Did you see the photos of grocery store shelves emptied? What about the lines of people gathered outside waiting to stock up on food, water and other essential items before the worst storm they’d ever seen? Flights were cancelled, travel bans put in place and bridges and tunnels were closed all as precautionary measures for the snowpocalypse that was about to go down.
Winter storm Juno certainty caused a disturbance, and a bit of panic, in the lives of millions of people.
Fortunately, however, and despite all the precautions that were made, Winter Storm Juno didn’t live up to its expectations and didn’t make history like it was reported to do. That’s the tricky thing about reporting on Mother Nature, it’s really hard to label something “historic” before is happens!
The media likes to hype things up a bit, but who’s to blame them? Think back to Hurricane Katrina. Despite warnings — maybe not quite as intense as for Juno — many people stayed and the aftermath was disastrous. Many emergency organizations and individuals lost credibility and saw their reputations damaged as the disaster response before and after was criticized.
A main theme for us here at Pocketstop is preparedness. And not just preparedness but preparedness without panic. For organizations, families and individuals we always stress to prepare for the worst and hope for the best. And one of the best ways to prepare is to take a look back on historic events — like Katrina — and see what lessons can be learned. What worked well? What needs to be improved? Were we kept informed? Or did communications falter?
The time to prepare for a “historic” winter storm isn’t the day before. It’s in the late summer or fall before the threat is imminent — especially for an organization responsible for the safety and well-being of employees, staff, tenants and others.
If an organization is well-prepared, when the threat of a terrible storm or other unplanned event occurs, everyone can stay calm. Sure, a sense of urgency and increased levels of anxiety are normal during these types of situations but being prepared keeps panic at bay so you can appropriately handle the fear, uncertainty and doubt your stakeholders may have.
There are many areas that need preparations; our specialty is communications. If you can keep communications flowing you can not only distribute life-saving information but can keep people informed and aware and answer questions they may have.
Today, we can use digital, cloud-based mass notification systems to communicate to large groups of people with ease, speed and reliability. For the next winter storm, let your organization’s people know you’re using the RedFlag notification system and give them the peace of mind that you’ll be keeping them informed.