Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Ho, hum. Another day, another record high.

Yeah, yeah, I know. Quit griping about the weather, right? If you can’t DO anything about something, why waste your energy complaining about it?

Because it’s HOT!

OK, OK! Different topic...

My return to work, interrupted by some extra time off courtesy of Rita, was smoother than I had expected. This time (first time ever, I think) I did enough routine stuff in advance before the vacation that there wasn’t a pile of it waiting for me when I returned. Plus I was able to check emails several times a week, and even answer some of them. That was courtesy of all the unsecured wifi sites out there everywhere we went, allowing me to go online almost at will.

My thanks to all of those across the country who don’t turn on the security measures on their wireless routers and modems!

Anyway, I was back for one full day last week before we shut down for Rita (and part of that day was spent preparing for her). This week I have caught up on all the invoicing and reports waiting for me, dealt with the questions people were waiting to ask until I got back, and got most of the way through my paper inbox. All in just three days this week.

Tomorrow I’ll miss some more time attending the Workforce Center board meeting (and one committee meeting), but I’m pretty much back in the groove again.

Now Greg, don’t get the wrong idea. All that was due to good management and solid preparation. It was not an indication that I’m not needed there full time!

One thing I’ve got to deal with is our hurricane manual and policies.

What? Yes, we have a manual of policies and procedures just for hurricanes. We try to state just what we’ll do in the event of storms of varying strengths.

Our events are timed with relation to the forecast arrival of hurricane strength winds. For example, H72 is 72 hours before the hurricane force winds are expected at our plant (not necessarily landfall of the eye). At H72 we begin securing all loose items, and a decision is made whether or not to shut down our production units. There are lists of duties at H48, H36, H24, H12, and H4. H4 is when the plant is staffed with a minimal volunteer crew, the gates are locked, and we hunker down and see what damage we get.

Well, this year was different! At H72 the local counties were already declaring a “mandatory evacuation.” None of our employees wanted to hang around to shut the plant down. But they did, and as time passed and the forecasts changed, more and more of them decided to stay in the area. Had the storm kept coming at us it would have been very different.

Local officials tell us that given all the problems they had, in future situations they may evacuate even earlier! This will require us to re-think all of our arrangements. Our people have to have enough time to board up (if appropriate) and get out, PLUS we need to get the plant safely shut down.

Many are unhappy that they couldn’t just take their families and go when the first evacuation was announced. Others are unhappy that the volunteer hurricane crew (who gets paid double-time wages while on hunker-down duty until relieved) made so much money even though the storm didn’t hit here. Of course, the unhappy ones didn’t want to volunteer until it was clear that the storm was headed elsewhere.

Being an HR manager is fun. Sometimes. This next week or two may NOT be one of those times.

Plus, it’s HOT! Which doesn’t help.


Brenda Bradshaw said...

It IS hot! We were at 103 today. BUT, tomorrow is like 85. FINALLY!

Karyn Lyndon said...

Same here...but I like hot...more time in the pool...