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This year is likely to be a rough one for extreme weather events. When these events unfold in a normal business day, that’s when your emergency communications will sink or shine.

Employees who know what to do in an emergency have a higher chance of survival. It’s too important to leave to chance.

As the 2018 hurricane season approaches, it’s critical that organizations consider their emergency communication plan.

What’s at stake? More than 100 people died in storms in the U.S. last year, the highest number since 2005, and an estimated US$200 billion in damage was caused.

The likelihood of further hurricanes is increasing. Of the 33 category 5 hurricanes worldwide since 1924, 11 have occurred in the past 14 years. There’s a 70 percent likelihood of between 10 and 16 named storms hitting in 2018.

The U.K. will also be at increasing risk. The two wettest winters in U.K. history were in 2013 and 2015, and experts predict that volatile weather conditions will continue in the future.

It’s critical to be able to effectively reach staff during such times of crisis. There are steps organizations can take before, during and after an event that will make them better able to weather the storm.

1. Be prepared—before the event.

Prepare an emergency communication plan, defining the messages to be sent, the recipients and the coordinators.

Create a series of pre-configured messages that can be triggered to send instantly. For example, instructions for staff to “Evacuate immediately.”

Maintain an up-to-date contact list to ensure no one is left out, paying particular attention to any mobile, remote or contract staff.

Define the communication tree so that it’s clear who’s ultimately responsible for publishing content.

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