Today in Atlanta, Georgia many businesses are opening their doors to find that their offices have been damaged by a tornado that struck the downtown area of the city. This literally hit very close to home, as we are located in the Atlanta area. As I hear reports today I wonder what people are going through as they walk into their downtown offices only to find the windows broken out and all the paperwork in their office sucked out and gone. What will be the disruption to their business? And how long will they be in a state of chaos? I wonder if they are prepared? Did they have a plan in place to handle this disruption? Do you?
It is fortunate that this tornado struck at night, even though it was during a basketball tournament. The game had gone into overtime and thus the fans were still in the arena rather than being on the street, thus injuries were limited. If this had occured during the day, when the offices that were damaged were open, the results might had been different. So HR departments need to make sure that there is an emergency plan in place and that it is practiced. All employees need to make sure they are familiar with the plan as well. This applies to fire, flood, tornado, hurricanes, earthquake or whatever.
Although they were much maligned because of Hurricane Katrina FEMA does have an emergency plan that can be used. So be aware, be prepared and be trained.