Are you ready for an emergency? September is National Preparedness Month – a month designed to encourage Americans to take simple steps to prepare for emergencies in their homes, businesses and communities. Sponsored by the Ready Campaign in partnership with Citizen Corps and the Ad Council, National Preparedness Month is a great opportunity for you to take a look at your business’ emergency and evacuation plans, safety practices and facility security to ensure you are prepared.
The first step is thinking ahead. How would you evacuate people from your facility? Do employees know how to respond to workplace accidents and incidents? Can emergency vehicles easily access your facility? If you answered no to any of these questions, you should think about ways to prepare for that type of incident. To do that, you’ll need a plan.
Planning is critical in preparing for an emergency. Planning involves things like developing an evacuation plan for your facility and clearly marking evacuation routes and meeting points. It also involves thinking about emergency vehicles and personnel. Can they easily access your facility and do their jobs quickly and efficiently when responding to an incident? You should also identify treatment locations where individuals can receive first aid in the event of an accident or injury. Finally, you should think about the systems you have in place for identifying and monitoring who is in your facility and where they are in case of an emergency.
Once you have a plan to deal with various emergencies or incidents, you should think about how you want to communicate those policies and practices to employees, visitors and others present in or around your facility. Consider using signs, such as exit signs and evacuation assembly area signs, to direct people out of your facility if an evacuation is needed. Also, think about signs needed outside of your facility to ensure emergency vehicles can get in and get out as necessary.
Traffic control devices can also be a useful tool to direct vehicle and pedestrian traffic and prevent accidents and injuries. Barricades, cones, tapes and other items are a great way to mark off pathways and safe areas throughout your facility.
First Aid items, such as kits, eyewash stations, bandages and medicinals should be stocked in your facility to allow for quick efficient treatment of injuries and wounds. Kits should be placed throughout your building to allow for easy access no matter where an incident may occur.
Regardless of how or when an emergency occurs, it’s important that you are ready. By thinking ahead and planning you are increasing your chances of avoiding accidents and keeping employees and visitors safe.