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6 Critical Steps to Take Before the Next Disaster Strikes

Julie Copeland

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Crisis Just Ahead sign with a bad day


With June being National Safety Month, this week’s topic is emergency preparedness. It’s an important topic because workplace emergencies and disasters can happen anywhere and anytime.


Some of the emergencies that could threaten employees or shut down business operations include:

  • Fires
  • Toxic gas releases
  • Floods
  • Chemical spills
  • Explosions
  • Radiological accidents
  • Hurricanes
  • Active shooter


In these cases, it’s critical for your employees to know the correct action to take before, during and after an emergency.


The question your business needs to ask is this: “Are there safeguards in place for when the unthinkable happens?” 


Before the next disaster strikes take these steps to make sure the necessary safeguards are in place.


1.  Create a Task Force


What would happen if a gunman gained access to your building? Where will people go if they had 60 seconds to react and take cover from an impending tornado? Most companies prepare for a fire, but do they prepare for violence or an explosion? What does your safety training cover?


Putting together a task force to consider these questions is a vital first step and should lead to the creation of an emergency action plan.


2.  Create an Emergency Action Plan


Not all employers are required to establish an emergency action plan. But even if you are not specifically required to do so, compiling an emergency action plan is a good way to protect yourself, your employees, and your business during an emergency. Putting together a comprehensive emergency action plan that deals with all types of issues specific to your worksite is not difficult and provides a safety knowledge that at the very least will create a peace of mind to those tasked with safety responsibilities and to those who would not know what to do in an emergency.


3. Practice, Practice, Practice


Once your emergency action plan has been designated by an emergency task force it should be shared with all employees and depending on the likelihood of a specific type of emergency, the procedures should be practiced in drills in preparation should the unthinkable happen.  


4. Know Your Region


While planning for every scenario is a good idea, it also makes sense to tailor your plan to the specific needs of your region and focus your resources toward managing the most likely disaster scenarios. To get started:

  • Find out what emergencies have occurred in the past and what impact these had on other businesses in your area. 
  • Consider your facility’s physical capacity to resist damage and proximity to flood plains, seismic faults, dams, hazardous materials, nuclear power plants and other hazards. 
  • Consult with your insurance agent and learn what coverage is available and what precautions to take for disasters that may impact your business. 


5. Assess Your Employees


Knowing the abilities of your employees in an emergency situation should factor into your planning. Ask yourself the following:


  • Are employee roles clearly defined in the event of a disaster or emergency?
  • Are trained individuals properly distributed throughout your business?
  • Do all employees know how to identify individuals who are trained?
  • Are 10-15% of your employees trained in basic first-aid and CPR techniques


6. Know Your Local Resources


Knowing who to contact in an emergency and what will they be able to provide during your disaster planning should be a key part of your disaster planning. Make sure you’re able to quickly connect with:


  • Local and state police
  • Fire department and emergency medical services organization
  • Local government officials, emergency management office
  • Local American Red Cross chapter
  • Telephone, water, gas and electric companies
  • Neighboring businesses
  • Insurance carriers


Taking these steps can make all the difference, both in the continuation of your business and the lives of your employees.


Looking for more ideas on how to stay safe this month and beyond? Talk to one of our safety advisors today.


Arbill is a safety solutions company. We are all about protecting your workers in the workplace. Our mission is to keep workers safe and return them home safely at the end of the day. Visit arbill.com for more information about being safe and subscribe to Safer Every Day, the definitive digital magazine for workplace safety.

Topics: Safety Training/EHS Training

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