Climate change has not only made our summers hotter than ever, it has also caused weather disturbances to be more frequent and worse, a lot stronger.
One report quoted a research scientist at NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, George Tselioudis, that climate change can increase the number of intense storms not just in the US but in many parts of the world.
The explanation is that increase temperature results to more water vapor evaporating into the atmosphere. The scientist says that water vapor is akin to fuel for storms. Thus there is a lot of potential for any storm to develop into an intense weather disturbance.
While the thought of strong storms is really scary, this scenario also underlines the importance of emergency preparedness. After all, we can’t do anything about storms. For most employers, the best way to prevent damages and loss of lives would be to have an emergency preparedness program in the workplace.
If you are part of the team that handles the emergency preparedness program or plan in your office, you might want to read on and find out how you can help your colleagues become more ready for any storm or natural disaster that may happen:
1. Establish a single point of contact. During an emergency, every second counts. There is no time for the company leadership to assign a spokesperson. It is thus practical to have an emergency communications coordinator who will be in charge of the communications aspect during weather disturbances and similar occurrences. Make sure that everyone in the organization knows who the coordinator is, as he or she will be the primary point of contact during emergencies.
2. Include all communication channels. There’s no single communication channel that will be able to reach everyone in the organization. So the mass notification system should include all communication tools, from voice, email, instant messaging, as well as social media channels like Facebook and Twitter.
3. Develop contingency plans. During storms, there will always be the possibility that mass notification system will break down, or key staff members would be unavailable. For every communication task, there should be a backup worker who can take on the assignment of another person who is unavailable or unable to perform.
4. Use mass notification system for other purposes. A mass notification system isn’t only useful during emergencies. It can also be used to communicate with other stakeholders, from employees to customers to business partners on a regular basis.
Businesses can utilize the communication channels in other ways such as sending customers’ appointment, late payment reminders, schedule maintenance notifications and product announcements, among others.
5. Create an appropriate message. During an emergency, there would be no chance at all to write a message informing employees about a storm that is headed to the city. That’s why pre-record messages are essential. The message must be simple, clear, and easy to follow.
If the emergency preparedness program includes announcement through the PA system, select a voice-over guy with a strong and authoritative voice.
6. Promote your emergency mass notification program. Make sure your colleagues are aware of the existing emergency preparedness and mass notification system in your workplace. Promote it through the company Intranet or newsletter and include it in corporate documentation such as employee handbook.
Moreover, you can train and cross-train key personnel so that everyone is prepared to respond quickly during an emergency. You can also test the emergency preparedness program twice a year by conducting company-wide drills.
By having an emergency preparedness program, companies can ensure the safety and well-being of their employees whom they consider as their greatest assets.