Many areas of the country, including the greater Minneapolis area, are bracing for the return of the cold, brutal winter weather. Storms are always more severe in the winter and if the area is affected by heavy snow or ice, it could seriously disrupt your business. Preparing for the winter should be a point of emphasis for all businesses during the fall season so that you are not blindsided by the first winter storm. The following tips will help you prepare your business and employees for winter storms and help minimize the interruption they can cause to your daily business activities.
Discuss Winter Preparation with Employees
When preparing your business for the upcoming winter, it is important that everyone from the owner to the employees is aware of what to do if a winter storm hits. A severe snow storm can create a chaotic situation, but keeping your employees informed on your emergency procedures and their options will help keep the situation under control. Make sure you cover the following with your employees:
- Emphasize Personal Safety: Winter storms create dangerous driving conditions that can make it difficult for your employees to get to work. It is important to let your employees know that they should always put their safety first. If possible, you can even offer your employees the option of working from home. This way, the work can get done without putting your employees in danger.
- Pay Attention to Weather Updates: It is very important for everyone in your company to be informed on the latest weather updates. Encourage your employees to get text alerts so that they are always aware of what to expect. If you stay updated on current weather conditions, you can make a better decision about whether your business should remain open or close for the day.
- Discuss Emergency Supply Kits: Having an emergency supply kit handy can really help in severe winter weather. Talk to your employees about having emergency supply kits at home and in their vehicles.
- Review Emergency Weather Procedures: If is extremely important for your employees to understand your company’s policies and procedures when it comes to severe winter weather. They should also be familiar with any emergency plans so they know what to do in such a scenario. Make sure everyone knows what their roles and responsibilities are so that your staff will respond calmly to weather disasters. It also helps to practice your emergency plan before the winter weather arrives.
Form a Communication Plan
When a winter storm hits, employees, customers, and vendors may be unsure of how you plan to handle the situation. A well-defined communication plan will help you immediately notify everyone about your plan for the day. Make sure you compile a list of important contacts that includes phone numbers and email addresses. As mentioned above, your employees should be the first to be notified so that they know what to do. You should also have a plan in place to reach the following in an emergency:
- Business Contacts: In addition to your employees, you may need to reach business partners including vendors and clients in case of an emergency. These people play a role in the operations of your business and should be notified if there are any changes in your operations due to the weather. You can use your social media outlets to update your customers on the status of your business.
- Emergency Services: You never know if a winter storm will cause damage to your company’s property. Keep a list handy that includes the contact information for emergency services such as your insurance provider, the fire department, a plumber, heating professionals, the owner of the building, and a snow removal professional. This way you will be able to get in touch with these contacts immediately if there is an issue.
Review Your Insurance Policy
It is very important to know the terms of your company’s insurance policy so that you know exactly what is covered in the event of a winter storm. Check to see what type of damager you insurance will cover and reach out to your insurance agent if you have any questions. You should also check into what your coverage options are if your business is interrupted.
Check Your Property
Do an inspection of your building and the property around your building to identify any potential issues. If you are responsible for your parking lot, have the number of a snow removal professional ready. Look for hints of leaks inside and outside the building and make sure all doors and windows seal properly. You should also look for any areas where pipes may freeze or burst. It is best to do this inspection in the fall so that there is still time to fix any issues before the winter weather sets in.
Professional Storm Damage Restoration
Preparing your business for the winter with these tips will help you respond to emergencies caused by winter storms and limit the interruption to your business. However, even the best preparation cannot completely protect your property from damage. If a winter storm causes damage to your business in the Minneapolis, MN area, contact our professionals at ServiceMaster Professional Services for storm damage restoration. Our experts will respond immediately to clean up your property and restore the damage so you can resume your normal business operations.