No one ever plans to be stranded in a snowstorm or threatened by a hurricane. Despite predictions by meteorologists, weather seems to have a mind of its own. Due to the unpredictability of mother nature, you must be prepared to react quickly when bad weather strikes. This becomes especially challenging when you are dealing with business travelers–who are likely traveling to a location with completely different weather threats than their your primary office. By equipping traveling employees with emergency weather alerts, you can ensure that they have the most up to date information available.
Most Common Weather Threats
Weather comes in all shapes and sizes. Here are a few of the most common weather threats to look out for:
Whether it be a huge snowstorm or icy roads, winter weather can throw businesses for a loop. One of the most crucial steps of preparing for winter weather is having communication systems in place to alert employees of any potential weather threats. This is especially true for traveling employees. Winter weather can cause delays, cancel flights, and make it dangerous to be on the roads. If your company is not used to dealing with harsh winter weather, it is important to research the destinations of your traveling employees. You have a duty of care to alert employees of any winter storm developments and keep them safe while they are away from home on a business trip.
Hurricanes and Tropical Storms
Hurricanes are powerful forces that can wipe out entire cities. The severity and danger of hurricanes evolve rapidly, and businesses must stay on top of all developments and threats. Keeping affected employees up-to-date can help save lives. The time leading up to and during a hurricane is filled with confusion, panic, and chaos. For business travelers, there will likely be uncertainty about how the hurricane threat impacts travel plans. Will they still be flying in to the city if a hurricane is approaching? If they are already in the at-risk city, should they plan on having to spend an extra day or two there until the storm passes?
Provide your employees with a reliable source of information that they can count on to keep them safe. The responsibility is large when lives are at stake. Your company must do everything in its power to send out timely emergency weather alerts in the case of a hurricane.
Along with winter weather and hurricanes, there are many other weather hazards that employers should consider. Just a few examples include wildfires, tornadoes, flash floods, earthquakes, and severe thunderstorms. These different types of weather each pose a unique threat to traveling employees. No matter what kind of emergency weather situation your employees find themselves in, your business should be prepared to provide the proper communication and help keep everyone safe.
Various Forms of Emergency Weather Alerts
Once you have identified the relevant weather threats, you need to decide how you are going to keep your employees informed. Here are the various types of emergency weather alerts:
National Weather Service alerts
The National Weather Service will issue various warnings and watches for inclement weather events, but oftentimes these alerts are only available on certain channels such as the TV or radio. While some of these are conveyed through wireless emergency alerts, you usually have to be looking for these kinds of alerts to actually find them. They are not readily available and often fail to notify those who are in the greatest danger. These types of alerts are best suited for those who are already safe in their home and are just looking for more information on the current weather conditions. For this reason, they are not ideal for traveling employees. Some software platforms, like AlertMedia, will integrate with the National Weather Service alerts to send out timely emergency weather alerts to employees’ mobile devices, based on their physical location.
Mobile Apps (like The Weather Channel)
There are many mobile applications that you can download that send push notifications for inclement weather events. Whether it be The Weather Channel app or AccuWeather, these apps are all designed similarly. Users can choose to receive notifications for bad weather in a specific location (typically the city they live in). While this system works great for individual users, a business would struggle to keep track of bad weather in multiple locations. You also have to account for traveling employees who have constantly changing locations. Additionally, the single channel of an app notification can easily be disabled or missed amongst the flood of other notifications our phones receive daily.
Wireless Emergency Alerts
Another extremely common form of emergency weather alerts are the wireless emergency alerts provided by the National Weather Service. These alerts go beyond just the scope of weather—they also include AMBER Alerts as well as local emergencies. These government authorized alerts exist on almost every smart phone and send a direct text message to everyone in the affected area. Through the use of a special tone and repeated vibration, people instantly recognize the distinct sound of these alerts. Additionally, the service is able to pick up your location and send only alerts applicable to your physical location, overcoming some of the shortcomings of simple weather alert apps.
However, the wireless emergency alerts only allow for one-way communication and fail to provide specific details about an emergency situation. It’s also an unfortunate reality that many people have manually disabled these alerts, after one loudly buzzed their phone at the wrong time. For business owners, it is not enough to solely rely on these government-provided text notifications to keeping their employees safe.
Emergency Notification App with Threat Monitoring for Business
While keeping track of all the weather hazards in all the places your employees are located might seem like a daunting task, an emergency notification app can help your business accomplish this goal. A reliable, multi-channel mass notification system such as AlertMedia easily provides all your employees with the necessary emergency weather alerts. A communication system should meet the following criteria:
- Intuitive interface: Send out alerts with ease
- Two-way messaging: Allow users to reply with status updates
- Wellness checks: Quickly survey employees to see if they’re safe or need assistance
- Reduced Delivery Time: Use pre-made templates for different emergency scenarios
- Centralized Information: Create event pages to provide one source for all information
- Availability: Access via mobile device—an incident can occur at any time
- Threat Intelligence: Receive real-time information about local threats
In addition, to protect your traveling employees from inclement weather events, use a threat monitoring tool such as AlertMedia’s to gather comprehensive threat data from around the globe. Through a threat monitoring service, you should be able to:
- Understand a threat’s proximity to your people
- Get real-time updates on unfolding events
- Automatically notify your people of threats when they emerge
With a comprehensive emergency notification system, you are able to overcome the difficulties that hinder other emergency weather alert solutions. The two-way, multi-channel approach ensures that your employees get the information they need and can get assistance if needed. In addition, the threat monitoring tools make it simple for your company to keep track of all weather developments and seamlessly notify your people of any and all threats.
Finally–once you have identified the relevant weather threats and decided on a type of alert–it’s time to make an implementation plan. Here are the key steps:
Identify Common Weather Hazards for Traveling Employees
Whether it be winter weather, hurricanes, earthquakes, or tornadoes, your business has a duty of care to its employees to keep them informed and protected. By keeping track of common weather hazards in key locations, you can educate your employees of potential threats to increase awareness and safety.
Pinpoint Triggers for Consistency of Alerts
In order to effectively keep all employees safe, you need to decide on your company’s protocol on when to send out alerts. By identifying key triggers for various events (whether that be a tornado watch or a severe thunderstorm alert), you can have a clear plan for what stage and how frequently to alert their employees. Create a tiered trigger system for when to send out which alerts, based on the development of a weather threat.
Determine Personnel in Charge of Weather Alerts
Just like in any other part of the company, you must clearly delineate roles and responsibilities for the personnel responsible for emergency weather alerts. You need these employees to identify threats, triggers, and follow a detailed communication plan. The number of personnel required for this purpose depends on the size and scope of your company, along with how many traveling employees you have at any given time. Companies with a large focus on corporate travel must create a team large enough to serve emergency weather alerts to all employees.
Develop a Comprehensive Communication Plan
During times of inclement weather, clear communication is crucial for keeping your employees safe. Devise a detailed plan to ensure that all facets of communication are covered. Whether it be the initial emergency weather alert or follow up messages, your business needs to know how to react in any situation. Be sure to also assign at least one person to be in charge of your company’s emergency notification system to efficiently send out emergency weather alerts.
When an employee is traveling, they are rarely thinking about the weather at their given destination. They are already overloaded with work commitments and the stress of being in an unfamiliar environment. As a company, you have the duty of care to look out for your employees when they are too overwhelmed to do so themselves. By providing employees with emergency weather alerts, you can show them that you care about their well-being and satisfy your duty of care.
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