by Ron Daly
I’m surprised I’m in the office and able to write this today – last Wednesday, it felt like I’d never get back out of my car.
I left work a little after 3:00 p.m. to drive to my home, about fifteen miles away from my office. On a good day, I make it to work in about twenty minutes, on a bad day, forty.
Last Wednesday, it took me five hours to make it home. Through a sheet of ice that fell in the early afternoon and nearly a half-foot of snow, I soldiered on to my home where, once I arrived, I realized I didn’t have power or heat. What a day.
That same day, Northwest Federal Credit Union was using the Exigent911 business continuity communication system to warn employees about closings, bad weather and next-steps in the BCP. The credit union used the system 3 times in 2 days to send the same message at one time, via text, email and voice recording. My wife and the other 400 plus employees received the “delayed opening” message around 8pm Wednesday night. The credit union also sent emails to every member to tell them about delays and changed hours. Very handy when the weather turns crummy, or for any other issues that arise.
Many of those folks did not come into work today, I guarantee that. Here’s some possible take-away points that could have helped many.
- As soon as bad weather is predicted, fill your car’s gas tank.
- If bad weather is predicted, plan a route to your home that doesn’t involve hills. Or at least avoids the bad ones.
- If bad weather is predicted, make sure you have what you need in your car, including warm clothes, water, etc.
This could be accomplished with a simple email to your staff once bad weather is on the horizon. That won’t solve every problem, but it will increase the likelihood that your staff makes it home safely. Which means they’ll be back at work sooner.
We’re happy our team was able to get home safely and soundly, but even happier that they shared their horror stories with us. Here are a few choice excerpts:
Traci, an Account Manager, said:
[My husband] and I (knock on wood) were very lucky both last night and this morning. What usually takes us 25 minutes on the best day, at non-rush hour times, took us an hour last night and 35 minutes this morning. My parents went to lunch…didn’t pay attention to the fact that the government closed early…started back to our neighborhood around 3:30pm. They got home at midnight. Decided to stop and sit at a restaurant for quite awhile to see if the traffic died down…never did.
Amy, the Operations Manager, said:
It took [my husband] 4 hours to go about 10 miles and he ended up staying at a hotel.
Jimmy, the Creative Media Director, said:
I was in my car for two hours, then another hour looping around to a nearby shopping center where I ditched my car and walked to a friend’s apartment. I stayed the night there and left early the next morning. Cars were abandoned on the sides of the road and nothing was plowed, so even on the bright, fairly warm morning that followed it was still an awful drive home.
Communication plays a key role in BCP plans.