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Disaster Preparedness

How to Keep Your Team Safe During a Blizzard

Winter storms can last for several days, causing power outages and dangerous driving conditions. Taking these steps can help to keep you and your employees safe during a blizzard. 

Listen to the local news for updates.

You and your employees should take precautions if you hear any of the following words, according to the Red Cross

  • Winter storm warning: This means that severe, potentially life-threatening winter conditions have begun, or will begin within the next 24 hours.
  • Blizzard warning: Expect frequent or constant winds of 35 miles an hour or more. There will also be falling or blowing snow that reduces visibility to less than a quarter mile, and these conditions are all expected to continue for at least three hours or more. 
  • Winter storm outlook: This means it’s possible your area will see a winter storm within the next two to five days. You should continue to listen to local media for updates. 

Notify your employees of the storm.

Touch base with your team to make sure that they’re aware of the impending storm. In addition to recounting your company blizzard response plan, it’s also a good idea to encourage your employees to:

  • Sign up for local weather warnings and text alerts.
  • Get important documents together to keep in a safe place.
  • Put together an emergency supply kit. Recommendations from the Red Cross can help.  
  • Create and follow their own family emergency communication plan.

Go over safety protocols for stranded vehicles.

If you or a member of your team has to go out for work or personal travel during a blizzard, it’s a good idea to know beforehand what to do in the case of a stranded vehicle.

  • The Red Cross recommends staying in the car and waiting for help – don’t leave the vehicle unless you can see assistance within 100 yards. Otherwise, blowing snow can cause disorientation and confusion.
  • Hang something from your radio antenna, like a brightly colored cloth, to show you need help. When the snow stops falling, raise the hood.
  • Turn on the vehicle for about 10 minutes every hour to keep warm. Doing this conserves fuel and lessens the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. 
  • Be sure to keep your exhaust pipe clear of snow. 
  • Open a downwind window for ventilation. 
  • If another person is in the car with you, take turns sleeping – falling asleep for too long can cause a dangerous decrease in circulation and body temperature.

Keep listening to local news. 

Make sure you stay up-to-date on the storm through local radio, television or other broadcasts. This can be especially helpful if you plan to send out a clean-up crew, as some access points may be blocked by downed power lines, snow or other obstacles.

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