Disasters occur with little or no warning. California’s wildfire season, rather quiet most of this summer, has come to life in the last month, forcing evacuations in communities north of Sacramento and south of Los Angeles. The Gilroy Garlic Festival had to be evacuated due to an active shooter situation in July. And, you may recall back in 2017, Oroville residents had to flee their homes amid concerns the dam would break. Then there’s the state’s earthquake history…
We never know when emergencies will occur or how devastating they will be. Our safety depends on how we respond to them.
Preparation is the key
That’s why it’s important to have an emergency plan and be prepared to take action–immediately. In fact, now is a good time to review your plan. September is National Preparedness Month—the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)’s annual national preparedness outreach.
This year’s slogan is “Prepared, Not Scared!” And, that preparation includes prevention, protection, response, and recovery efforts to help you be ready for all hazards.
Emergency Action Plan
How quickly a company is able to get back to business after an emergency depends on planning and preparation done before the disaster strikes. As an employer, this means having an Emergency Action Plan in place. Make sure your employees know what to do before an emergency occurs.
- An evacuation plan should be established to guide employees safely from the building. Practice this plan throughout the year.
- In the event of a fire or flood be aware of evacuation orders, updates in your area, and the location of evacuation shelters.
- During a power outage be prepared with back up sources of light and other power needs. Employees should be aware of hazards while driving due to heavy traffic, traffic lights not working, and emergency repair vehicles.
- Communication is a vital key in any emergency situation—before and after an incident occurs—and may be limited should you be left without power.
- Determine how you and your business will receive alerts and warnings during an emergency, how you will communicate with your employees, how you will contact emergency services if necessary, and how you and your employees will communicate with their families.
- Take the time this month—and throughout the year—to review your Emergency Action Plan. Involve your employees and encourage them to provide input. Make changes as needed.
Prepare for the worst in order to achieve the best results. Planning ahead for any kind of disaster helps to avoid panic, chaos, and unnecessary injuries. Being prepared is the best place to start when faced with any type of disaster.