By Charity Kilbourn – Sr. Content Leader, ACTN Strategies LLC
Steadily rising temperatures have resulted in increased flooding, wildfires, earthquakes, hurricanes and more. This change has impacted, not only our personal lives, but our professional lives as well. It is important that we educate ourselves on how best to respond when faced with any of the natural hazard named above.
As an employer, the best way for you to prepare your employees and yourself in the event of an emergency is to develop a unique plan for your organization.
Existing Risk Factors
In order to develop a plan that will prepare you and your employees in the event of a natural hazard, you must first evaluate your surroundings and existing risk factors. For example, if your company is located in Northern California, you should be aware of the increased risk of wildfires and earthquakes. If you are located on the Atlantic Coast, you should be aware of the increased risk for hurricanes.
Having a solid understanding of existing risk factors can be invaluable in developing the best plan for you and your employees in the event of an emergency.
Unknown Risk Factors
Obviously, we can’t plan for the unknown. When an unforeseen event occurs, it can be overwhelming. It is critically important that everyone remain calm.
According to the United States Department of Labor, “General training for your employees should address the following:
- Individual roles and responsibilities;
- Threats, hazards, and protective actions;
- Notification, warning, and communications procedures;
- Means for locating family members in an emergency;
- Emergency response procedures;
- Evacuation, shelter, and accountability procedures;
- Location and use of common emergency equipment; and
- Emergency shutdown procedures.”
Having this structure in place will give your employees a sense of security and direction no matter what event occurs.
How Do You Prepare?
One of the best ways to plan for the increase in natural hazards is by incorporating annual refresher training in your Emergency Management Program.
There are four phases of emergency management:
The best way for any individual to retain and apply learning objectives is through repetition. Regularly scheduled emergency preparedness training and drills are essential. With climate related events occurring at an exponential rate, it is imperative that employees keep abreast of the most up to date information.
Online courses, such as Emergency Awareness Training, are a great place to start when implementing a training plan for you and your employees. The course can be taken by anyone with internet access, is user friendly, and can be completed at the individuals own pace. Those who excel when working in an individual capacity may even find a virtual course more to their taste.
Moving Forward with Confidence
Although natural hazards are becoming more and more common, it is important to remember that you have the power to prepare for any situation. With a solid understanding of how to respond in an emergency, you and your employees will have the confidence you need to successfully navigate any future landscape.