By Peter Ossmann
As EHSQ professionals we all wear many hats and are pulled in multiple directions, but we all should make time to be Emergency Preparedness Heroes in our communities. Do you remember the last time you encountered an emergency or disaster and wished you were more prepared, or had known about a best practice that would have saved you a major headache? Just as there are no secrets in Safety, there are also no secrets in emergency preparedness.
Here are three things you can do to be an Emergency Preparedness Hero:
- Visit www.ready.gov.
This free online resource has a wealth of information on preparedness on a wide variety of topics, with a simple strategy of “Be Informed, Plan Ahead and Take Action” that allows you to move at your own pace and build a set of documents, plans and kits to fit your needs. This site has great templates, such as a checklist to protect your critical documents and valuables, and a family communication plan that includes wallet cards for each member of your family.
- Create an all-hazard plan.
Preparedness can feel overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to. Instead of creating a plan for every eventuality, focus on an all-hazard plan that covers major situations such as evacuations, sheltering in place, and active threat/shooter incidents. If your plan addresses these three areas, you will be prepared for the majority of emergency situations.
For example, my house was hit by lighting a few years ago, and I did not have a plan for that exact type of emergency situation. My family used our evacuation plan by shutting off power at the breaker box and meeting at our rally point across the street. Fortunately, those actions, along with quality insulation in the walls, prevented a short-lived electrical fire from spreading.
- Champion a monthly home safety topic at work to encourage your coworkers to prepare.
Once you have created plans for your own family, you can take action in your company and community. Ready.gov has a season preparedness calendar to help you align your messaging with major seasonal or holiday events.
The real benefit of preparedness is making our communities resilient. When disaster strikes in your community, your family and co-workers will have taken the appropriate steps to prepare and will be able to easily and quickly respond, mitigate and return to normal conditions, minimizing the impact on your community.
Join me in answering the call to be an Emergency Preparedness Hero by visiting Ready.gov and help your family and community prepare and become disaster-resilient.
Peter Ossmann is Health & Emergency Response Coordinator for North Star BlueScope Steel LLC.