Do you have a plan? It’s National Preparedness Month

emergency preparedness

September is National Preparedness Month, sponsored by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The intent is to encourage communities to discuss emergency plans for their homes, schools, workplace, businesses, and places of worship (FEMA). It’s a great time for employers to review their emergency action plans. An emergency can present itself at any time and in many forms; assure emergency procedures are tested and understood by all employees and family members.

It is our responsibility to be prepared for ourselves and for each other. Nearly 70 percent of countries are unprepared to handle a serious public health emergency (The Lancet Global Health, July 2015). It is crucial to take a few minutes to go over emergency procedures. The procedures may vary depending on where you live, work, or go to school. Having an emergency plan in place will help prepare individuals for potentially disastrous events.

Tips for emergency planning:
• Set aside small amounts of money each month for an emergency fund
• Attend or plan an emergency preparedness meeting with your neighbors
• Understand what local hazards exist in your community and get informed about your community response systems and plans
• Build and maintain a kit of supplies that is ready in case of a disaster
• Make a family emergency communication plan
• There are free online resources that are available on emergency preparedness, on sites including: CDC Global Health, World Health Organization, Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA) and more.

Succeed Management Solutions, LLC offers an Emergency Action Plan training course that covers emergency action plan development in the workplace. There is also a variety of resources related to emergency preparedness, focusing on: natural disaster response, Floods, Hurricanes, Tornados, Tsunamis, Emergency Preparedness for Businesses, and more, available in both English and Spanish. A safety video is also available on the topic of Emergency Planning, available in English and Spanish.

Is your Organization Prepared for an Earthquake?

earthquake map

This USGS map indicates potential earthquake strength, with darker areas indicating stronger quakes.

A 2015 U.S. Geological Survey revealed that nearly half of Americans living in the United States are in danger of experiencing potentially damaging earthquakes.

The Obama Administration has recently announced a new initiative aimed at strengthening the Nation’s resilience to earthquakes by increasing public safety and improving architecture and warning systems.

Ensure all employees know what to do when an earthquake occurs: incorporate earthquake safety procedures into your workplace Emergency Action Plan.

Workplace preparation:

• Your organization’s Emergency Action Plan should include the following:
‒ Evacuation procedures
‒ Instructions to follow during and after the event
‒ Medical and rescue duties for designated employees

• The plan must consider construction and the type of ground it is built upon, as certain ground types and structures are more susceptible to collapse and damage.

• Emergency supply kits should be placed throughout the workplace with such items as flashlights or light sticks, first aid kits and handbooks, blankets, bottled water, dust masks, and fire extinguishers.

• Assure that everyone completes the necessary training:
‒ Everyone should be trained in earthquake response procedures, designated safe places, evacuation plans, and the locations of emergency supply kits.
‒ Designated employees can be trained in first aid and fire extinguisher use.

Succeed Management Solutions, LLC offers a newly updated Emergency Action Plan online training that describes the process of deploying an emergency action plan in the workplace. Other related toolbox talk safety documents include: Emergency Preparedness for Businesses, an Emergency Action Plan policy, and an Emergency Preparedness policy. There is also a safety video available on Emergency Planning in both English and Spanish.

Is Your Organization Prepared for an Active Shooter Situation?

active shooter preparedness

No workplace is immune to the risks of an active shooter incident. However, there are steps you can take to assure your organization is prepared for the worst.

Emergency Action Plan

Tailoring an emergency action plan to your organization helps employees understand the proper procedures for dealing with an active shooter situation and its aftermath.

  • Your plan should include:
    • How to report emergencies to proper authorities and remote locations within the premises.
    • Contact information for area hospitals and emergency personnel.
    • Evacuation policies and procedures.
  • When creating your plan, work with Human Resources and training departments, as well as external resources such as facility owners, property managers, and local law enforcement.

Training Exercises

Training exercises and simulations of active shooter situations can educate employees on your organization’s emergency action plan and reinforce practices that can help save lives.

  • The training should include:
    • Exercises to help recognize and react properly to gunfire.
    • When to call 911.
    • What to do when law enforcement arrives.
    • Exercises to develop a “survival mindset.”
  • Contact local law enforcement and emergency response agencies if you have any questions about the design or facilitation of training exercises.

Preventative Measures

Organizations can take steps to minimize the chances of an active shooter situation.

  • Cultivate a respectful environment in the workplace.
  • The responsibilities of organizational and facility management include the following:
    • Proper screening and background checks
    • Adherence to procedures for reporting violent behavior
    • Implementation of access controls throughout the premises
    • Distribution of floor plans
    • Crisis kits


Warning Signs

Before an incident, active shooters usually exhibit traits of potentially violent behavior over an extended period of time. Know the warning signs and train employees to be aware of them. Employees should report signs of potentially violent behavior to a manager or HR.

Common traits that may be indicative of potentially violent behavior include the following:

  • Feelings of depression or withdrawal
  • Increased use of drugs or alcohol
  • Decreased attention to personal appearance or hygiene habits
  • Resistance to policy or procedural changes or disregarding the existing organizational policies
  • Severe mood swings, unprovoked outbursts of anger, or unstable, overemotional reactions
  • Increased talk of personal issues, suicide or death, firearms, or violent crimes

 

Please note that this list is not comprehensive, nor is it to be used as a diagnostic tool.

Succeed Management Solutions, LLC offers an Active Shooter Preparedness online training course for your organization that includes information on organizational preparedness, preventive measures, active shooter response, and post-incident actions.

September is National Preparedness Month!

fire extinguisher safety

September is National Preparedness Month, sponsored by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). It’s a great time for employers to reevaluate their Emergency Preparedness and Action Plans. Emergency situations can occur at home or at the job, and can be devastating for communities. Establishing an effective Emergency Action Plan is crucial.

In the workplace, emergency procedures should be tested and practiced by all staff. It is important to perform drills regularly and ensure staff know the correct actions to take, should an emergency occur. Re-evaluating and making necessary changes to the emergency plan is crucial to maintain a safety culture at a workplace.

An emergency can present itself in many forms. Emergencies can result in property damages, injured employees, customers, or other individuals, business interruption and more. Such emergencies can include…

– Fire/Flood
– Earthquake/Tornado/Hurricane
– Explosion
– Hazardous Material Accidents
– Loss of an important customer or provider
– Communications Failure

Below are some initial steps to formulate your own Emergency Action Plan within your organization:

– Formulate a team to develop the Emergency Action Plan.
– Analyze all potential hazards and estimate the probability of the hazard occurring
– Outline response procedures for all potential emergencies
– Conduct training/drills to assure all personnel are aware of their role during each emergency
– Assess and amend the plan as necessary.

Last month was National Immunization Awareness Month, which emphasizes safe practices in healthcare facilities and the prevention of the spread of bloodborne pathogens. Immunization and bloodborne pathogens awareness goes hand-in-hand with emergency preparedness.

Succeed Management Solutions, LLC offers a newly updated Bloodborne Pathogens training course that applies the most recent safe practices, along with three updated safety toolbox talk resources focusing on the topics of Staph and MRSA Infections, Sharps Safety, and West Nile Virus. They also offer an Emergency Action Plan course and associated toolbox talks.