Ready For Anything

13 Jun

The 500 year flood occurring in Cedar Rapids Iowa illustrates how quickly your world can change.

Very few people expected a flood of such magnitude.

A 500 year flood means it might happen about once in 500 years.

Sorry Cedar Rapids, this is your year.

I’ve talked about this before, every radio cluster needs a clear emergency plan.

Think about a variety of potential situations. They could be weather related, a train derailment, major traffic accident or wind swept fires like in San Diego last year.

What is your plan?

These things often happen late at night or over a holiday weekend.

Here are questions designed to get your thinking started on ‘Plan B’ for that day when you’ll need it.

  • How will local authorities contact your key people to alert them to the situation?
  • Who will ‘quarterback’ the station response?
  • is there a ‘hotline’ in the studio answered 24 hours a day?
  • Do you have a reliable answering service who can contact your key team members in off hours?
  • Are you or someone on your staff available 24/7?
  • How will you contact your staff? Who makes the calls?
  • What determines ‘an all hands’ situation?
  • How familiar are you and your staff with people who run the local emergency services?
  • What happens if the phone lines are out?
  • How do you communicate without cell service?
  • Are you plugged into the local amateur radio groups?
  • Are your scanners operational with current frequencies of local emergency services?
  • How will you get your staff to the studios if roads are out and weather is bad?
  • What about backup power sources?
  • How will you respond if staff members choose to stay with their families and protect personal property?
  • What provisions have you made for your own family and property?
  • How will you feed staff members if power is out and restaurants are not available?
  • How do you involve all your stations in the plan?
  • Have you considered joining forces with competing stations in extreme situations like the New Orleans Broadcasters did during Katrina?
  • When do you throw out the format and go wall to wall with coverage?
  • Have you studied what other stations have done in similar situations?

And that’s just the short list.

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Posted by on June 13, 2008 in Radio programming


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