Sudden storms can endanger your staff, damage your building and interrupt operations. While safety is your first order of business, you also want to minimize building damage and get back in business quickly. To protect your employees and your business, it's important to keep ahead of the storm and develop an emergency action plan.
These steps should help keep your staff and building safe from harm in the event of a storm:
- Create an emergency action plan that includes evacuation procedures, contact information for local first responders and emergency contact information for all employees.
- Put together an emergency preparedness kit, which should include water bottles, non-perishable food, blankets, first-aid supplies, flashlights and a battery-powered radio.
- Contact your state emergency management office for information about local shelters, evacuation plans, emergency exit routes and more.
- Make sure the grounds around your building are free of heavy debris that could cause damage during high winds, and trim trees to prevent limbs from falling on buildings.
- Choose a safe area in your building in case of a storm warning. This area should be located in a basement (if available), or a ground-level room with no windows.
- Develop a plan with actions to take in the event of a flood. Include key responsibilities, emergency contacts and evacuation procedures. Prioritize equipment and records that may require removal from the premises.
Outdoor worker safety
Outdoor workers are exposed to a variety of weather conditions, but lightning poses a particular threat. Businesses with fleet vehicles or outdoor work crews should have a plan to keep workers safe. The following are some general safety tips:
- Monitor weather conditions for reports of severe weather conditions in your area.
- Safe shelter areas include substantial buildings, enclosed metal vehicles or low ground.
- Stay away from metal objects, open areas or water.
- Wait at least 30 minutes after the last lightning strike before returning to work.
Educate workers on safety procedures they should follow if severe weather occurs, including what shelter is available to them.
Back to business
While your electric service is very reliable, sudden storms can lead to temporary outages or other power quality issues that can interrupt operations. Here's how to keep your business running:
- Get protected. Install power quality protection equipment, such as surge suppressors and uninterruptible power supplies (UPS), to safeguard sensitive electronics.
- Maintain backup power. Make sure you have a reliable source of backup power, such as a generator, available and in working condition. Operate the unit safely according to manufacturer's guidelines.
- Develop a business continuity plan that includes list of procedures to be taken after a storm or other emergency to continue operations and return to full capacity as quickly as possible.
With these measures, you'll be ready to keep your business running smoothly and safely no matter what the storm season brings.