Emergency Planning

We’ve seen a lot, but with preparedness, we can handle the rest of 2020 and beyond.

Posted September 21, 2020

September is National Preparedness Month, and the theme is “Disasters Don’t Wait. Make Your Plan Today.” Now is the time to evaluate and plan for emergencies at work and at home.

Plan for disaster nowSteps you can take to prepare for natural disasters or emergencies include:

  • Prepare a plan
  • Build a kit
  • Learn what disasters are common in your area and confirm insurance coverage related to those disasters
  • Learn what can protect your home or workplace (g., paneling windows)
  • Sign up for weather warnings
  • Communicate the plan with family and coworkers

There are many resources available to start planning. One of those resources, ready.gov, provides tips, lists, and guides that can make the planning process easier.

In 2017, there were almost 600 deaths and 4,270 injuries related to weather events. Most of those deaths were a result of flash floods, tropical storms, or heatwaves, according to Injury Facts. As you identify disasters that are more common in your area the Red Cross and The National Safety Council offer resources and information that can help you prepare for specific natural disasters, such as:

  • Earthquakes
  • Floods
  • Hurricanes
  • Tornados

Many emergencies and disasters, such as storms, lightning strikes, wildfires, and floods, are unavoidable. Some events are created by nature, but the devastation can be worsened by the failure of man-made structures, such as failing dams or poor engineering. Therefore, it is important to be prepared. The initial steps are to learn the types of disasters that can happen in your area and to prepare accordingly.

Preparedness can largely be broken into three major categories:

Home

This category pertains to having a plan and the right supplies. Talk with your family about what you’ll do when the time comes to avoid being unprepared. Make sure to have adequate amounts of the following supplies on hand for every member of the family: preserved food and water, backup power sources, first aid kits, fire extinguishers, medications, and blankets. Also, do not forget about your pets and items they will need. Red Cross and NSC.org provide comprehensive lists of items to keep in the home. Emergency kits for the home should include items such as nonperishable foods, sealed drinking water, battery-powered radios to tune into news outlets, batteries, and candles. Emergency kits should also be created for those with special diets or medical needs. Each year, make sure items in your emergency kits have not expired.

Vehicle

Being stranded in your vehicle, or nearby, is a serious and potentially life-threatening event. The chances of dying of exposure increase if you are stuck in a vehicle or left without one in severe weather. Cold, heat, flooding, dehydration, and starvation are potential threats if you become stranded. If your car dies suddenly, it is important to let somebody know immediately so that you can be helped as soon as possible. Essential items to keep in your car are jumper cables, flares, tools, a spare tire, clean water, nonperishable food, a first aid kit, a phone charger, rain gear, blankets, and extra clothing. Most vehicle supply kits are stocked with many of these items and more.

Work

Emergency exit planEmergencies can also be encountered in the workplace. For example, there might be a coworker that has a life-threatening medical issue, the building might catch fire, or a storm might cause a flood. At work, employees should be involved in training and communication related to disasters and emergencies. Employees should learn about evacuation plans and how to provide CPR and first aid training. Companies should create a structure of responsibilities in case something disastrous happens. Companies also need to share emergency evacuation plans and train team members to handle both natural disasters and emergencies.

As many companies and families review their preparation plans for emergencies and disasters, the resources mentioned in this article can be a huge help. SynTerra is available to assist companies that need help with emergency planning. To review current plans or to create a new plan, contact Bill Husk at bhusk@synterracorp.com or Paul Tarquinio at ptarquinio@synterracorp.com.