A few weeks ago I began to discuss Creating a Disaster Preparedness Plan. While the Atlantic hurricane season is drawing to a close, winter is coming (and already here for many). This post will discuss communications.
I see two parts to disaster preparedness communication: how you receive communications and how you both personally and as your business communicate outward.
Part 1: How will you receive communications?
Please, don’t rely solely on your Facebook friends to find out about potential disaster! While I do follow the National Weather Service on social media, this is the one area where I say yes to notifications on every device. I have emergency battery chargers for my phone and keep spare charging cables in my car.
While many are cutting service, remember that land-line based-telephones do not require electricity to work. I have a spare jack in my server room (which doubles as the boiler room in my basement) and a basic phone handset as my cordless phone doesn’t work if the power is out.
It’s nice to stream everything, but don’t forget over-the-air TV and battery powered radios!
Disasters sometimes mean evacuation, it is important to know when to evacuate and where to evacuate to, and how to checkin.
Part 2: How will you communicate outward?
If you are a solopreneur this is a bit easier, however you still need a plan. Concerned clients/customers will want to know you are safe and very likely curious what they can expect in terms of work during and in the immediate days following a disaster.
If you have direct employees talk about how to contact them in case of an emergency, even if they aren’t scheduled to work. I recommend having more than one way to check in with each other, in this case social media is helpful!
If you are unable to open or make commitments how will clients/customers know? I suggest updating the outgoing voicemail message. If you can’t edit the website do you have someone you can contact? Don’t forget about posting on social media!
While I’m thinking of natural environmental disasters as I write this series, disasters can come in many other forms including blackouts, internet outage (localized and general), and localized office closures. (Yes I worked in mid-town Manhattan, how can you tell?)
- Ready NYC Guides and Resources – many of these guides are available not only in English, but also Spanish, Chinese, Russian, Arabic, Bengali, French, Haitian Creole, Italian, Korean, Polish, Urdu, and Yiddish. If you scroll down most of the page you can find guides specifically for businesses.
- FCC/FEMA Tips for Communicating During an Emergency
- Emergency and Evacuation Planning Guide for Employers from the California Department of Public Health
- OSHA Emergency Action Plans and Procedures eTool