Natural Disaster Toolkit
Because Napa Valley is recognized on the world stage, natural disasters in Napa County receive outsized media attention. As such, it is important to plan ahead and keep employees and guests informed. Should Napa Valley be directly impacted, our priorities are to:
- Protect the health and safety of residents and visitors;
- Help industry partners create a plan to effectively communicate to both employees and visitors, sharing accurate and consistent messaging on the issue;
- Inform audiences at large about non-impacted areas within Napa Valley which may be open for business, reducing the negative impact on those non-affected tourism businesses.
Below is a list of key resources; recommendations for preparedness; and suggested talking points to be used with guests who may have questions about the impacts of a natural disaster on our region.
Preparedness Best Practices
Assemble mitigation and management plans ahead of crises and share plans with everyone on your team. In the event of a crisis, everyone on your team should understand their respective roles and responsibilities. Having a crisis management plan in place ahead of any crisis helps to minimize unnecessary stress and confusion for both your team and your visitors.
- Create a “Crisis Management Team”. This should include anyone on your team who absolutely needs to be in the conversation in the event of an emergency. In addition to leadership members, consider including representatives from marketing, operations, and other teams who can communicate internally and externally in an event of crisis. Designate a Crisis Management Team captain who triggers the emergency plan and assembles the team (usually a GM, CEO, or other leadership-level role).
- Create “levels” of emergency and actions to be taken by each team. For example:
- Green – Not impacted by the crisis; business as usual.
- Yellow – Indirectly impacted by small scale crisis, initiate communications to internal team members and consider posting on digital channels encouraging and reassuring guests to visit.
- Orange – Indirectly impacted by large scale crisis, initiate communications to internal team members and proactively communicate to guests that your places of business remain unaffected and open for business.
- Red – Directly impacted by crisis; secure and close property; initiate communications to internal team members and directly communicate with guests to make alternative plans.
- The captain determines the level of crisis and activates team members as needed on the Crisis Management Team to take appropriate corresponding actions.
- Prepare your communications channels.
- Plan ahead for power disruption. Consult with your business telecommunications providers to determine how to receive and route calls in the event of a power outage. Create back-up plans and customer messaging.
- Proactively communicate with your visitors and guests. Don’t wait for them to call. Post a pop-up banner on your website, create an auto-responder to your email, and post on social channels in real-time to keep visitors updated on whether or not you can still accommodate them. Consider pointing them to VisitNapaValley.com, which will be updated hourly on the situation.
- Follow best practices: Avoid details and imagery that perpetuate visitor safety concerns (i.e. wildfire flames, inflammatory verbiage, alarming and superlative language). Other common questions to consider and prepare for internally may include the following:
- Will your business remain open or closed?
- Do you have power?
- Do you have “power outage kits” for guests? (which may include a flashlight or battery powered lantern; glowsticks; and flameless candles)
- Do you have back-up generators? If you remain open and continue to welcome guests, clearly communicate to visitors/guests to convey what the experience will entail. iWill refunds be provided to guests who cancel reservations?
- If guests choose or need to be relocated due to an extended power outage or safety concern, can you assist with reservations at another property or provide a gift certificate for a future stay?
- How should guests contact you?
- Forward media inquiries to Visit Napa Valley. As the destination marketing organization for Napa Valley, Visit Napa Valley is equipped to respond to urgent media inquiries regarding the impact of a natural disaster on tourism in the Napa Valley. All media inquiries should be forwarded to firstname.lastname@example.org.
External Talking Points
Visitors & Customers
Media attention to natural disasters such as wildfires in Napa Valley often receive outsized media coverage on the national and international stage. As such, visitors are often curious about the impact and severity of natural disasters in Napa County.
Below are suggested talking points to share with your customer-facing team.
In the summer and early autumn, Napa Valley typically experiences low humidity levels and warmer and dryer weather, making it a “dry season.”
While California summers can be marked by wildfires, these fires are usually hundreds of miles away from towns and tourism destinations.
Though media portrayals of destructive fires are often dramatic, in many cases, active wildfires play little to no part in disrupting a visitor's experience.
California is a large state and wildfires in one location typically have no impact outside a limited area.
As a safety precaution for residents and visitors, on extremely warm, windy days, public utilities may issue temporary Public Safety Power Shutoffs (PSPS) to lower the likelihood of fire caused by power lines.
Before turning off power, PG&E will send early-warning notifications (48 hours in advance, when possible) by phone, text alerts, and emails to prepare both residents and visitors of possible shutdowns.
During the “dry season,” visitors planning a trip anywhere in California may check Visit California's website at VisitCalifornia.com or contact their hotel, as well as check VisitNapaValley.com for all pertinent updates.
We recommend that anyone visiting Napa Valley register for Alert Napa County to receive real-time alerts about any emergencies in the region.