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In light of the recent natural disasters, including the current volcanic eruption in Hawaii and the hurricane that hit Puerto Rico in September of 2017, it is important to reassess emergency preparedness plans in the workplace. As we have seen, incidents can happen at any time and with zero to little prior notice. It is therefore essential that companies small and large have a 72-hour plan to ensure the safety of all employees, customers and even contractors.
At ARTEMIA we have developed a strong emergency preparedness and disaster recovery plan that is based on the SF72 policy. As a company with headquarters in San Francisco we believe strongly in the value of SF72 and know from past experiences in a serious case of emergency, city services will be impacted. The basic rule of thumb is to make sure that everyone can take care of themselves and each other for 72 hours until help arrives. That’s just three days—think of it as a long weekend—or nine meals.”
Below we have listed some strategies to implement in order to ensure the safety of your employees and everyone else that you care about.
Prepare Ahead of Time:
Being prepared is crucial to safety. Gathering supplies, such as three days’ worth of food, batteries, radio and whistles are of the utmost important. You should keep your office stocked with the essentials and also encouraged employees to keep these same essentials stocked at their houses. To see the full list of essentials, visit http://www.sf72.org/supplies .
Electronics and utilities should also be prepped for any circumstances that may arise. This means that they should be in elevated locations to prevent any water damage and they should also be strapped down with Velcro or any strong restraints that can hold them back from causing any more damage.
Other steps that should be taken prior to any natural disaster should include mapping out ways to connect with colleagues and loved ones, and planning designated safe locations to try and meet up at, if possible. Company phone trees can serve as important tools to warn people about possible dangers or find someone who is unaccounted for. For more information, please see the list of resources below.
Protect Your Documents:
Although this technically should fall under things to prepare ahead of time, it is of vital importance and thus we have given this section it’s own heading. Important documents include everything from insurance and legal documents to client and supplier information. These documents should not only be backed up, but they should also be held in secure facilities in water-resistant packaging.
While these documents are not as important as the safety of your employees, they are vital to the health of your company and without them, you could lose contracts and even customer trust. Just because there was a natural disaster, it does not mean that your company’s success needs to suffer or be set back.
All employees, contractors and other regular on-site guests should be briefed and trained in the company emergency preparedness program as well as any backup plans that are currently in place. It is also recommended that companies hold monthly safety meetings to go over the necessary procedures and remind all relevant personnel of the steps that should be taken in case of emergency. During these meetings, it is helpful to also remind employees about possible safe zones that they can go to if their homes are severely damaged or they are unable to access them.
Medical training is extremely helpful during emergencies when city resources are limited or unavailable. Having one or more employees trained in CPR can help bring medical support to endangered employees during emergencies. Depending on the size of your company, you may want to have one designated personnel to be CPR certified in each department.
After any major event it is critical to connect with each other. One great way to do this, other than the phone tree previously stated, is through social media. In recent years social media has come a long way. On Facebook, for example, you are now able to mark yourself as safe during natural disasters. In many cases cell phone calls may be limited or completely unavailable during natural disasters, so social media provides a reliable way to get the message out that you are safe to many people in a single post.
Additional information for how you can prepare your business can be found through the following organizations.
Should you be interested in creating your own emergency plan or have any questions regarding the issue, please reach out to us here or call us at 415-351-2227.
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