“It is summertime,” you shout to your team across the room.
They respond with blank stares. You’re telling them something they already know.
The majority of your team is from the area, so they know what type of weather to expect this time of year.
Today’s no different than any other summer morning meeting. You run through tonight’s event, review the weather forecast, and send your team off to the races.
“Expect some rain today,” Luke, your operations manager yells as everyone disperses into the building.
Luke rushes over to you following the meeting.
“I’m going to get some sandbags together in case the rain gets out of hand today,” he tells you as he takes another sip of his coffee.
“We should be all right today,” you respond. “But, go ahead. Ask Matt and his security team to give you a hand,” he continues.
45 minutes into the event, you hear the crack of lighting, followed by heavy thunder that shakes the building. The rain begins hitting the metal roof of your offices.
You open a new tab in Google Chrome to check the weather radar your property uses. It looks like you’re going to get hit with a severe thunderstorm.
Your property relies on the revenue generated by events like tonight. Canceling the event is not an option.
Lightning cracks again. You have no choice. You must get everyone to safety.
But, is your property prepared for the adverse weather – that’s already here?
It’s also a matter of time before the rain reaches a level that’s devastating to your property and the people you’re charged with protecting.
What’s your plan?
Louisiana Faces the Worst Flooding Since Sandy
In Alexander Smith’s recent NBC article “Louisiana Flooding: Volunteers Descend on Stricken State to Assist Relief Efforts” he writes, “More than 1,000 volunteers from every state were descending on flood-stricken Louisiana Wednesday to assist relief efforts for what the Red Cross called the nation's worst disaster since Superstorm Sandy.”
The article continues that, “At least 11 people have been killed, some 40,000 homes affected and 30,000 people rescued in what officials have described as some of the worst flooding ever to hit the state.”
Here at ISS 24/7, we’d like to extend our prayers and condolences to the families stranded and left without shelter, and the relatives of the victims taken by this terrifying natural disaster.
According to Smith’s article, "Most of Louisiana has received at least one foot of rain since Friday — with some places getting as much as 30 inches, according to the National Weather Service. Although the water has receded in some areas, it's still rising in others as the floodwaters move downstream toward the Gulf of Mexico.”
While we mourn the victims of this tragedy, we also recognize the importance of preparing your property for unforeseen instances where adverse weather approaches.
Because as we all know, the outcome can change quickly.
You must be prepared.
Proactively Ensure Guest Safety in the Midst of Adverse Weather
We find it vital to share essential information even during the darkest of times. This time of year is known for torrential rains, thunderstorms, and potentially hurricanes.
We’re heartbroken that Louisiana was hit by flooding that is being compared to and used in the same sentence of Superstorm Sandy. But, we need to do our part.
The way we do that is to provide you with insight that we’ve gained from years of working with top industry professionals like yourself. Below are highly recommended steps for managing the impact of severe weather.
Whether you have guidelines in place already or are looking for a benchmark to get started, we all must respect the power of nature – and employ Proactive Operations.
Event or Game Day
- Upon determining that weather conditions will threaten the safety of guests and participants at an event, your Command Post operator will contact the Manager on Duty (MOD) and the Incident Management Team and the Event Promoter (that is, if time permits) to advise accordingly.
- The Command Post will inform the police department and event security to prepare to assist guests to move under shelter or to evacuate.
Moving Guests to Nearest Shelter
- A public announcement will inform the guests of the impending situation and their option to leave the property.
- Guests will be advised of safe areas to seek shelter on the property should such areas be available.
Detailed Evacuation Order
A public service announcement (PSA) will notify guests that a report of pending weather problems requires the event be canceled.
- Upon notice of evacuation, all security, ushers, maintenance, police, and fire rescue personnel shall go to their assigned evacuation posts.
- All food and merchandise vendors shall close their stands, secure their inventory and lock their cash drawers. Upon stand closure, all vendors shall exit the property to a particular location and assemble for headcount.
Relocating Event/Security Personnel to Gates
- Proceed to assigned gates as if the event were about to end, and open the gates. If a gate key is not available, one can be obtained from the event staff supervisor.
