A tornado can strike with almost no warning, leaving little time to prepare before disaster occurs. If a tornado strikes while your staff is working, will they know what to do? Use these tips from the experts at ServiceMaster Restore® to find out what your team should do if a tornado hits your area.
1. DEVELOP A WRITTEN PLAN
Create a tornado preparedness plan that includes at least the following details:
- Who is responsible for alerting others of an imminent tornado
- How you will communicate with staff members at the office and remotely
- Where you can safely evacuate and seek shelter
- How to contact each other and ensure everyone reached safety
- Who can administer first aid to anyone who has been injured
- Which critical operations must be shut down before you evacuate, and who is responsible for shutting down these functions
- How to access documents and crucial business files outside of the office
After you have put a plan in place, discuss the details with your staff. Ensuring everyone understands and feels comfortable and confident in what they need to do in a disaster can make all the difference if a tornado does hit. After the meeting, hand out copies of your crisis management plan to each staff member.
2. ESTABLISH SHELTERS
If your office space is small, you may only need one designated shelter. If you have a larger office, you might want to consider designating multiple shelters within the vicinity to ensure everyone can reach safety. If you don't have a FEMA safe room, a basement or a windowless room on the lowest level of the structure is your best bet for staying safe.
After you establish where your shelters are, document the quickest, safest routes to those areas. Post signs throughout the office and inside your crisis management plan so each employee is aware of the path they need to take if a tornado hits.
3. MAKE A DISASTER SUPPLY KIT
Create an emergency preparedness kit for your office. Include any essentials you may need in case you're stuck in the shelter for long periods of time, including:
- Enough food and water for all staff members
- Phone chargers
- Portable weather radios
- Contact information for each employee
- First aid kit
- Hand sanitizer
4. LEARN TORNADO WARNING SIGNS
Large hail, greenish skies, and low-lying or dark clouds could indicate tornadic activity. Consider investing in a weather alert radio so you can remain updated if you notice any signs of a tornado forming near your business.
PRACTICE YOUR ESCAPE PLAN REGULARLY
Preparing for a tornado and putting the plan into action before disaster strikes can help you identify weak spots in your strategy, allowing you to adjust tasks before an emergency actually happens. By practicing escape plans regularly, your employees will be confident that they can perform the appropriate tasks if a tornado approaches the area. Try to practice your tornado preparedness plan at least twice a year so all staff members are well informed.
WHAT TO DO AFTER A TORNADO
If you live in an area that's prone to tornadic activity, don't wait until it's too late to ensure your employees' safety. In the event that disaster does strike, it's also important to know what to do after a tornado hits to ensure you can get back to business as quickly as possible. Call on the experts at ServiceMaster Restore to get your company back on its feet with our commercial weather damage clean-up services.