Blog – Disaster Preparedness

Prepared employees help save customer lives

Tornadoes and storms continued to pummel the South over the weekend, wreaking havoc in 25 North Carolina counties. South Carolina, Virginia and Maryland also issued scattered tornado reports. The North Carolina twisters claimed the lives of 21 people and seriously injured 130 throughout the state, and President Obama has already pledged his support to Governor Beverly Perdue.

The Hardest Hit

Most of the injuries and fatalities occurred to those who were in mobile homes. Shaw University’s campus in Raleigh, NC experienced so much damage that it has cancelled what is left of its spring semester. Governor Perdue reported in an interview that thousands of acres of agricultural land were also destroyed by the tornadoes.

Advanced Planning Pays

A major franchised home improvement store in North Carolina experienced the fruits of its employee emergency disaster training during the turbulent weekend. Part of the company’s employee training includes directions about what to do in the event of a disaster, such as a tornado. As soon as employees recognized the signs of a tornado, they ordered the customers to go to the back of the store. An MSNBC report states that the employees had 1.5 to 2 minutes to react to the situation and get everyone to the safest area of the store, the back. Despite one customer’s protest, employees were able to get everyone in the building to safety just before a tornado ripped the front of store to shreds of twisted metal and broken glass.

Every company should create a business emergency disaster plan and incorporate it into ongoing employee training. The benefits of taking the time to do so are multi-fold, as employees will know how to act quickly, reach safety and help save the lives of others. A business disaster plan should also include steps to recover after an incident to help ensure speedy business continuity.

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