Having a crisis communication plan for severe winter storms is a critical need for organizations based in areas prone to chilly storms that can impact driving conditions and business opening. Such a plan of action can help to significantly minimize or even prevent the damage associated with these winter storms. If you are located in an area exposed to cold weather, it is never too late to implement such a plan.
The following guide highlights the key elements of a crisis communication plan for a severe winter storm, and also provides a checklist of what to do before, during, and after such a storm. Regularly review your emergency preparedness plan to ensure you are ready for the specific crisis that each season may bring.
Elements of the plan:
- Identification of critical areas near your facility (parking lots, access roads, main intersections)
- Updated contacts of local offices or tenants for emergency preparedness
- Arrangement for backup communications and off-site emergency communications
- Ongoing agreements with contractors for repair and supplies following a winter storm
- Ensuring that emergency supplies are readily available
- Plans for site security during and after the winter storm
When creating your emergency action plan for a winter storm, consider putting together a checklist to ensure all critical items are covered. At any point you identify something that needs to be communicated to your organization or tenants, you should implement a mass notification system. Read more about what should be included in your emergency action plan.
- Develop a crisis communication plan for winter storms and provide training to appropriate personnel.
- Staff an Emergency Response Team to take primary action in the event of a winter storm.
- Designate a weather monitor responsible for reporting weather conditions.Determine checkpoints at which the plan should be implemented and personnel should be sent home.
- Distribute task checklists to all operational managers.
- Update your contact list of key manager or tenants to ensure all necessary parties can be easily and quickly reached to communicate changing conditions or last minute closure decisions.
During the winter storm checklist:
- Perform continuous patrolling of the property, to identify accessibility and any structural damage.
- Constantly monitor any equipment that must stay on-site.
- Ensure electrical switches are turned off during power failure.
Post- winter storm checklist:
- Secure the property and perform a check for damage.
- Ensure there are no hazards such as live wires, leaking gas, damage to foundations, etc.
- Make sure the automatic sprinkler system is still functioning as soon as possible.
- Notify contractors to start repairs.
- Call in key personnel.
- Ensure safety systems are fully implemented before allowing normal operations to resume.
- If power outage occurs, restart main distribution systems after completing necessary checks.
- Unclog roof drains to prevent drainage problems.
A little advance planning will go a long way when an actual event approaches or occurs. Your emergency action plan is an invaluable guide to helping stay organized and ensuring all necessary parties are kept in the loop and informed.