Be Prepared Before
Disaster Strikes

An emergency response plan can help better prepare you to react quickly and safely

As September is National Preparedness Month (NPM), the words of Lord Robert Baden-Powell, who started the scouting movement in the early 1900s, come to mind:

Be Prepared – meaning to always be in a state of readiness in mind and body

His motto is a good reminder to be prepared for anything, especially considering the pandemic, natural disasters and other catastrophic events that have taken place worldwide. For natural disasters, we typically have advance warning from the local weather channels and can prepare ahead of time. Any situation, however, can quickly escalate into a life-threatening emergency. Having an emergency response plan in place can better prepare you to react quickly and safely.

Workplace Response Plan

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires industrial facilities to develop and implement emergency action and response plans so that workers know how to safely react to emergency situations. These plans are designed for the overall safety and well-being of personnel. They are also required for those personnel who are responsible for a specific area or task during an emergency evacuation.

At minimum, an emergency response plan should:

  • Identify potential hazards and risks, such as:
  • Medical emergencies
  • Utility failure
  • Power outages
  • Natural disasters - wildfires, earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, blizzards, volcanic, eruptions and others
  • Fire and explosions
  • Hazardous material release
  • Security and civil disturbances
  • Workplace violence
  • And others
  • Identify methods to alert employees during an emergency
  • Communicate and know what to do before, during and after an event
  • Ensure personnel know the workplace plan and procedures, such as an emergency evacuation plan with exit routes, collection points and count procedures to account for all personnel after evacuation
  • Collection points can include areas outside buildings or in-place (the interior to buildings)
  • Ensure personnel are authorized and properly trained to help during different types of emergencies
  • Ensure first-aid kits are available based on number of personnel onsite and inspect the kits weekly for proper inventory levels
  • Ensure a first-aid process is set up for local medical treatment and first-aid responders have “certified” training (e.g., American Red Cross)
  • Determine and communicate how to handle emergency medical treatment (life threatening)

Remote Response: At Home or On the Road

With so many people now working remotely from home or some other location, safety awareness, planning and risk mitigation, should be top of mind. Here are some response plan tips to help keep you safe no matter your location:

  • Always be aware of the hazards or risks that can occur at home or traveling outside of your general area
  • Put together an emergency supply checklist with items like mobile devices, non-prescription and prescription medications, non-perishable foods, pet food and carriers, kid toys and supplies, water, flashlights, batteries, matches, disposable paper products and utensils, extra clothing and so on depending on your specific needs and the potential situation
  • Set up your phone or other mobile device to receive local emergency alerts (e.g., NOAA weather radio or wireless emergency alerts)
  • Ensure all mobile devices are charged and you have additional power sources charged and ready to go in case of power outages
  • Know and understand the evacuation and shelter plans for the type of disasters that can occur in the area
  • Identify places ahead of time that you might stay, especially if you have pets
  • Fill up the gas tank and have an emergency supply kit in your car, or if you don’t have a car, find out what emergency transportation options are available ahead of time
  • Have non-perishable food, water and any other necessary supplies ready in a bag or box to grab and go
  • Have a designated meeting place for family, colleagues or friends in case you become separated and you can’t get in touch with them

As an emergency can occur at any time and place, an emergency response plan will help you be informed, react quicker and help keep you and others safe whether at work, home or on the road.

Be safe and stay well!


National Preparedness Month