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Workplaces can have many sorts of disasters – earthquakes, fires, floods, workplace violence, terrorism, and more.  It is just as important to be prepared for emergencies there as at home. Most of us spend many hours a week at our work, and an emergency could happen at any time.

Company Emergency Plan

Larger companies post emergency information around their building for the use of those visiting the building as well as their employees. This information includes items such as a map of the building with emergency paths and exits clearly labeled and reminders on the elevators to take the stairs instead of an elevator in the event of a fire.

Each business should also have in their company business manual a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for emergencies of all types. It is to specify what employees should do in the event of an emergency. This plan should include a chain of command for instructions, emergency contacts for during working hours and off-work hours (in the event there is a fire or other emergency when the business is closed), and a course of action to make sure employees are accounted for during an emergency. How will employees be alerted of the need to evacuate? What is the escape route, or should you stay in place in your office or elsewhere? Where will employees meet outside the building to be sure everyone is safe? Business should also have regular informational meetings and other ways of informing employees of the SOP and any changes that are made.

Make sure that you are well-versed in the company plan for emergencies, and know what you would be expected to do. If your company has emergency drills, participate. Do all you can to familiarize yourself with what emergency preparedness measures your company has planned.

Medical Emergencies

Businesses need to have first aid kits available for employees. Of course, your kit will be used the most for papercuts or headache treatment, but someday there may be a time when more medical assistance is required. For those times, at least one of the company first aid kits should be much larger and with a more vast supply of items for a broader range of medical emergencies. Also, ideally some of the employees are well-trained in CPR and basic first aid.

Personal Preparedness

You should also do some preparing on your own. Many people keep some emergency supplies in a desk drawer or in an office cupboard – things like a small first aid kit, some shelf-stable foods (including snacks) and water, and a pair of athletic shoes for in case there is rubble after an earthquake or you need to walk to get home to your loved ones, etc. If you cannot keep these items inside the business, consider leaving them in your car. A car kit can not only be valuable when you are at work, but also wherever else you may be. Ideally, however, some items are kept in your office, as well.

In conclusion, look into the plan at your workplace, and see if anything can be done by you or your company to improve the plan. Even if all you can do is to make your piece of the workplace safer and more prepared, it is worth doing for your own peace of mind.

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