How to Prepare for Severe Weather Events as a Dealer
When we decided to include Weather Event Preparation as a Dealership topic, we thought about the timing. When do we talk about Weather Events?
Certainly, late spring is the best time to talk about preparing for Hurricanes. Late winter/early spring is always a good time to prepare for Hail discussions. And, fall is the time to make sure you are ready for those Nor’easters. But, we can’t forget about wildfire discussions which happen in the fall. So those need to be on the table in early/mid summer.
Bottom line, there is a potential weather event that affects a particular part of the country almost year round.
So, when is the best time to talk Weather Event Preparation? Answer: anytime and often!
Let’s begin with the common threads of concern in any natural disaster. They are: Loss of Life, Destruction of Property, and Damage to our Customer’s Property. We should be concerned with each and in that order of importance.
The best way to handle these is with a solid and tested preparedness plan for each.
The welfare of your people has to be the first and foremost concern. Some disasters, like tornados, provide little advanced warning. Others, like Hurricanes or Nor’easters, give more time to plan and evacuate. Whatever the event, it is important to take all steps, appropriate and necessary, to ensure the safety of employees. You should have up to date contact information on every employee and an active phone tree to make certain everyone is contacted as soon as the threat has passed. This allows you to resume operations quickly and shows your concern for the well-being and safety of your Dealership Team.
Secondly, take all measures necessary to protect your property. This includes clearing storm drains to prevent or limit flooding on the lot, trimming trees and shrubs, and making certain the building and grounds maintenance is up to date. This is particularly important prior to the ‘’season’’ that affects your particular region.
Have your Operations Manager test your generators before they are needed. Confirm that the computer systems will be properly backed up, and find a safe location for your inventory. Engage your Management Team and Dealership resources to properly secure everything prior to evacuation. Even if you are fortunate enough to escape severe damage, you may be without power. Having alternative sources of energy and the ability to get back ‘’up and running’’ can make a big difference financially.
Third, alert your customers to pick up their vehicles when service has been completed. There is no need to expose the Dealership to unnecessary Garagekeepers claims.
Finally, review your insurance program before you have to use it. Meet with your Agent and your Management Team and disccuss various weather scenarios and how your policy will react. Develop and test your Disaster Preparedness Plans before things become critical. You’ll be glad you did.
Watch for the next info blast…Zero Tolerance!