[INFOGRAPHIC] A Look at the World's Most Extreme Weather

Did you know Death Valley got up to 134° in 1913? That's a world record for hottest temperature and hot enough to fry an egg on the pavement, according to Bill Nye (you know, the Science Guy). Check out this infographic by The Air Conditioning Company to see other record-setting weather numbers.

For tips on how to prepare for different extreme weather conditions, take a look at our "What to Do When..." blog posts.

Five Winter Driving Safety Tips

If you feel like you’ve entered a winter wonderland as you’re driving around town, be careful. Those beautifully iced roads can be deadly if you’re unprepared. Each year, more than 116,800 people are injured in vehicle crashes on snowy, slushy or icy roads. To help you stay safe this season, we've put together the following five tips.

Check Your Tire Pressure

Examine your tire pressure at least once a month to make sure your tires are inflated properly. Underinflated tires can provide less traction, reduce fuel mileage and wear out prematurely, increasing your likelihood of losing control on an icy road.

Remain Calm in a Skid

Practice gentle acceleration and braking to maintain consistent traction in snowy and icy conditions. If your wheels begin to spin, release the accelerator until traction returns. Increase your following distance on ice and snow to at least eight to 10 seconds (if not more) between yourself and the vehicle in front of you. This will give you ample time to respond to road and weather hazards.

Most importantly, if your vehicle does go into a slide or skid, don’t panic and slam on the brakes! This will only worsen the slide.

Prepare an Emergency Kit 

It’s essential to be prepared in case you get stranded in the snow, so be sure to keep an emergency kit in your car that contains the following necessities:

  • An ice pick
  • Snow shovel and brush
  • Basic tool kit with screwdrivers, pliers and a wrench
  • Bag of traction material like kitty litter or sand
  • Flashlight with extra batteries
  • Items to keep you warm, such as extra clothes, gloves, hats and blankets
  • Booster cables
  • First aid kit 
  • Nonperishable food items (such as granola bars) 
  • Water
  • Warning flares
  • Reflective triangles 

Beware of Low Temperatures

If possible, avoid major highways and bridges if the temperature falls below freezing. These two areas are prime real estate for ice. Find an alternative route to travel on, or if you can, simply stay off the roads until the freeze has passed. 

At these temperatures, windshields also start to freeze. Invest in some winter windshield wipers so your glass doesn’t streak and limit your visibility. 

Fill Your Tank 

To prevent your fuel line from freezing, make sure your tank is at least half full before embarking on a trip in the stormy weather. If your vehicle becomes stuck in the snow, this will also enable you to keep your heater running until help arrives.

For more information on how to stay safe during these stormy winter months, check out our "What to Do When..." blog posts.

How to Use Twitter During a Weather Emergency

Snow is usually a foreign concept down South; however, Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi got a taste of a true winter when Storm Kronos recently blew through. For our friends in the North, a few inches of snow may seem like no big deal, but in these warm states, it can be deadly. Southerners have little experience with driving in icy conditions, which tends to cause a lot of accidents on major roadways.

Since the storm made its appearance, many business have closed or delayed their openings, and some have taken to Twitter to give their employees and customers instant updates. While Twitter is a fast and easy way to notify and respond to your staff about weather emergencies, there are a few tips you should follow.

Provide Constant Updates

Local news stations will fervently update and respond to tweets about school districts, highways and other roadways, but your employees will need to know specific details about delays/closures at your business. If you say your company will make Twitter updates and doesn't follow through, you're leaving your staff in the dark. Decide ahead of time who will update the Twitter account and prepare a backup tweeter if the main social media guru can't access the Internet.

Reply in a Timely Manner

When your employees take to Twitter to find weather updates, it's likely because the weather channel and radio are not updating quickly enough or are not mentioning your company. If your employees have questions about delays or closures, a response from the company is going to be their most reliable source of information. It's inefficient to have everyone updated through the phone tree, so having someone on Twitter to answer questions is imperative. Try to reply to tweets quickly so your employees have time to make special arrangements for traveling, childcare, etc. on the day of a weather emergency.

Provide a Link With More Information If Possible

After the Moore, OK tornado, the Red Cross social media team was constantly providing updates and replying to tweets about the situation. They also provided links to websites where people could donate, receive updates and get more information about safe shelter.

Since Twitter is limited to 140 characters, it's best to provide a link with more information. It doesn't have to be a company-specific link, just one that is more in-depth than your tweet. Providing additional details will give your employees a better idea of how serious the situation is and provide them with peace of mind as well.

For more information about what to do during weather emergencies, check out our "What to do When..." blog posts.

Terrorist Threats Prompt DR Planning for Sochi Winter Olympics

The Sochi Winter Olympics is just around the corner, and with threats from the weather, traffic and even terrorists, multiple countries have created plans to give attendees and Olympians the highest level of safety possible.

Of course these threats are unpredictable, but that hasn't kept Russian President Vladimir Putin from making a plan to handle each one.

The main threat of the Winter Olympics is terrorism, after two separate bombings in the city of Volgograd heightened awareness and concerns just months before the Olympic games. With at least five suspected terrorists in Russia, security is at its peak. During the Olympics, there will be 40,000 officers surrounding a 1,500-square-mile security zone around Sochi, and the U.S. military will make air and naval assets available if Putin requests aid.

Disaster recovery plans are essential for any company or event, and we can’t stress the importance of combing through the details enough:

  • Test your plan and all its moving parts before you actually have to use it.
  • Know who to contact if a certain part of the process goes awry and confirm that personnel know what to do.
  • Make sure the scale of your plan matches the scale of the potential disaster.

Check out our Disaster Recovery Plan Checklist to make sure you haven't left out any important steps.

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