If you live on the West Coast, you already know wildfires in recent years have made a substantial impact. They’ve also forced many of us to take a deeper look at disaster preparedness – because it is not just fire that causes concern: disaster preparedness should include preparations for earthquakes, floods, fires, and even virus outbreaks.
Proper preparation can provide comfort during a crisis, but also allows for better, more thoughtful action. By planning now, you can ensure a more level head during an event and be better equipped to handle anything that comes your way.
Below we share our suggestions to get prepared for workplace emergencies:
Cover the Basics
- Create and regularly review your evacuation plan
- Have an emergency preparedness checklist
- Stock emergency and first aid kits
- Create internal and external communication plans
- Back up your data or use cloud storage
As a best practice, designate safety officers and review the above at least twice a year, and update anything out of date. Make sure processes and procedures are easily accessible by all, not just your safety team. Don’t forget to practice, practice, practice!
Consider Mental Health
Disasters are emotionally and mentally draining and often have dire consequences. Consider the needs of employees who are directly affected, help affected family members, or those employees taking on more work while their colleagues take some time off to recover. Offer respite time off and take the time to do wellness check-ins with your team. Offer resources, specify company priorities and consider other adjustments that can be made during a challenging time. Keep a list of services readily available and update them often so you can get employees the help and resources they need. If you can offer extra time off or limited hours, consider doing so.
Offer Training on Life-Saving Techniques for Emergency Preparedness
More than 5,000 Americans die from work-related injuries each year according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, which is reason enough alone to implement lifesaving training. By offering regular CPR and first aid courses for everyone, you empower your employees to take action whenever needed. Basic courses are typically 4 hours long and can come in handy not only in the workplace but anywhere your employees go. You are not only benefiting the workplace but the community with more people who understand and can offer life-saving support during a disaster. If you have an AED on-site, you’ll want to include training on how to use that as well.
Partner with Local Service and Community-Based Organizations
In an emergency, we often feel helpless. For those that want to help, connect them with ways they can make a difference. By forming relationships and partnerships with organizations that are more equipped to know the specific needs, you can quickly act in an organized way. This can help employees feel purposeful and productive in the chaos. Bonus points if you can offer paid volunteer hours.
Bonuses for California Businesses (and Beyond):
Did you know that fires in California mean poor air quality in Las Vegas? When wildfires hit, poor air quality can be expected for hundreds of miles. Depending on your ventilation system and location, the air inside of your workplace could be compromised.
Monitor air quality and determine if the air is unhealthy. Watch the Air Quality Index (AQI) for when PM2.5 particulate is 151 or greater. If air quality is unhealthy, employers must protect their employees by reducing exposure, providing proper respiratory equipment, or changing procedures.
A written plan with different scenarios should be created and may vary depending on the index number. Keep in mind, those with asthma or underlying issues may be more at risk and require additional precautions.
Unfortunately, there isn’t a magic 8 ball to tell us when and where the next disaster may be (wouldn’t that be great?). Being proactive and creating a comprehensive disaster plan specific to your business can help put your mind at ease.
Be sure to check out Star Staffing’s Emergency Preparedness Checklist to get started and make sure your business is prepared and ready for anything!
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