The severe storms striking parts of the nation should remind bosses to take sensible precautions ahead of potentially deadly weather.
Simply put, hope for the best weather, but plan for the worst. Here are some suggestions.
Readers may consider preparations to be such a foregone conclusion that the topic sounds trite or corny. However, experience has told a different story.
I have met my share of tire dealers and service shop operators who found themselves in dire straits because they were wholly unprepared for weather emergencies.
Naturally, the levels of risk vary a great deal from one area of the country to another — not to mention the business' actual location. Please plan accordingly.
Usually, the earlier the warning, the better your chances are of saving life and limb — not to mention property from severe weather.
Therefore, take advantage of today's technology by putting a weather-warning application on your mobile telephone.
Better yet, be sure that personnel such as your manager, shop foreman and salespeople also have it.
Sure, some people are naturally nervous and curious about inclement weather, but during a hectic workday at your dealership or service shop, that telltale warning tone may be your only notice that severe weather really is close by.
You could hope that a radio or television in your customer lounge provides a timely warning or that a customer in the waiting lounge has the appropriate app on his or her mobile 'phone.
Err on the side of safety and download your own app.
Next, hold a required-attendance team meeting; discuss and identify the most-realistic severe-weather dangers to personnel and property.
With the entire staff present and involved, discuss practical responses to these threats. The threats, as well as the nature of responses, vary from one locale to another.
For example, people in some Great Plains states must cope with everything from tornadoes in the summer to blinding blizzards in the winter. Floods are a risk near some rivers, creeks, ravines, etc.
Consider some basic but valuable steps.
For example, identify the safest place within your facility to shelter during a tornado. Instruct your crew to hustle themselves and any customers present into that spot and stay there until the danger has passed.
If the preferred refuge is a community shelter nearby, then establish an escape plan to move customers and crew to it.
To me, there shouldn't be any guesswork or confusion about the most-fundamental safety maneuvers such as these.
In some areas, the crew should know how to cope with the threat of floods.
Establish a sensible plan for moving personnel and customers away from immediate danger.
But also set priorities and assign tasks for situations where the crew has reasonable time to prepare.
These priorities may involve moving any remaining vehicles to higher ground on your property or to some agreed-upon offsite location.
At some shops and dealerships, technicians raise vehicles (especially immobilized ones) several feet off the floor on the lifts. What's more, some crews use the traditional lifts to raise pieces of shop equipment off the shop floor.
Move as many portable or handheld testers as possible up onto shelves and workbenches.
Furthermore, a manager may be responsible for removing PCs, laptops and/or memory-storage devices from the building.
Meantime, a shop foreman may be tasked with shutting off all the shop's utilities before abandoning the site.
On the one hand, you realistically cannot anticipate every possible severe-weather scenario.
We could debate that topic for hours. On the other hand, your crew should understand their responsibilities and priorities in weather emergencies — long before a funnel barrels toward your business or floodwaters lap at the building.
All this said, I hope you never have to implement those emergency plans.