We’ve been working on updating our EAP (Emergency Action Plan) to reflect the changes for moving into our new space.  June 1st also marks the beginning of hurricane season here in Florida and as last year showed us, we need to be ready!  Irma took us out of action for a good solid week.  The building, and thankfully all of us here at IA Stage, survived just fine, but we were without power for a full week.  These days, most businesses rely very heavily on electric power to run machines and computers.  There is very little that can be done effectively without power.

One of the things we’ve done for our EAP is set up a communication tree.  This is a simple yet very effective tool. It’s important if your main base of operations is out of commission for any reason – hurricane, fire, flooding, volcano – everyone knows where to look for status updates about the physical plant and when it was safe to come back to work. Most folks, despite losing power, had ways to keep key communications devices charged and stayed in touch via texts, Facebook, or by simply calling.  By splitting up the responsibilities between departments and supervisors, we were able to effectively keep everyone abreast of news regarding the status of the building and when we were looking to have folks reporting back to the office or mobile job sites.

The communication tree was pretty simple. We were able keep over 80 people in the loop in just three steps.

Step 1:   President & GM contacted Office Admin/HR & a Designated Project Manager, respectively.

Step 2:   Office Admin/HR contacted Accounting, Marketing & Sales Department Managers.
The Designated PM contacted the rest of the PM Department plus the Shop Foreman.

Step 3:   The Sales Manager contacted the Sales Team Members.
A 2nd PM contacted the Senior Field Supervisors.
The Shop Foreman contacted the Shop Team Members.
Senior Field Supervisors contacted members of their respective crews.

This was also a great place to find support among colleagues. We were also able to share important resources such as where to find water or gas, or to share backup generators when some folks got power back and didn’t need theirs anymore.

How is your company’s EAP?  Reviewed it lately?  Does everyone know of what to do in case of an emergency that shuts down your main base of operation? As with anything, communication is the key.  If you can keep everyone talking, you can keep things moving.