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“Erica Brown called 911 for two days before a helicopter finally spotted her, trapped in her Houston home with her 7-month-old son and three other children. Sometimes when she called, she got nothing, just a busy signal, and a disconnection. Multiple times she was told that they'd try to send help. Hours would go by with no rescue,” writes Rebecca Hersher in her recent NPR article entitled “You Only Get One Life In This World': Voices From Houston's Convention Center.”
According to Hersher’s article, “The family spent two nights in their trailer watching the floodwaters from Tropical Storm Harvey rise up the foundation. ‘It was a hard feeling because I thought me and my kids were going to lose our life in this hurricane disaster."
“On Tuesday around 11 a.m., a rescue team finally came,” Hersher writes.
"The helicopter came over my house, and I heard him, and he saw me waving the white shirt. And he came on down, and he got us in the basket and pulled us up. They had to go two-by-two in the basket. She sent her two oldest girls, a third-grader and a first-grader, up first with a small suitcase of clothes,” says Brown, 29, in the NPR piece.
Hersher continues, “When the basket came back down, she lifted her kindergartner in ahead of her and then carried her infant son. It was still raining.”
“Brown and her family are now among the estimated 9,000 people at the downtown George R. Brown Convention Center, where officials said they had been expecting about 5,000. Outside on Tuesday, the scene is chaotic, with police, Red Cross volunteers and National Guard members patting people down, directing traffic and trying to help new arrivals and people dropping off donations,” according to the article.
It’s a great feeling to learn of proactive operations like George R. Brown Convention Center taking action to help those in need.
But, before we continue we’d like to share this message:
Each and every one of us at ISS 24/7 would like to extend our prayers and condolences to the families affected by Hurricane Harvey, and the relatives of the victims taken by this ongoing disaster.
Now whether your property is StormReady or not, we believe we can offer some best practices for protecting your property (and community) the event that adverse weather hits.
Keep reading; we’re going to share quick, actionable ways to counter the effects of inclement weather.
Below are our recommended steps for managing the impact of severe weather on your property (and your community).
It’s time to keep the tens, hundreds, and thousands of people you’re charged with protecting safe.
Whether you have guidelines in place already, are looking for a benchmark to get started, or plan to become StormReady, you must anticipate these threats.
Here are some ways to be ready for adverse weather threatening your property, and the people you protect:
A public service announcement (PSA) will notify patrons that a report of pending weather problems requires the event be canceled.
Now, the weather passes your property. Puddles will most likely remain, right?
This scenario means incidents such as wet spills can occur. These can quickly escalate to major medical issues, starting with a slip & fall.
You need to trust that your team handles the aftermath appropriately. Train them well to keep your patrons (and themselves) safe.
Train your team to execute these adverse weather methods. They’ve got to be ready for anything!
So, set your team up for success.
Develop their knowledge of your property’s guidelines.
Show them how to mitigate incidents that stem from the after-effects of severe weather. Be the proactive leader they need.
Use tabletop exercises to run real-life practice scenarios using the methods above. Do it while asking and answering these seven questions:
Deliver the safest experience. Practice like everyone’s life depends on it because it just might one of these days.
Training your employees on the procedures above is a good practice. But, don’t rely on them to recall every aspect of training.
Certain types of situations don’t always happen, which means they’ll likely forget how to perform when the times comes.
You need everything communicated effectively.
You also need your team to execute these protocols efficiently.
Put the right incident management infrastructure in place to get real-time data. Have communication throughout all your departments.
Real-time communication is the only way to receive real-time data. It’s especially important during severe weather.
You must eliminate poor communication and how it affects the safety of your patrons.
So, how do you accomplish this?
An Incident management system (IMS) helps your team communicate and understand the information needed during weather-related events.
Don’t stop at your IMS.
Enhance your system with incident management mobile apps.
These apps will help your command center communicate protocols efficiently.
What does all of this help you achieve? Faster response times.
Everyone is being notified simultaneously and without communication bottlenecks.
The system captures all of the actions associated with an incident. Then, it communicates proper protocols to your teams.
Let’s say that a high priority incident occurs as a result of your most recent evacuation.
Your staff doesn’t hesitate with an implemented system.
How professional does your team look? We think you know the answer.
This ability is Proactive Operations.
Do you see how having all of the following safeguards in place can help you prepare your property for unfavorable weather?
Preparation like this is how you keep your patrons, property, and community safe during events and any other time you’re needed.
Hurricane Harvey is still on its destructive path, and while we may not be able to do much, we offer these guidelines to you for consideration.
You don’t know when the adverse weather will hit your property. But, taking the time to prepare now will ensure the safety of your patrons when the time comes.