lightning in a storm cloud

Summer in Michigan brings us a higher heat index and an increased chance of severe storms. Here’s how to protect your customers, staff, and your business during a severe weather outbreak.

Get Out of the Heat
Working in extremely warm conditions for an extended amount of time can be dangerous to your workers. To prevent the possibility of heat-related illnesses before it’s too late, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) suggests encouraging workers to drink water often, giving time for adequate breaks, or opting for shorter working days during the heart of summer.

Recognize the signs of heat-related illness:

  • Extreme thirst, rash, irritability, cramping, exhaustion
  • Heat stroke – This is severe. Call 911 and cool the individual immediately. Workers experiencing a heat stroke will be confused, disoriented, and may show signs of slurred speech and unconsciousness.

Take Shelter from Storms
In the event of a severe thunderstorm, significant rainfall, gusting winds, or a tornado, you may need to act fast to protect your customers, staff, and your business.

  • Designate a safe space to shuffle patrons to if taking shelter is necessary. If possible, opt for an internal room, in a basement with few, or no, windows.
  • Do not send shoppers or employees home during severe weather. Encourage them to wait it out and be ready to seek shelter if needed.
  • Have an emergency supply kit readily available.
  • Stay alert and aware of incoming weather and forecasts. Pay attention to local sirens and alerts.

Emergency Supplies Stash
No matter the emergency, it’s best to plan ahead and be prepared. Stock an emergency kit with necessary items to outlast the weather phenomena, and wait for help. Items like water, snacks, flashlights, batteries, bandages, and peroxide are a smart start.

Practice your Procedures
Take time to practice your emergency plan during the year. Michigan annually celebrates Severe Weather Safety Week in March and holds a statewide drill. Use this to your advantage and work through any issues before an actual weather occurrence.