Getting the Office Ready for Winter Storms
When the weather forecast predicts a serious winter storm, keep these preparation tips in mind for your small business:
- Communicate with your employees: Have a predetermined way to communicate with all employees to let them know if the store or office will be open that day.
- Let customers know if and when you’re closing: If you will be closing early due to a blizzard, or not opening at all, use social media channels to relay that information. If you have a store-front, make sure to post a sign notifying your customers of your closing as well.
- Salt the sidewalks: If you plan for your small business to be open during the winter storm, be sure to brine or salt the sidewalks to prevent ice from forming and causing slippery situations.
- Keep an eye on power lines: If you see a downed power line near your business, call 911 immediately and do not go near it, it could still live with electricity. Try to prevent any customers from getting near it as well.
- Consider buying a generator: Have a generator for any important devices or products needing electricity, like walk-in coolers and food storage.
- Check on your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors: Regularly replacing batteries for smoke and carbon monoxide detectors is a good practice, and especially important if you will be using a generator. Tip: if you’re using a portable generator, never keep it indoors. They produce high levels of carbon monoxide and could cause harm to those inside.
- Have mailing back-up plans: Think about what things you rely on the mail service to provide. If you have payroll checks or other important documents coming in the mail, and the roads are too bad for mail to be transported, do you have other ways of accessing them? Contact whoever is sending your important documents to ensure that mail interruptions will not cause disaster in your small business.
Winter Emergency Kit for a Small Business
In extreme cases of winter storms, you and your employees may become snowed in at work, or need to wait out the storm. In areas where heavy snowfall is typical, consider making a winter emergency kit for your small business to ensure winter workplace safety. These items, provided by FEMA include:
- A hand-crank or battery-charged radio
- Water and food snacks
- A whistle or noisemaker that can be used to signal for help
- Copies of important business documents, all kept in a waterproof and fireproof container.
- Flashlights and/or candles First-aid kit Moist towelettes or hand sanitizer
- Extra toiletries (including feminine hygiene products)
- Cell phone chargers for all types of cellular devices (and/or portable cell phone power banks or chargers)