Severe weather events in the United States are inevitable. Preparing your business for any type of emergency can be difficult, but the right tools (like a mass notification system, emergency and business continuity plan) can have a positive impact on employee safety.
Having a way to connect with employees is vital, but once you get the right tools, what do you send to communicate with them? In a mass notification system, a company can create templates and save them for when they are necessary. Having some in place for any drills, anticipated weather events or other critical events can save valuable time when it comes to reaching out to employees.
The Cost of Severe Weather
While safety is the first concern in any emergency, there are always unavoidable costs that follow. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the most costly event is a tropitcal cycline (hurricane) with an average cost of $22.3 billion in damages. Wildfires average a cost of $5.0 billion per event, floods average a coast of $4.3 billion per event, winter storms average $2.9 billion per event, and other severe storms can average $2.2 billion per event.
Alerts by Region
The severity of weather events is hard to foresee. Businesses are responsible for warning their employees of any delays, closures, and safety hazards.
The United States experiences a lot of hurricanes throughout the country, but they are most felt along the U.S. coastline. Florida, for example, has been directly hit by 120 hurricanes from 1851- 2018 according to the NOAA. Having a template, like the one below, can be a quick and efficient way to update employees on the office status.
Floods can occur at out of nowhere and water levels can rise drastically in a matter of hours. There was a national average of 5 days of high tide flooding that occurred within coastal communities in 2018-- this tied with the record which was set in 2015. Being able to warn employees of flash floods can have a drastic impact on employee safety. A sample alert (like the one below) ensures that businesses do their due diligence to keep employees safe.
An average of 1300 tornadoes hit the United States each year. Typically, people have 13 minutes to get to a safe place. Employees in areas with a high frequency of tornadoes need to be prepared in case of an emergency. With little notice, tornadoes can prove to be disastrous. Timely notifications can ensure employee safety throughout a tornado warning.
Wildfires can claim hundreds of thousands of acres in a single day. While wildfires can spark anywhere, the most well known location is California. In 2018, California experienced its costliest, deadliest, and largest wildfires to date. The camp fire ignited on November 8, 2018 and was not officially contained until 18 days later. The camp fire claimed more than 18,500 buildings which brought the total cost of California’s 2018 wildfires to $24 billion. Being able to quickly and safely evacuate employees is key in a wildfire situation. Having an alert ready to go can help with that process.
Winter storms can cause business delays and even closures. Illinois, on average, experiences five severe winter storms during the November-April period. The storms may only be heavy snow, or snow with ice, or ice only, but one storm can produce snowfall of 6 inches or more over 48 hours. Keeping employees off the roads can prove to be the safest option in some cases. Having an alert keyed to let employees know when the office is closed can do just that.
It can be hard to predict and anticipate any form of severe weather. It can never hurt to be over prepared with pre-set alert templates that can be sent out in a snap. Using an easy interface and reliable system can ensure that everything runs smoothly when it is needed most. Features like automatic weather notifications (as a FEMA Certified IPAWS Alert Origination Service Provider alerts are triggered by the National Weather Service), and a geotargeted notification can ensure employee communication and response through any storm or severe weather event.
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