Hurricane Matthew flooded headlines earlier this month as it approached Advize Health’s home-base of Tampa Bay, threatening to eliminate power-lines and productivity. The threat of the storm had the Advize Health team working in overdrive, strategizing ways to stay safe and effective while hunkering down. With the power flickering and winds picking up, Advize Health auditors and QA Specialists made lists of their current projects, and the needs of each case. Concerns over complete power loss continued to worsen. Many of Advize Health’s projects are structured so that they can only be viewed through secure and active internet connection.

To solve this productivity nightmare, auditors and projects leaders began pulling off all of the information necessary to an audit before the storm even touched down. This proactive approach to a storm response plan meant that we were able to redistribute the work as needed, in order to prevent any interruptions in our work flow. Auditors were able to continue their work from within the safety of their own homes, which meant that our team was safe – and so were our deadlines.

These tactics catalyzed a reaction within our company, and we began to wonder what other contingencies we could implement in the event of an emergency. While we have auditors dispersed throughout the country, many members of our team, including our front end staff, and located in areas that are vulnerable to severe inclement weather. As it is our promise to keep front end phones operating from 8:30am to 4:30pm every business day, we structure Associate and Intern schedules in order to ensure that at least two people will be available to answer phone calls during operating hours. Advize Health runs an overflow line, directing calls received while all lines are busy to an Associate’s phone – ensuring that providers and clients are tended to in a prompt, effective manner.

Emergency response plans in any business are integral to a strong operations model, but there are many aspects of an emergency that need to be considered. Once employees are marked as safe – how can we ensure that business runs as scheduled? The key is in preparedness. Hurricane Matthew was devastating to say the least, but we all learned something from the disaster. You never know where disaster may strike, nor will you know the severity of the situation until you’re in it. Be prepared, be productive, and make it through.

For more information on the different types of emergency response plans, visit NISOH and’s Business Resource Center.