“Alberto is pushing deeper inland after making landfall in the Florida Panhandle on Memorial Day, causing flash flooding, mudslides, downed trees and power outages through parts of the South, East and central U.S. and prompting officials to warn of an imminent dam failure in North Carolina,” writes John Stempin and Scott Neuman in their recent NPR article entitled “Remnants Of Alberto Cause Dangerous Flooding In Parts Of Central And Eastern U.S.”
“Flooding and mudslides shut down highways in the mountains of North Carolina, west of Charlotte,” Stempin and Neuman explain.
According to the article, “Shortly after midnight, the National Weather Service and local authorities in McDowell County, North Carolina, issued evacuation warnings for people living downstream of Lake Tahoma, where they said a dam failure is ‘imminent."
“It included people living in Old Fort, a largely rural area about an hour from Asheville. It was not clear how many people were affected by the evacuation order,” the NPR piece continues.
"We've had a lot of rain, but we got lucky. It was a constant rain but not a heavy rain," Regina Myers, emergency management director in Walker County northwest of Birmingham, was quoted by The Associated Press as saying, shares Stempin and Neuman later in the NPR article.
While the dangerous flooding was not representative of a Hurricane, it prompted our concern and warranted an article.
Hurricane season starts June 1st in the United States, and Summer officially begins the end of June, which means heavy wind and rain is likely.
It also means you must be proactive.
You must be weather-ready.
We’re here to help!
Are you ready?
How to Become StormReady®
The National Weather Service (NWS) StormReady® Program was created to develop weather-ready communities throughout the United States.
According to NWS, “The StormReady program helps arm America's communities with the communication and safety skills needed to save lives and property--before, during and after the event. StormReady helps community leaders and emergency managers strengthen local safety programs.”
“StormReady communities, counties, Indian nations, universities and colleges, military bases, government sites, commercial enterprises and other groups are better prepared to save lives from the onslaught of severe weather through advanced planning, education and awareness. No community is storm proof, but StormReady can help communities save lives,” explains the NWS StormReady® website here.
According to the NWS, the program uses a “grassroots approach” to helping communities proactively manage severe weather situations.
There are five essential items you need in place to officially become StormReady®:
- Establish a 24-hour warning point and emergency operations center
- Have more than one way to receive severe weather warnings and forecasts and to alert the public
- Create a system that monitors weather conditions locally
- Promote the importance of public readiness through community seminars
- Develop a formal hazardous weather plan, which includes training severe weather spotters and holding emergency exercises.
Some of our customers, including the Nashville Predators, became StormReady® last year, and we encourage you to do the same for your property.
Weather Strategy Ideas You Can Use
Not quite weather-ready yet?
Need some ideas on what you can do to be proactive?
Don’t sweat it – we’ve got you covered.
Whether you have guidelines in place already, are looking for a benchmark to get started, or plan to become StormReady®, we all must anticipate Mother Nature’s fury.
Below are a few weather strategy ideas you could use to ensure your property is handling severe weather better than yesterday.
- Upon determining that weather conditions will threaten the safety of customers and staff, your Operations Center will contact you and other need-to-know personnel to advise accordingly.
- The Operations Center will inform the police department and security to prepare to assist customers to move to shelter or to evacuate.
Move to Shelter
- A public announcement will inform the customers of the threatening situation and their option to leave the property.
- Customers will be advised of safe areas to seek shelter on the property should such areas be available.
A public service announcement (PSA) will notify customers that a report of impending weather problems requires the property to postpone operations.
- Upon notice of evacuation, all appointed staff shall go to their assigned evacuation posts.
- All other staff shall exit the property to a location and assemble for headcount.
- Proceed to assigned locations as if the property were about to close, and open the doors. If an exit key is not available, one can be obtained from a supervisor.
- Ensure that all exits are open.
- Direct customers out of the property and make sure that customers do not re-enter the property.
- Position themselves near each exit if the property were about to close, and assist in directing customers out of the property to the closest exit as quickly and efficiently as possible.
- Upon being relieved, reassemble with the supervisor at a location for headcount. Attendance will be taken.
Personnel at Escalators & Elevators
- Position themselves at each exit to the escalators and elevators as if the property were about to close, and assist in directing customers out of the property as quickly and efficiently as possible.
- Calmly advise exiting customers that the elevators and escalators will not be working during an evacuation. The stairs must be used.
- Direct customers out of their office area toward the nearest exit as quickly and efficiently as possible.
- Assist the physically challenged.
- Advise any physically challenged in your area that in the case of an evacuation, the elevators and escalators will not be in service.
- Parking operations should prepare to open all exit gates as if the property is closing.
- Parking operations should stand by for directives from the Operations Center concerning blocking off the gate(s) and sections of the property perimeter road for use by emergency vehicles.
- Upon all vehicles leaving the property, parking operations will reassemble with supervisors for headcount.
The Weather Passes
Now let’s say the weather passes your property.
Wet patches will most likely remain, right? This scenario means incidents such as wet spills can occur. These can quickly escalate to major medical issues from a slip & fall.
Here are a couple things you can have in place to achieve Proactive Operations when the weather passes.
- You need to trust that your team handles the aftermath appropriately. Train them well to keep your customers and themselves safe.
- Implement a real-time communications platform inclusive of an incident management system and associated mobile incident reporting technology.
We can help you put each of these in place.
But, you’ve got to act fast – June 1st is only a day away.
Over to You
Are you prepared for this Summer and the possible weather conditions it brings along? We want you to be proactive, whether that means becoming StormReady® or customizing some of the weather strategy ideas we provide in this article.
Either way, it’s critical for you to take the safety of your customers and staff seriously. Use the information we shared to augment your operation – and be a weather-ready property – from this day forward.
So, are you ready?