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Community: Planning

Emergency Response Planning

Experts, including the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), recommend that businesses prepare for an emergency. If you have more than 10 employees, you need a written plan. The plan should include training and drills so all your employees are familiar with what to do if something unexpected happens.

The Society for Human Resource Management in Washington emailed a survey to its members after September 11 and found that 33% of the members did not have a disaster plan, and 13% were not sure if they had one. How does your organization rate?

Employees with little to no training or resources will not perform effectively in a disaster. When something unexpected happens, trained personnel feel more confident about handling a crisis. Even the unimaginable seems easier to handle if you know what to do and have some control over the situation around you. Effective emergency plans train employees to perform  tasks. They hear what might happen and learn about what they might see.

When preparing for disasters keep in mind there are two types: natural disasters and unnatural disasters. Natural disasters include acts of God such as tornadoes, severe weather, ice storms and floods. Unnatural disasters include such incidents as fires, explosions and hazardous materials, which may be caused by bio-terrorism. Keep in mind that planning for hazardous materials situationsis very important, but don’t just focus on bio-terrorism. Our community has over 280 hazardous materials going through on trucks and trains every week.

It’s important to plan for many kinds of disasters.  It’s great to practice tornado preparedness year after year, but if your community experiences more hazardous material incidents than tornadoes, managing those spills should also be part of your emergency preparedness plan.

What you can do:

Designate team members from management to maintenance to respond to a crisis

Include the following agencies in your plan: police, fire, emergency medical service, emergency government and public health. Train to do the tasks and be honest about what could occur.

Put Critical Incident Stress Management and EAP in place. Sometimes in life we are not prepared to deal with psychological effects of some situations. This preparation helps manage that key impact.

Are you prepared for a natural or unnatural disaster, or are you one of the 46% that doesn’t have a plan? It is never too late, so start planning today.

For more information, questions or concerns, please contact Brian Lawson at (920) 727.3020 or by email at blawson@goldcross.org. Gold Cross Ambulance provides consulting and training services throughout the state.