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Tuesday Tip – Hurricane Preparedness

Beginning June 1st and ending November 30th, it is important to recognize that while not all of us are in danger of a direct hit by a hurricane, we are all prone to heavy rains, storms, and flooding.

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If your business is on or near the coast, make sure you get familiar with the following hurricane safety tips from the White House:

Before:

To prepare for a hurricane, you should take the following measures:

  • To begin preparing, you should build an emergency kit and make a family communications plan.
  • Learn community hurricane evacuation routes and how to find higher ground. Determine where you would go and how you would get there if you needed to evacuate.
  • Cover all of your home’s windows. Permanent storm shutters offer the best protection for windows. A second option is to board up windows with 5/8” marine plywood, cut to fit and ready to install. Tape does not prevent windows from breaking.
  • Install straps or additional clips to securely fasten your roof to the frame structure. This will reduce roof damage.
  • Plan to bring in all outdoor furniture, decorations, garbage cans and anything else that is not tied down.
  • If in a high-rise building, be prepared to take shelter on or below the 10th floor.

During:

If a hurricane is likely in your area, you should:

  • Listen to the radio or TV for information.
  • Secure your home, close storm shutters and secure outdoor objects or bring them indoors.
  • Turn off utilities if instructed to do so. Otherwise, turn the refrigerator thermostat to its coldest setting and keep its doors closed.
  • Ensure a supply of water for sanitary purpose such as cleaning and flushing toilets. Fill the bathtub and other larger containers with water.
  • Find out how to keep food safe during and after and emergency.

You should evacuate under the following conditions:

  • If you are directed by local authorities to do so. Be sure to follow their instructions.
  • If you live in a mobile home or temporary structure – such shelter are particularly hazardous during hurricane no matter how well fastened to the ground.
  • If you live in a high-rise building – hurricane winds are stronger at higher elevations.
  • If you live on the coast, on a floodplain, near a river, or on an island waterway.

Read more about evacuating yourself and your family. If you are unable to evacuate, go to your wind-safe room. If you do not have one, follow these guidelines:

  • Stay indoors during the hurricane and away from windows and glass doors.
  • Close all interior doors – secure and brace external doors.
  • Keep curtains and blinds closed. Do not be fooled if there is a lull; it could be the eye of the storm – winds will pick up again.
  • Take refuge in a small interior room, closet or hallway on the lowest level.
  • Lie on the floor under a table or another sturdy object.
  • Avoid elevators.

After:

  • Continue listening to a NOAA Weather Radio or the local news for the latest updates.
  • Stay alert for extended rainfall and subsequent flooding even after the hurricane or tropical storm has ended.
  • If you have become separated from your family, use your family communications plan or contact the FEMA National Emergency Family Registry and Locator System (NEFRLS) or the American Red Cross.
  • If you evacuated, return home only when officials say it is safe.
  • If you cannot return home and have immediate housing needs. Text SHELTER+ your ZIP code to 43362 (4FEMA) to find the nearest shelter in your area (example: shelter 12345).
  • Drive only if necessary and avoid flooded roads and washed out bridges. Stay off the streets. If you must go out watch for fallen objects; downed electrical wires; and weakened walls, bridges, roads, and sidewalks.
  • Keep away from loose or dangling power lines and report them immediately to the power company.
  • Walk carefully around the outside your home and check for loose power lines, gas leaks and structural damage before entering.
  • Stay out of any building if you smell gas, floodwaters remain around the building or your home was damaged by fire and the authorities have not declared it safe.
  • Use the telephone only for emergency calls.
  • NEVER use a generator inside homes, garages, crawlspaces, sheds, or similar areas, even when using fans or opening doors and windows for ventilation. Deadly levels of carbon monoxide can quickly build up in these areas and can linger for hours, even after the generator has shut off.

Not Just a “Payroll Company”

While HR Strategies does provide payroll services, payroll is just one of the many responsibilities we take care of for our clients. However, when it comes to payroll, we will go to any length to make sure our clients and worksite employees get their payroll on time.

HR Strategies Delivers All Payroll On Time During Week-Long Ice Storm

Challenges:

With HR Strategies powerful integrated on-site support and personal service, clients can rest assured that the responsibilities of payroll have been handled completely and accurately, even in the most adverse conditions. In February 2011, a large portion of Georgia, and therefore Metro Atlanta, experienced heavy snow and extreme winter conditions which are unusual for the area. Metro Atlanta, including Duluth where HR Strategies is headquartered, is not used to extreme winter conditions and can easily have its roads and infrastructure crippled by large amounts of snow. The snow storm that affected Georgia in February of 2011 was dubbed “snowpocalypse”, and caused many school and business closings for several days. While employees may have enjoyed having a few extra days at home, they still needed to get their scheduled paychecks. Employers were already worried about loss of revenue from being closed for business, and the thought of having disgruntled employees from a delay in payroll was an added worry on their shoulders.

