Safety Update: Are You Prepared for Emergencies?
by Chris Kilbourne
Source: Safety Daily Advisor
September is National Preparedness Month, which makes it a good time for refresher training on emergency preparedness. While this recognition is held in September to mark the anniversary of the 9/11/01 attacks, emergencies also include natural disasters, fires, chemical spills, and other incidents. So your workers need to be prepared—especially in the workplace, where so many of us spend so much of our time.
To help workplaces prepare, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) set uphttp://www.ready.gov/business, which contains business preparedness instructions for all types of emergencies. You may also want to consult an alternate site for readiness, http://www.fas.org/reallyready/business/index.html, from the Federation of American Scientists.
Customize your preparedness training program to the types of emergencies your facility is most likely to experience. You may find you need to have separate training sessions on different emergency situations, especially if you work with hazardous materials.
But for a general refresher training on emergency preparedness, remind employees about what they can do to be prepared:
- Know the risks. What kind of natural disasters happen in your geographic area? What businesses or buildings in your area (your workplace included) may be terrorist targets, such as government buildings, military bases, transportation centers, or large utility companies? Know workplace procedures. Learn the emergency plan and your role in it, including location of first-aid and emergency supplies kits, fire alarm pulls and extinguishers, essential shut-down procedures, when to leave and when to shelter in place, exit routes, and other items particular to your workplace.
- Know how to communicate. Learn where and to whom to report when you exit your workplace. Know where to get emergency information from your workplace and/or public safety announcements regarding when it’s safe to return to work or to leave your building.
- Participate in drills and take seriously the need to be prepared!
In all of these areas, provide the listed information to your workers so they are prepared for all types of emergencies. For more information on emergency preparedness, visit http://www.ready.gov/ and http://www.fas.org/reallyready/.
Why It Matters
- There are many different kinds of emergencies that could occur in your workplace.
- You never know when an emergency may happen.
- But you can be prepared for any emergency of any kind at any time by keeping your workers trained and drilled on emergency procedures.