Ready for Disaster: Respond
Last week, we covered how to prepare for a disaster. When disaster actually strikes, your preparations need to be put into action. Here’s what to think about if that moment ever comes:
Depending on the disaster, protecting your dealership may involve the local authorities. If there’s a fire, threat, or power outage, alerting the proper authorities outside your dealership is essential to your safety. In other circumstances like a tornado, forest fire or flood, they may be alerting the community instead of the other way around. Either way, you should have an emergency response team in your dealership to ensure that someone will take point in your dealership should a disaster occur.
Before you do anything else, make sure that your employees, customers and anyone else in your dealership are safe. Evaluate whether you should advise people to leave the dealership or remain inside the dealership. Be sure to follow recommendations by the local authorities.
Secure the Building
While one team in your dealership is ensuring that everyone is safe, another team should work to secure the building. Make sure to turn off and unplug equipment, appliances and lights, lock all doors and close your gates.
Your communications team (which you should designate prior to a disaster) should communicate often to employees, customers and the community about how the disaster is affecting your dealership. This could involve sharing information about the safety of your employees, how you were affected, an alternate location or how to contact the dealership during the recovery. Consider directly contacting employees, sending emails, providing information to the local news and even using social media to provide updates.
How you respond in the midst of disaster has everything to do with how you prepare. Educate your team on disaster protocol and run practice scenarios to ensure your team is prepared. Next week, we’ll share how to recover and get your dealership back up and running after a crisis.