Severe Weather Safety
While spring and summer are traditionally viewed as peak seasons for severe weather, increasingly severe storms can develop at any time of the year — including hurricanes as witnessed by recent events on the southwest coast.
Whether it’s a thunderstorm that brings tornadoes and lightning or tropical storms and hurricanes that bring heavy rainfall and destructive winds, severe weather can strike anywhere. Staying safe in a storm means preparing your organization and your employees for them before they happen.
Recognizing the devastating consequences of severe storms
With the incredible forces they wield, storms are capable of impacting thousands of lives in just minutes. Being aware of the kind of destruction that can happen is important as you prepare for the possibility of severe weather in your area. Severe weather isn’t something to be taken lightly, because if it is, there’s a large possibility for property damage, power outages, business interruptions and even loss of life.
Every company should have a written disaster program in place that outlines the procedures for monitoring and responding to changes in weather conditions, as well as the process of communicating severe weather advisories and alerts to employees. The program should have important information outlined, including:
- The types of alert systems used
- Designated shelter locations
- Employee responsibilities
- Disaster recovery procedures
- Communication and notification systems
- Facility closing procedures and call-in phone numbers
- Information technology systems used
Within the written program, management needs to designate responsibility for monitoring weather to a specific individual, department or team, who should be thoroughly trained on the company’s program. Some resources for preparedness planning for your business include:
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – Natural disasters and severe weather
- Agility Recovery
- National Weather Service – Year-round safety campaign
- NOAA – Severe Weather Safety and Survival – Planning Ahead
- NOAA – Severe Weather Safety Basics
- Occupational Safety and Health Administration – Hurricane Preparedness and Response
- CDC Storm, Flood, & Hurricane Response
- Environmental Protection Agency – Hurricanes
One of the most important aspects is the way an organization stays alert to changing weather conditions. Some of the most common sources of severe weather notification include:
- Live television and radio
- Weather radios
- Computer desktop websites and widgets
- Smartphone applications
These new technologies have increased our ability to stay alert to changing weather conditions. Some applications even provide automated text messages and emails, which can be particularly useful ways to receive timely severe weather alerts and forecasts.
We encourage you to research and take advantage of these evolving technologies as an additional way to stay informed and keep employees safe from severe weather in your area. Management should work together with their Information Technology department to review available options and how they could be safely integrated into your company’s technology systems. Smartphone and desktop app resources include:
The bottom line is that you, your employees and your organization must be protected from the dangers severe storms can bring. By being aware of changing weather conditions, using technology to respond quickly and having strong disaster plans in place, you are well on your way to keeping everyone safer when severe weather strikes.
We encourage you to utilize the Severe Weather Safety materials below and share them with your employees. For assistance or more information on creating a plan for your organization, contact your CompWest Loss Control representative today.
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