Adapting To Climate Uncertainty

Strategies facility executives can use to weather-proof business operations.

By Shannon Copeland
From the February 2024 Issue


Climate change, a global phenomenon, is subtly yet significantly altering the rhythm of our planet’s seasons. The familiar patterns of weather events, once predictable, are now shifting and becoming increasingly variable. Winters are arriving later, summers are starting sooner, but these changes are not uniform across the globe. The effects of climate change on seasonality are gradual and can vary from year to year, disrupting the typical cadence of the seasons. This disruption is not just changing our calendars, but also affecting the delicate balance of ecosystems that rely on these seasonal cues. As facility executives navigate through this era of change, understanding these shifts becomes crucial in efforts to mitigate risk of potential business disruption and damage.

climate change, business disruption
(Photo: Adobe Stock / Sasint)


Proactive Weather Awareness

Staying informed about weather conditions is crucial for businesses to reduce the risk of weather disasters. Site specific weather alerts and regular updates provide valuable lead time, allowing businesses to activate their emergency response and business continuity plans proactively. This could involve securing assets, backing up critical data, or even evacuating personnel when necessary. Furthermore, having custom weather alerts for business locations and business guidance from credible meteorologist helps with operational decisions, such as scheduling outdoor work or managing supply chains, to avoid disruption. Ultimately, being weather-aware is a key aspect of risk management, enhancing a business’s resilience and capacity to bounce back from weather-related disruptions.

climate change, business disruption
(Photo: Adobe Stock / Burlingham)

Emergency Response Plans

Business Continuity and Emergency Response Plans are critical components of an organization’s risk management strategy. These plans ensure the uninterrupted performance of essential functions during a weather disaster or disruption. They outline procedures for maintaining operations, protecting personnel and assets, and restoring normal activities as swiftly as possible. Emergency Response Plans specifically focus on immediate actions, such as evacuation procedures, communication protocols, and first aid measures. On the other hand, Business Continuity Plans address longer-term challenges, like supply chain disruptions, IT system failures, and reputational damage. Adapting to climate uncertainty means having Emergency Response Plans that address common weather disasters for the region, but also having contingency plans for unusual weather events. Together, these plans provide a comprehensive approach to crisis management, enabling organizations to navigate unforeseen events effectively and minimize their impact.

Regular Supply Checks And Maintenance

Business Continuity and Emergency Response Plans
(Photo: Adobe Stock / APchanel)

Regular supply checks and maintenance of emergency tools are fundamental practices for businesses to mitigate the risk of weather disasters. These proactive measures ensure that resources are readily available and functional when a crisis strikes. Regular inventory checks help identify shortages or surpluses in emergency supplies, allowing businesses to maintain an optimal stock level. Similarly, routine maintenance of emergency tools, such as generators, communication devices, and safety equipment, ensures their reliability during critical moments. These practices not only enhance a business’s resilience to weather disasters but also contribute to the safety and well-being of its employees

Together, Business Continuity and Emergency Response plans provide a comprehensive approach to crisis management, enabling organizations to navigate unforeseen events effectively and minimize their impact.

In a changing climate, being prepared at all times becomes increasingly important. Tennessee and Florida both experienced tornadoes this winter that are atypical for the season and by integrating these steps into their risk management strategy, businesses can better prepare for, respond to, and recover from weather-related disruptions or disasters.

Businesses can significantly enhance their resilience to weather disasters through proactive measures and informed decision-making. Regular checks and maintenance of emergency supplies and tools ensure readiness, while staying updated with weather conditions allows for timely activation of response plans. These practices, coupled with the implementation of comprehensive Business Continuity and Emergency Response Plans, equip businesses to navigate through crises effectively. By integrating these strategies into their risk management framework, businesses can not only mitigate the impact of weather disasters but also safeguard their operations, assets, and most importantly, their people.

weather emergenciesPreparing For  Compounding Disasters

Compounding disasters are forcing organizations to evaluate their risks and response plans. Read more…

Copeland is an industry manager for StormGeo and a graduate of the University of Oklahoma’s School of Meteorology. During her tenure, she supported numerous research initiatives focused on severe weather, emergency management, and disaster preparedness and recovery. As an industry manager, Shannon supports StormGeo’s outreach strategy and aids in identifying and mitigating weather-related risks to businesses and their employees.

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