What’s the Plan?
If you’ve not done so recently, be sure to review your facility’s emergency plan with all your employees. Explain how you will notify employees about plant closings and provide other critical information before, during, and after an emergency. Give them the opportunity to ask questions about anything that is unclear about the plan or any emergency procedures they don’t understand. Remind them that it is the time to ask questions and resolve uncertainties. There won’t be time to find out when a real emergency strikes. Also be sure all trainees understand their emergency duties. Carefully explain any unfamiliar duties they will be expected to assume in a crisis.
Preparing for the Worst
Be sure to cover the worst-case scenario, not to scare trainees, but to prepare them for the potential devastation. They need to be ready to deal with crisis-related difficulties such as:
- Power outages
- Downed phone lines resulting in the loss of land-based communication
- Lack of safe drinking water
- Impassable roads
- Gasoline shortages
- Food shortages
- Gas main breaks and resulting fires
- Sewer line breaks creating the risk of disease
- Structural damage to the facility
Damage to or destruction of homes and personal property
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When to Go and When to Stay
You also need to review evacuation and other emergency action procedures. In some weather emergencies, there may be very little advance warning, and minutes will count. Employees need to know how to act swiftly, calmly, and purposefully. Make sure your trainees know:
- Emergency evacuation routes from their work areas and other parts of the facility
- Evacuation duties, including shutting down equipment, securing the facility, assisting in the evacuation of coworkers, etc.
- Where to evacuate during a weather emergency
- Procedures for sheltering in place if conditions outside the facility make evacuation impossible
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Stock Up on Emergency Supplies
Whether trainees are at work or at home when a weather emergency strikes your area, they need to have necessary emergency supplies on hand to see them through the crisis. Critical emergency supplies include:
- Emergency food and water
- Adequate supplies of medicines and first-aid materials
- Hygienic supplies; soap, clean clothes and towels, disinfectants, etc.
- Cell phones and rechargers
- Flashlights with extra batteries
- Portable battery-operated radios