We never want to hear it. For those of us that have been through a significantly disastrous hurricane, the flashbacks, frustration and pain that one of these events can bring can be very overwhelming.
As an operator, you not only have to worry about the safety and preparedness of your own family - you are also, in some ways, burdened by the security of your club, staff and equipment.
At Jonas Fitness, we truly believe in the power of the #JONASFAM. We grow together, we succeed together but, most importantly, we learn together.
Fitness Connection has been a Jonas Fitness client for over 15 years.
Last year, Hurricane Harvey made landfall on the Texas coast. We sat down with Martha Velasquez, National Customer Experience Manager at Fitness Connection, to share some insight into how Fitness Connection prepared for the storm and it's aftermath.
Check out what she had to say.
Q. Martha, what did you do to prepare your staff and members after learning the news of Harvey's potential impact on your business?
A. We had a meeting with all staff to ensure all phone numbers were up to date, department heads made sure they had the numbers stored on cell phones as well as written down.
We were in constant communication with each other throughout the storm ( group text and calls ) to keep ongoing status updates.
We also moved computers off-ground and placed them on desks, and arranged for early closures to allow our staff to prepare for the storm. We offered our help and suggestions on how to prepare for the storm ( get cash out, gas up, stock on food/water, flashlights, batteries etc. ), placed our phones to an automated voicemail service due to the bad weather. We also equipped each of our clubs with buckets for potential leaks and flashlights.
Q. What did you do to help your staff, members, and community in the hurricane’s aftermath?
A. We opened our offices as quickly as possible and pulled employee rosters by club. We called each employee to make sure they were safe, making notes of any help they might need from us.
We opened our facilities to the general public for showers and free workouts. Each day, we had conference calls with Upper Management and Executives to make ongoing decisions on club hours - making sure that our clubs and member base received the message.
We updated our Social Media platforms constantly with up-to-date information about gym hours and schedules, and opened up each location to collect donations for the flood victims.
Q. What advice do you have for other gym owners who may experience a similar situation?
A. You need to have your emergency protocols up to date and upper management up to speed on what to do once local weather announces that bad weather is headed your way.
Everyone at your company needs to be on the same page. Make sure Communication Binders are up to date with employee phone #s , emergency phone numbers, and utility phone #s.
Have a post-storm email template ready to go for your staff and one for your members. Have a pre-recorded message for when you need to turn off/on your phones (one for your corporate office and one for each club). Make sure to get together with your IT department to ensure that all camera systems are working at each location.
This will help to remote log in and see any damages if any. You can also ask your IT department to give remote access to all Upper Management and Department Heads so they may be able to work from home if need be, or pull important information on a member.
Most importantly, educate yourselves on FEMA Rules and Guidelines and locations for Local Shelters. Prepare each location with an air tight plastic bag, then instruct club management to fill it with ALL monies (register money/anything already in safe) and secure it in your safe.