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As you prepare for scenarios such as a rare winter storm, how do you handle outside factors such as transportation issues preventing staff from getting to and from work?
Safety of the employees is always the most important concern. At the onset of a crisis, news is likely to spread quickly. Nevertheless, a formal plan must be in place and supporting protocols must be followed to ensure that all necessary notifications are reliably completed. Establish procedures related to communications with internal staff and include external audiences (i.e., media, community, etc.).
• Ensure your list of employee phone numbers is regularly updated and the required leadership or department head each has a copy to notify employees if conditions become unsafe to travel.
• Set up both an email address and a phone number, both of which should be manned just about 24/7.
• People may become stranded at the facility. Make sure there is adequate food and water available for onsite staff in case the storm's duration is extended or additional supplies are unavailable.
• The data center should have an emergency or disaster supply kits ready for emergencies containing items such as: food, water, manual can opener, eating utensils, personal hygiene items, etc. Have several battery-operated radios, spare batteries and a weather radio available to ensure you can receive emergency information. These items should always be stocked and regularly audited.
Answers provided by Chris Wade. Wade has been involved in the mission critical facilities industry for more than 25 years. He is currently the Technical Services Program Manager for Newmark Grubb Knight Frank (NGKF), based in Dallas, Texas.
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