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Are you ready for winter?

We all know it will arrive in full force causing a wave of setbacks, canceled plans and other mishaps, yet it still seems to sneak up on us causing a rush to the store to make sure we have enough supplies – just in case.

In Oregon, we are prepared for rain and more rain from November until well, whenever it stops. What Oregonians are generally not prepared for is winter weather. When it snows here, it’s greeted with cheers from school children and “oh no, how I am going to get to work” by adults. Because we don’t have much bad weather, Oregonians are not prepared for when a snow, ice or wind storm hits.

And we should be. As Ben Franklin said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

On the local television news, a reporter interviewed two young women whose car had spun on black ice, causing them to go off the road. They thought they were only going to be gone a short while and didn’t dress for the weather – they were wearing pajamas, slippers and no coats.

We never think anything will happen and when it does, we are caught off guard.

Freezing temperatures have caused school delays and school closures the last two days in parts of Oregon while in Central and Eastern Oregon there has been more than a foot of snow in some areas, causing us to think – do businesses have a game plan for what to do and how to be prepared for winter weather.

Here are a few tips:

Communication

  1. Let your employees know what you expect from them if the weather makes roads unsafe to drive. Do you expect them to be at work or would you rather they arrive when the road conditions are safer? In our rush, rush, go, go society, most people would risk driving on unsafe roads than risk losing their job. Make sure your employees know what you expect of them.
  2. Thanks to social media – Facebook, Twitter… – it’s easier to find ways to communicate with your customers. Have a plan on how you will let your customers know you have to cancel appointments or open late.

Safety at your business

  1. Protect yourself and your business by making sure you have the tools and supplies you would need in case of an ice or snow storm so you can shovel or deice your sidewalks. The truth is we live in a world where if someone slipped and fell in front of your business, they may be thinking “Cha-ching.” It’s less expensive to have a shovel and some rock salt, then be faced with a law suit.
  2. Depending on where you live, know what winter emergency supplies you should have such as a generator or space heaters.
  3. Now is a good time to replenish your emergency supply kit at both your home and business. Visit www.ready.gov/build-a-kit to get a list of what you should have at both your home and business.

Expect the unexpected

  1. If you lost electricity at your office, how would you continue to run your equipment? While you cannot plan for everything, do have a plan in case you lose electricity or your phone service.
  2. Computers – now is a good time to talk with an expert about how to secure your data on your computer in case of an emergency – fire, flood or storm. There are pros and cons to using the cloud versus a hard drive.

You may make a plan and never use it. Have emergency supplies that gather dust. But it’s better to have a plan in place than to be caught in the dark and freezing. Here’s to a safe winter.

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