Does Your Company Need A Tornado Preparedness Plan?
Although tornados can pop up unexpectedly, what shouldn’t be unexpected is how your company reacts when one hits. Having a severe weather safety and tornado preparedness plan in place is important so that employees can be ready for a tornado, know how to stay safe during a storm, and minimize risks during recovery.
Spring and Summer produce optimal conditions for tornados, so now is the time to develop and implement a tornado preparedness plan if you don’t already have one.
Step 1 – Planning
Developing a comprehensive tornado safety plan is priority number one. OSHA has a short list of resources to get you started, but if you require a more in-depth plan and need professional help, a safety consulting company can help.
Some basic factors to consider when developing your tornado safety plan include:
- Where will employees and customers take shelter?
- Basements and shelters below ground are ideal
- Alternatively, choose interior rooms with no windows
- Avoid cafeterias, gyms and auditoriums that have flat roofs
- What about employees caught outdoors when a tornado hits?
- How will you account for employees?
- Using a badge system already allows you to know who is in the building, or not, when a storm approaches
- Alternatively, have a loud warning system and conduct practice drills so employees know what to do when they hear the sirens
- Use a roster to account for employees as they arrive at the designated shelter
- For customers, manually notate names and addresses if possible
- How will you handle recovery in the aftermath of the storm?
- Floods, downed power lines, heat stress, debris, and spilled chemicals can cause hazards even more dangerous than the storm itself
- Specific guidelines should indicate when management can safely give the “all clear” for employees to return to work or home
- Designated employees should be responsible for set tasks including power restoration, systems check, clean up, and making calls for emergency services
Step 2 – Getting Equipped
While there are basic supplies anyone caught in a tornado should have on-hand, a business is going to need a lot more than the standard disaster kit that families are urged to keep in their storm shelter. Working with a safety management consultation firm can help you not only develop your severe weather safety plan, but also help you with the everyday logistics and practical execution.
Some basic disaster kit supplies include:
- Battery-operated NOAA weather radio
- One gallon of water per person per day
- Three day’s supply of non-perishable food
- First aid kit
- Flashlights and batteries
- Cellphones and cordless power banks
Step 3 – Training
Even the best tornado safety plans and intentions will fall flat if employees do not receive thorough training and conduct regular practice drills.
- Be ready for a tornado by practicing your severe weather safety plan, having employees go to their designated shelter location and making sure management understands how to account for employees and customers
- Role play various scenarios that might fall outside of your plan
- Update your tornado safety plan and procedures as practice runs reveal opportunities for improvement or clearer procedures
With storm season upon us, now is the time to develop and implement your severe weather safety and tornado preparedness plan. If you need help developing a plan that is specific to your business and that meets OSHA regulations, contact Optimum Safety Management at (630) 759-9908.