- Ensure that all gates are open. All turnstiles should be closed.
- Direct guests out of the property and make sure that guests do not re-enter the property.
- Position themselves near each exit from the seating areas as if the event were about to end, and assist in directing guests out of the property to the closest exit as quickly and efficiently as possible.
- Upon being relieved, reassemble with the supervisor at a particular location for headcount. Attendance will be taken.
Staff at Ramps/Elevators
- Position themselves at each exit to the ramps as if the event were about to end, and assist in directing guests out of the property as quickly and efficiently as possible.
- Calmly advise exiting guests that the escalators will not be working during an evacuation. The ramps must be used.
Seating Area Staff
- Respond to the front of your section as if the event has ended.
- Direct guests out of their seating 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 will not be in service.
On-Field Event/Security Staff
- Assist the police department with escorting officials from the field.
- Secure all playing field entrances to the ground level tunnel.
- Ensure that no one is allowed to re-enter the playing field except authorized personnel.
- Upon all the staff and officials exiting the property, and being relieved, reassemble with your supervisor for headcount.
- Parking operations should prepare to open all exit gates as if the event has ended.
- Parking operations should stand by for directives from the command post 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.
Let’s say the weather passes.
Puddles remain, which means incidents such as wet spills can occur. These can quickly escalate to major medical issues.
You need to trust that your team handles the aftermath appropriately, right? Train them, and train them well to keep your guests and themselves safe during the entire process.
Properly Trained Staff Is a Necessity for Safety
You need a professionally trained team to execute these adverse weather methods.
They must be ready for anything. Anything that can happen will happen, especially when excessive rain is involved.
You’ve got to 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 adverse weather.
Be the proactive leader they require.
You have to prepare for the unexpected. Use tabletop exercises to run through real-life scenarios using the methods above.
- Can employees identify potential hazards before they occur or escalate?
- Who do they communicate with first when an incident such as a slip and fall occurs?
- How do they handle a scenario where someone is injured during an evacuation?
- Does your team know how to use the incident management mobile app to follow protocols to handle?
- Can your team communicate with the command center and others effectively?
- How efficiently can they report an incident using your mobile app?
You need to deliver the safest experience. Do you agree?
Then, increase your ability of keeping everyone safe during weather-related scenarios by supplementing your trained staff with progressive incident management software.
Leverage Your Incident Management System for Coordination
Training your employees on the procedures above is smart.
But, you cannot rely on them to recall every aspect of their training – especially on types of issues that do not happen often.
You need everything communicated effectively. You also need your team to execute these protocols efficiently.
You must put the right incident management infrastructure in place to get real-time data and have communication throughout all your departments.
Real-time communication is the only way to receive real-time data. It’s crucial during severe weather and an emergency.
You want to eliminate poor communication and how it affects the safety of your guests.
Incident management software lets your team communicate and understand the information needed during weather-related events.
Enhance your system with incident management mobile apps. These apps will help your command center communicate protocols efficiently.
- Your frontline staff can report incidents in seconds;
- You’ll have all the associated incident information in your system;
- With a couple of clicks of a button, the information will be transmitted to your entire team.
What does this accomplish?
It leads to 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. All of the need-to-know information populates on employees’ mobile device – instantly.
Your team takes action. They mitigate the incident and your evacuation proceeds.
How’s this result for Proactive Operations? How professional does your team look? We think you know the answer.
Do you see how having all of the following in place can help you prepare your property for adverse weather?
- Predetermined methods for managing a weather-related scenario
- Proactively trained employees to execute with the utmost professionalism
- Incident management software to coordinate your efforts
Preparation is proactive. Now, you are a proactive operation.
Over to You
As floodwaters continue to affect the lives of many Louisiana residents, we hope this article can – at least – prepare your property for adverse weather.
Use the guidelines listed in this article to assist your proactive operation. Do what is necessary to keep your guests, staff, and property safe from Mother Nature.
Stay safe, friends.