At the beginning of December, AlertMedia conducted a webinar on how to prepare and protect businesses from winter weather hazards.
Paul Yura, a Warning Coordination Meteorologist at the National Weather Service, and Peter Steinfeld, VP of Sales at AlertMedia, explored the impacts of severe weather and provided tips on how to effectively prepare businesses for winter weather events through effective communication and technology. Below we have compiled a summary of the main points discussed with our webinar audience last week.
Main Impacts of Winter Weather on Businesses
Most accidents that businesses encounter occur during the winter and around $300 billion worth of damages arise just from winter storms. Given that 70% of the United States population lives in snowy and icy areas, winter weather impacts almost every American. The main direct impacts of winter weather include icy roads, increased risk of falls, and cold injuries such as hypothermia. In addition to these direct impacts on your business, you must not forget the non-direct impacts that can also prove detrimental to your company. With longer emergency response times, school delays and closures, flight delays, and seasonal affective disorder, there is a multitude of problems that accompany winter weather.
How to Prepare Your Business for Winter
Practical steps to take to ensure your business is fully prepared to tackle the challenges of winter weather:
- Identify Major Threats and Danger Areas – Whether it be seasonal illnesses, ice, or flight delays/cancellations, it is vital for your business to know which issues directly impact the company.
- Define Responsibilities – In order to properly address a winter weather scenario, you must have clear, delineated responsibilities both within the company and with external parties. On the internal side, assign employees to take charge of employee safety, facilities, business continuity, and communication. And on the external side, be aware of landlord responsibilities, insurance coverage, contract obligations, and product delivery.
- Plan for each Threat – Ensure there is a system in place for sending out weather alerts, closing the business, and stocking appropriate supplies.
- Rehearse Action Plan – Based on the time, resources, and size of the company, choose the proper rehearsal strategy to train your employees and recap at the end to identify potential improvements.
- Monitor the world around you – it’s critical to keep an eye on the threats that winter brings. Be aware of closures of organizations that may negatively impact your employees and business – local government, schools, and companies you work with. Downtime in your organization might also affect your customers. Rapid communication during such events can make a big difference and the right technology can help. Look for tools that can help you proactively monitor threats and send messages quickly based on changing information.
Related: Learn how AlertMedia’s local threat monitoring service can help you keep track of winter hazards
The experts outlined 7 practical tips for effective communication during winter events.
- Use Technology to your Advantage – Every organization should leverage the proper technology to help organize communication and monitor threats to employees. The communication platform should be an intuitive interface that allows multi-channel, two-way messaging with reporting and insights so you can constantly improve your emergency communications.
- Keep Contact Info Updated – Data must always be kept up to date to ensure information is effectively dispersed in the event of an emergency.
- Leverage Notification Templates – Prepare for emergencies by creating templates for common scenarios that might occur to ensure that nothing is forgotten during the chaos of an event.
- Communicate ahead of the Event – By preparing your employees before the event even occurs, you are able to disseminate information and reduce stress.
- Timing is Critical – Ensure that the frequency and length of your notifications are not excessive. Use event pages to compile all information in a central hub during developing situations.
- Proactive Employee Safety – Implement threat monitoring and two-way communication to prepare for any emergency scenario.
- Test your Communication Plan – One of the most crucial parts of communication is testing the plan in place to ensure that there are no inefficiencies or inaccuracies in data. Constantly build and improve upon your plan to meet employee and business needs.
Related: Download the Winter Weather Communication Templates to see examples of messages tailored to different channels including text, email, voice calls, and mobile apps pushes.
To wrap up, here are some useful next steps to ensure your business is prepared for the winter:
- Become a Weather-Ready Nation (WRN) Ambassador – receive a wealth of free information and help both your business and the nation become weather-ready through collaboration with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
- Download the Winter Weather Preparedness Kit – get a free guide, checklist and templates provided by AlertMedia to help you get ready for this winter.
- Schedule a demo with AlertMedia – learn more how you can implement the right technology for your business that will help with both communication and threat monitoring during severe weather.