Thursday, September 25, 2014

Is Your Workplace Prepared if a Catastrophe Occurs?

by Carol Grinage, volunteer contributor

Quite often we go to work, and think everything will be okay. But what if it isn’t? Is your workplace prepared? This is a discussion that needs to take place before a natural disaster or another catastrophe occurs.

Many workplaces have a plan in place, but the problem is that the employees don’t know about the plan. Thus, the first step in workplace disaster preparedness is to talk to a supervisor to determine if there is a plan.

If there is a plan, make sure that everyone in the office knows the plan. Some workplaces have a video or PowerPoint that employees can and should watch.

If your place of employment is smaller and/or there isn’t a plan in place, then a plan needs to be created. This can be a group or individual endeavor. Regardless of how the plan is created, make sure everyone knows the plan in the end.

When making a plan, make sure the following questions are answered:

1. Where do we go if there is a fire or a tornado in the building? For a tornado, find the part of the building that is designated a safe area. For a fire, designate a meeting place outside.

     2.  Who is the contact person? This is the person to contact in case of a disaster. This person has employee emergency contact information, and this is the person everyone checks in with to make sure everyone is accounted for. Make sure everyone in the office has this person’s contact information.

    3. Where are important files kept? Can they be accessed from a remote location if for some reason the office is not inhabitable?

4.   Where do employees work if they are unable to work in the office? Do they work from home? If so, do all employees have online access to important information if working from home becomes necessary?

The above questions are some questions that need to be answered. Visit the American Red Cross for additional information and classes that are available to prepare your workplace if a disaster occurs.

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