While most of our nightmares have disasters and emergencies happening in the middle of the night, Mother Nature is seldom that consistent. The famed 1989 San Francisco earthquake happened during rush hour, and many fires and storms can hit in the middle of the day without much in the way of a warning. School and workplace readiness for disasters is extremely important. If you haven’t had a conversation or formal meeting with your workplace about preparing for a disaster, it may be time to get the ball rolling.
The first thing you need to do is determine a plan of action. The type of emergency response you prepare should depend on how many people work in your building or office, what floor you are on, and how much money your workplace can budget for an emergency kit. You’ll need to determine who is responsible for what and when. Make one person in your office head of emergency preparedness so they can take a roll call after disaster strikes to account for everyone, and once you are all together, you can decide what to do from there.
Once these decisions have been made, you will need to make an effort to educate everyone in your office of these new rules. You can hold an office-wide meeting or speak to smaller groups of people so that everyone can ask questions. Avoid sending out voice mails or emails since most folks will simply skip right past them. On the surface, many people may disregard this information but it could end up saving peoples’ lives.
Every school should have very specific emergency preparedness plans in place. The key part of surviving a disaster in a school environment is keeping all of the children calm and in control. We’ve all seen those “duck and cover” drills kids in the 1950s had to do, and although today’s fire drills and tornado drills aren’t quite the same thing, they do help reduce the level of fear and anxiety kids feel when the real thing is happening. If you feel that your child’s school is ill prepared for a disaster or emergency situation, talk to the school board or your local PTA representative for more information.
Disasters don’t keep a regular schedule, so it is important that you prepare yourself for any eventuality no matter where you might be.