impacted. While keeping supplies fully stocked may be difficult during the COVID-19 chaos, you should try to make space for severe weather event planning now so you’re not caught empty handed later.
Think ahead on what additional supplies you might need to accommodate severe weather. Consider how these stocks will be maintained over the next few months, and what steps you can take should supplies begin to run short.
Your employees working at home may not have access to your emergency supplies particularly during periods of mandated social distancing. You should either supply your employees with personal emergency kits, or provide guidance on how assemble a kit on their own.
Here is a list of emergency supplies we recommend for businesses and individuals:
Business Continuity Part 2: When it comes to a severe weather event, no organization can go it alone. External parties are crucial in helping you through a crisis—whether they provide food, shelter, transport or, in the case of StormGeo, actionable weather insight.
Without proper planning, agencies like schools and government can be vulnerable to natural disasters. While public weather information can be helpful, site-specific forecasts provide actionable information—a crucial aspect of any proactive plan for severe weather events.