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How to Implement a Winter Weather Emergency Communication Plan

Category - General
by Amanda Cupp on October 28th, 2015

Whether you are responsible for communicating with 100 people or 1,000, effective communication is essential. Being able to communicate with your contacts quickly and efficiently is especially important during times of high stress or danger, especially in the middle of winter. In order to ensure the safety of your people, you need to develop a practical communication plan that allows you to send emergency notifications to your entire group instantaneously.

Anticipating Critical Events

No matter how well you prepare, you cannot prevent every possible threat or disaster. Examples of unpredictable winter weather events that may be disastrous for your organization include:

  • Blizzards
  • White Outs
  • Ice Storms
  • Power Outages
  • Extreme Cold
  • Wind chills causing frostbite

These are just a few of the events that may put your group at risk. When any of these events occur or become likely, you will need to communicate with your group immediately in order to inform them of the situation and provide instructions. For example, if meteorologists are calling for blizzard-like conditions, everyone should be made aware of the storm and instructed to stay home and take cover. Likewise, if power outage occurs, your group should be notified to relocate to an area with working power and heat.

Preparing an Emergency Communication Plan
To ensure that you will be able to reach your group quickly in the event of a crisis, developing an emergency communication plan is essential. Follow the steps below to prepare an effective plan.

  1. Make a list of people you need to contact.
    The first step in creating a successful communication plan involves making a list of all the people you need to contact in the event of an emergency. In most cases, this list will include all of your group members. This can be employees, students, residents, tenants—you name it.
  2. Organize the list of contacts by “audience.”
    Organize the list of contacts by dividing them into various audiences. Examples of possible audiences include administrators, managers, volunteers, team leaders, and entry-level employees.
  3. Determine which events will require communication.
    Make a list of the different events that will warrant an activation of your emergency notification system. For each possible event, decide which audiences will be contacted.
  4. Choose one or more communication channels.
    Determine how you will contact your group in the event of an emergency. For example, you may decide to send emergency notifications via telephone, email, text message and/or social media.
  5. Collect contact information.
    Collect the relevant contact information from each of the individuals on your list. Maintain this information in an electronic database.
  6. Invest in an application or software program.
    To save time and facilitate quick communication in a crisis, consider investing in a program designed to send instantaneous communications to multiple recipients. For example, with One Call Now, you can send emergency notification via voice, email, and text to your entire group at the same time.

Source
http://www.ready.gov/business/implementation/crisis

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