Will Your Employees Be Ready When Severe Weather Strikes?

Management, Training

The past couple decades have seen a significant increase in severe weather events. According to a United Nations report, from 2000 – 2019 there were 7,348 major natural disasters around the world, as opposed to 4,212 in the previous 20-year time span. No matter where you are, your convenience store will likely experience some sort of severe weather. Therefore, you need to make sure your staff is well-prepared and well-trained all year round. Severe weather can strike at any time, and you do not want to wait until the worst happens for your employees to be thinking about store procedure.

Know the 3 Levels of Weather Alerts

There are three levels of alerts associated with weather events, and each provides an idea of how serious or imminent an event may be.

  1. Watch: A watch is issued when the risk of an event has increased significantly, but its occurrence is still uncertain. It means severe weather is possible, and everyone should be prepared though they may not yet know exactly where or when the weather will strike.
  2. Advisory: An advisory means severe weather is imminent, though the conditions are less serious than what would constitute a warning.
  3. Warning: A warning indicates severe weather is occurring or imminent. The severe weather event could pose a threat to lives or property and everyone should take precautions immediately.

Create a Severe Weather Plan for Your Store

Put together a plan for employees to reference in the event of a severe weather emergency. You can print it out and leave it in a binder where anyone can access it. Be sure to include any important information employees may need, such as:

  • Phone numbers for emergency services.
  • Company personnel and emergency contact information.
  • Evacuation procedures.
  • Post-evacuation meeting location.
  • How to shut off power and fuel pump.

Prepare Employees for Severe Weather

It is crucial that your convenience store employees know how to respond during a severe weather event, for the safety of themselves and your customers. In order to ensure a calm and appropriate response, provide your staff with severe weather training that outlines how to respond, and follow that up with seasonal refresher training to keep the information top of mind. Here are a few things your employees should know:

Maintain control: It is important employees maintain control not only of the situation, but themselves as well. If they panic, everyone else will also. They need to take control of the situation and remain calm.

Stay informed: Employees should find a way to monitor the situation and stay in touch with any necessary company personnel.

Inform others with clear and exact announcements: It’s important for employees to be able to communicate necessary information clearly and concisely. Provide any necessary instructions and be firm, so coworkers and customers understand exactly what needs to happen.

Secure the store: Make sure all employees know the store procedures to follow, including locking the store if necessary. Make sure everything and everyone is safe and secure.

Be prepared for a power outage: Instruct employees on what to do in case of a power outage. Have flashlights on hand and make sure your staff knows where to find them. Also make sure everyone is aware of procedures for dealing with any issues that may arise from loss of power such as what to do with cash registers, coolers, security systems, etc.

Assist anyone who may be injured: Train employees on the basics of first aid so they know what to do in the event of injury and can provide assistance if necessary.

Identify and communicate next steps to take: Ensure your employees are well prepared for severe weather emergencies and know the procedures well enough that they can take charge of the situation and communicate clearly. A calm presence in charge of the situation will help maintain calm.

Severe Weather Preparedness Training

Ensure your convenience store employees are prepared to handle severe weather events with our Severe Weather Preparedness online training module. Delivered through the trainingGrid™ learning management system, this training covers the difference between watches and warnings, procedures to follow during specific severe weather events, and how to secure your establishment in the event of a power outage. Employees will also learn the importance of remaining calm and gain a clear understanding of the procedures to follow when a severe weather event occurs. Click here for a preview.

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