Solution:

HR Strategies understood the need for client employees to be paid, and the need for the client to have one less business concern during the stress of an unforeseen circumstance prohibiting business and life “as usual”.  On the Friday before the big storm, HR Strategies staff came together and devised a plan to ensure that payroll processes, and all other client needs, would be met in case of inclement weather.  On Monday, when it seemed that the world had closed down in Georgia, HR Strategies was armed and ready for business as usual.  Beginning that morning, payroll specialists were busy getting to work, only this time it was in their homes. The entire staff took advantage of their ability to work remotely and were able to continue business as usual, to the best of their abilities from home. Payroll specialists took hours over their cell phones from clients, ran the processes and reports, sent direct deposit and bank files, all from home.  They were able to keep in contact with each other and the rest of HR Strategies staff through conference calls, and ensure that all clients were handled.  The owner and CEO of HR Strategies, along with one designated payroll specialist, was able to make it to the office to pick up live checks and reports that had generated to be packaged for clients. These live checks were then hand delivered by the owner to the client locations, as most courier services (i.e. FedEx, UPS) were not operating on time or at all during the extreme conditions. Over the next three days HR Strategies continued to make sure that all of their client payrolls were handled accurately and on-time from remote locations.

Results:

Dedication, team work, and planning enabled HR Strategies to go above and beyond to ensure that their clients and client employees were paid, and their needs met.  HR Strategies was able to pull together and use their resources and remote capabilities in order to deliver at a time when most services were unable to… Click Here to Read the Rest!

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Severe Thunderstorms Safety Tips

In continuing with our Weather Safety Tips, we’re going to continue along the Georgia theme, as a majority of our clients are based in Georgia. Today’s tips are on Severe Thunderstorms. Read the following info from the FEMA website:

Before Thunder & Lightening:

To prepare for a thunderstorm, you should do the following:

  • To begin preparing, you should build an emergency kit and make a family communications plan.
  • Remove dead or rotting trees and branches that could fall and cause injury or damage during a severe thunderstorm.
  • Postpone outdoor activities.
  • Remember the 30/30 Lightning Safety Rule: Go indoors if, after seeing lightning, you cannot count to 30 before hearing thunder. Stay indoors for 30 minutes after hearing the last clap of thunder.
  • Secure outdoor objects that could blow away or cause damage.
  • Get inside a home, building, or hard top automobile (not a convertible). Although you may be injured if lightning strikes your car, you are much safer inside a vehicle than outside.
  • Remember, rubber-soled shoes and rubber tires provide NO protection from lightning. However, the steel frame of a hard-topped vehicle provides increased protection if you are not touching metal.
  • Shutter windows and secure outside doors. If shutters are not available, close window blinds, shades or curtains.
  • Unplug any electronic equipment well before the storm arrives.

During the Storm:

If thunderstorm and lightning are occurring in your area, you should:

  • Use your battery-operated NOAA Weather Radio for updates from local officials.
  • Avoid contact with corded phones and devices including those plugged into electric for recharging.  Cordless and wireless phones not connected to wall outlets are OK to use.
  • Avoid contact with electrical equipment or cords. Unplug appliances and other electrical items such as computers and turn off air conditioners. Power surges from lightning can cause serious damage.
  • Avoid contact with plumbing. Do not wash your hands, do not take a shower, do not wash dishes, and do not do laundry. Plumbing and bathroom fixtures can conduct electricity.
  • Stay away from windows and doors, and stay off porches.
  • Do not lie on concrete floors and do not lean against concrete walls.
  • Avoid natural lightning rods such as a tall, isolated tree in an open area.
  • Avoid hilltops, open fields, the beach or a boat on the water.
  • Take shelter in a sturdy building. Avoid isolated sheds or other small structures in open areas.
  • Avoid contact with anything metal—tractors, farm equipment, motorcycles, golf carts, golf clubs, and bicycles.
  • If you are driving, try to safely exit the roadway and park. Stay in the vehicle and turn on the emergency flashers until the heavy rain ends. Avoid touching metal or other surfaces that conduct electricity in and outside the vehicle.

In case of a Lightening Strike:

If lightning strikes you or someone you know, call 9-1-1 for medical assistance as soon as possible. The following are things you should check when you attempt to give aid to a victim of lightning:

  • Breathing – if breathing has stopped, begin mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.
  • Heartbeat – if the heart has stopped, administer CPR.
  • Pulse – if the victim has a pulse and is breathing, look for other possible injuries. Check for burns where the lightning entered and left the body. Also be alert for nervous system damage, broken bones and loss of hearing and eyesight.

After the storm passes remember to:

  • Never drive through a flooded roadway. Turn around, don’t drown!
  • Stay away from storm-damaged areas to keep from putting yourself at risk from the effects of severe thunderstorms.
  • Continue to listen to a NOAA Weather Radio or to local radio and television stations for updated information or instructions, as access to roads or some parts of the community may be blocked.
  • Help people who may require special assistance, such as infants, children and the elderly or those with access or functional needs.
  • Stay away from downed power lines and report them immediately.
  • Watch your animals closely. Keep them under your direct control.
Damage from a recent storm in Georgia.

Damage from a recent storm in Georgia.

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