National Preparedness Month is observed every September to raise awareness about the importance of preparing for disasters and emergencies that can happen at any time and strike with little or no warning. While you may already have prepared for the worst by creating an emergency preparedness kit at home, that won't help you if you're at work when the unexpected happens. To make sure you and your employees can stay safe, create a preparedness kit for your business. Learn which essential items you need to include in your company's kit with help from the experts at ServiceMaster Restore®.
Creating your emergency preparedness kit
Having an emergency preparedness kit for your office will allow you and your employees to stay safe, especially if you have to wait out the storm for a long period of time. Use these guidelines for creating and maintaining a kit that can help protect you and your staff in a variety of situations:
- Have one gallon of water per person for three days. Clean water can be used for both drinking and sanitary purposes. Note expiration dates and rotate stock as needed.
- Keep a three-day supply of non-perishable food per person in your office. 1500 calories per day is an ideal starting point. Store a manual can opener and disposable utensils with your food. Note expiration dates and rotate stock as needed.
- Add emergency supplies. This should include items like a hand-cranked radio, backup batteries, duct tape and flashlights.
- Prepare first aid supplies to go in your preparedness kit. Bandages and over-the-counter pain relievers, as well as items like emergency blankets, are mandatory.
- Keep tools with your emergency preparedness kit. A full toolbox is ideal, but a small set that includes items like wrenches, screwdrivers and pliers are essential for emergency tasks like turning off your main water valve.
- Include important documents. This may include vital business documents, contact information for property management, business insurance assets and any other documents you may need to access during an emergency.
Check and update your preparedness kit regularly
An emergency preparedness kit is only effective if it is updated regularly. To make sure this happens in a prompt manner, designate one person to handle emergency supplies in your office. Ideally, your emergency kit should be checked every six months to ensure the supplies are still in good working order or have not reached their expiration date. Have this employee check the following items and update them as necessary:
- Check expiration dates on food and bottled water. Rotate stock regularly and discard supplies that have reached or exceeded their expiration date.
- Check batteries in flashlights and spare batteries for items like radios.
- Turn on small emergency appliances like radios to make sure they still get a proper signal.
- Go through your first aid kit to ensure all necessary medical supplies are not past their expiration date.
- Ensure that all required tools are still in place and properly organized since you may need to access them quickly.
- As your company grows, add more supplies to accommodate each member of your team.
Give employees a preparedness primer
Creating a well-stocked preparedness kit is only the first part of being ready for the worst in your office. To use it, you need to take the time to train your employees on basic emergency preparedness. Use these tips to effectively train your staff members about emergencies:
- Teach employees where your preparedness kit is located and how it can be accessed.
- Offer training and basic information about disasters that may affect your area.
- Encourage employees to keep their own preparedness supplies in addition to a larger kit that's prepped for the whole office. A desk flashlight and small, portable first aid kit are ideal for each staff member to have.
With the proper preparation, your staff may feel more confident that they can handle a disaster at work. After you've finished creating your emergency preparedness kit, double check your business continuity plan to ensure everything is up to date. If you need help ensuring that your company is well-equipped to handle the unexpected, call the experts at ServiceMaster Restore. With our pre-loss planning services, we can work with you to create a comprehensive plan that includes the best action items your company needs to take if a disaster hits your area. That way, you can get back to business as soon as possible.