What to Do When Your Employees Are Stuck in a Natural Disaster
Both Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma set new records this hurricane season, not to mention did countless damage to communities in Texas and Florida. Both California and Mexico experienced major earthquakes recently, too.
If your business were to be impacted by a major hurricane, earthquake, or aother natural disaster, how would you handle the situation? What would you do if you had to remain open and require your employees to work?
To help make sure your business is as well-prepared as possible, ask yourself the following questions. Your responses will let you know what areas need improvement.
How will you keep people safe at work if a natural disaster hits?
With hurricanes, you have ample warning ahead of time to prepare and evacuate, but what if you operate a hotel or other business that has to remain open throughout the storm? In this case, you would want to make sure you had a sufficient stock of nonperishable food, plenty of bottled water, flashlights, batteries, and other essential supplies.
You will also want to have a supply of protective workwear and gear, as well as cleanroom supplies on hand for dealing with cleanup after the storm. These types of products help protect your employees and provide a safe way to clean up potentially hazardous areas.
How secure is your building?
For hurricanes, you will want to secure your building with storm shutters, sandbags, and other such items. For wildfires, these same items can help slow the fire down, but you should evacuate and take any important documents and files with you. It can also be beneficial to have your building inspected to discover any areas that need improvements to make them more secure.
How will you communicate with your employees during a natural disaster?
You should already have a plan in place. Do not anticipate the power and cell phones will work. You could use a social media page for communications if you have internet access, as well as an area for employees to check in that they are safe—but you will want to have a backup plan. You may also want plenty of walkie-talkies on hand for communicating with employees who are working.
How can you help your employees after a natural disaster?
Are there any company benefits in place that can provide assistance to employees who may lose everything in a natural disaster? You may want to start a special fund and encourage employees to contribute to it. You could also have a policy in place where you allow employees to use PTO for missed work days during and after the disaster, even if it means they go negative on their PTO balances.
As you can see, there are several different questions to consider to help make your business better prepared for natural disasters. We also recommend creating a disaster recovery plan and outlining specific procedures and policies.