Are you ready for an emergency?
Since 2004, September has been recognized as the national preparedness month to help prepare for emergencies including national disasters. Emergencies can come up at any time and being ready can make a huge difference on the outcome.
As a business, going through an emergency, large or small, is very challenging because you never know when it is going to hit you. No matter when it happens, it should be planned for. A business should have an emergency response plan up to date containing detailed information. This month is good reminder for everyone to review their plan and make the necessary changes.
What can you do to get prepared?
Evaluate your risks.
Knowing your risks in your facility or job site will allow you to properly organize the emergency response. Doing risk assessments gives you an idea of the tasks that are performed on site which could create an emergency. You always want to know if you have risks of fire, chemical spill, explosion… For example, it is important to know the chemicals you may have on site; location, amount and SDSs should be available.
You also want to evaluate the type of national disaster you may get and prepare for those. In California, being prepared for earthquake is essential.
Make a plan.
Once you know what to get ready for, start writing your plan. The first thing you want to cover in the plan is how to keep your employees safe. In addition, you want to make sure the business will survive the potential emergency. It is important to have a response team but also back up for management decisions.
While developing your plan, you need to include all possible emergencies like fire, explosion, chemical spill, earthquake and have the adequate response for each of them. In some cases, you may want to include agencies or vendors that could help you prepare.
Implement your plan.
In any emergency, communication is key! As soon as you have a clear and definite plan, it is time to share it with everyone. All employees on site should get trained on your emergency response plan but you also want to include any visitors, contractors, etc.
Once the training is completed, you should go ahead and plan emergency drills. Drills are critical to see if your plan is realistic and viable. As your plan might call for different types of emergency, you should practice each one of them. For example, you can do drills every 6 months and each one could have a different scenario. The response for a fire might be very different than your response for a small earthquake or even a large one. After each drills gather feedbacks and learn from your experiences, it will make you emergency response plan stronger!
Take advantage of this month to start the discussion with your team: be prepared!
Alta’s Health and Safety Experts are here to help. If you need support with your plan, wish to assess your H&S program, or need support in implementing new requirements call us at 888-608-3010. Cecile Felsher, Senior Staff Consultant can be reached at 888-608-3010 or Cecile.Felsher@altaenviron.com.