Hurricane Florence - Need to Know Now
As Hurricane Florence pounds the southeast coast, we should all be prepared for the consequences of this storm, as well as for future emergencies. Appropriately, September is FEMA national preparedness month.
Get up-to-date information on the Hurricane Florence FEMA page. Sign up to receive safety tips by text message about hurricanes by texting HURRICANE to 43362. Learn more about FEMA text messages. To speak with someone at the American Red Cross concerning a missing friend or relative, contact 1-800-REDCROSS OR 1-800-733-2767, choose option 1.
Hurricane Preparedness Tips
Learn how to prepare for a disaster and sign up for the app on the FEMA preparedness portal. Create a family communications plan. Such a plan should include having cash on hand, a battery-powered radio handy, and a plan for pets. Visit www.ready.gov/hurricanes to learn these and other preparedness tips.
Is Your Business Prepared? Communications is Critical.
When a crisis occurs that affects the running of your business, communications is critical. If business operations are disrupted, employees and their families will be concerned about being paid and coming into work or not and what to do. Your customers will want to know how they how their business will be impacted.
Management should respond promptly and confidently during the emergency and in the days that follow. Identify who should take the lead on communicating, who needs to be contacted and what information should be shared that is appropriate. How a business responds in an emergency can have an impact on public perception.
This is why it’s important to have an emergency preparation checklist and business continuity plan, as well as a crisis communications plan. This information should be updated regularly, and it should be hosted on a secure server for remote access with hard copies available at alternative locations.
Audiences to consider in your communications plan
- Employees and their families
- Customers and suppliers
- News media
- Government officials and other authorities
A major storm may result in power outages, employees unable to attend work, and damaged facilities. Many businesses are not prepared and don’t have a plan on how to operate with limited resources. Developing a preparedness checklist and designating who will execute it can make a big difference in your ability to recover.
Hurricane preparedness checklist
- Determine chain of command -- Who and how critical decisions such as when to evacuate will be made.
- Designate safety personnel and create a safety checklist.
- Create a list of employees with their contact information and emergency contact information.
- Identify key employees and their responsibilities during and after the storm.
- Designate a person to manage communications and document social media logins and other forms of communicating to employees and community during and after the storm. That person should have this information on file and hard copy.
- Provide instructions for employees to check in.
- Establish alternate locations for operations.
- Determine how employees will be compensated during and after the storm.
- Develop and prioritize a list of critical business functions: payroll, benefits, taxes, etc.
- Develop IT continuity and back-up plan.
- Document facility and equipment with pictures and video.
As employees return after an incident, your plan should include details for a recovery period, which should be updated frequently to ensure reliable information. In addition, customers and vendors should be made aware of your business plan after a natural disaster to ensure business continuity.
Learn more at FEMA.gov.