iCea iDea of the Week

When Winter Weather Strikes . . .

Like most Chambers of Commerce, the Greensburg/Decatur County (IN) Chamber of Commerce has a Human Resources and Safety Council group. These mostly consist of representatives from industries who are members of the chamber. The Safety Council is comprised of representatives at facilities who are responsible for all aspects of their safety program, ranging from OSHA compliance to severe weather actions at their locations.  Of course, the HR people are the Human Resources people at those facilities as well. The Greensburg-Deactur County Chamber also includes the fire department, City Hall and County Commissioners as part of the group as well.

Their HR/Safety Council group meets on a quarterly basis for a lunch and the chamber brings in a program that will be beneficial to this business sector. It is a great way to stay in contact with the industrial reps and they in turn go back to their work and tell their superiors about the meeting. This shows great membership value for our industries.

As a result of this group, and with the recent severe winter weather outbreak in Indiana, the Chamber of Commerce has partnered with our local Decatur County Emergency Management Agency (DCEMA) to begin a series of conference calls that these groups are invited to participate in.  The Chamber exec took it one step further and invited all members of the Greensburg/Decatur County Chamber of Commerce to participate in these calls.  On these calls, the DCEMA will provide a status update on road and travel conditions, plus they discuss power outages, warming shelters and provide other information they believe to be important to the business and industry in our county.  Those listening on the call are asked to mute their phone but before the end of the call, the EMA director will ask for a report from businesses and industry on their plans about being open or calling off a shift.  The director will then ask the Chamber exec what concerns are or if the chamber has had communication from anyone regarding the situation.  Once the call is over, the chamber sends a brief update to all members, as well as posting an update on social media sites, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter.  The Chamber also sends a mass email out to members telling them how to log into the call, the pass code and how to receive an automatic alert through the NIXEL text service used by local law enforcement.  Of course the pass code to sign up is “commerce” which puts the chamber at the forefront of people’s mind.

According to Chamber Executive Director Jeff Emsweller, this has turned into a powerful effort and he is astonished by the responses received from people thanking the chamber for making this happen and keeping them informed about the situation. The times of the calls have been a little inconvenient, (1 p.m. and 8 p.m. Sunday; 6 a.m. Monday morning and the chamber exec is the one that sets the time) but he said he is extremely happy with where this is heading and what this has done to show value of the chamber of commerce.

Emsweller suggests other chambers contact their local emergency management authority to see if this can be a service provided by their Chambers of Commerce.  For more information, contact Jeff Emsweller, Executive Director with the Greensburg Decatur County Chamber at


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