Do You Have an Office Emergency Kit?
We never would have thought we would be living in quite the situation like we are today with the COVID-19 pandemic, but there are good things to come out of this crisis, as well. For instance, Do You Have an Office Emergency Kit? It is the perfect time to assess where you are with this and build your company’s survival supplies so you are ready after any major disaster.
An office emergency can disrupt, threaten or shut down operations. As we’ve seen with COVID-19, many have been shut down or are suddenly working remotely. But what happens if there is a physical emergency? In our neck of the woods, things like fires, tornados or floods tend to cause the most harm. But it’s also necessary to think about mass shootings, as well, and how you would protect your business and employees. Are you prepared for minor and major emergencies that may arise to keep everyone safe?
What should you put in an Office Emergency Kit?
Overall, have supplies to help employees escape danger and return safely to their homes or somewhere safe in the work building until emergency relief arrives. You want to make sure each emergency kit provides for the basic needs of your employees and that it can help someone survive 3 to 5 days without electricity, food and water.
Things to include:
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- First aid kit
- Respirator and box of surgical masks or dust masks
- Water purification tablets
- Canned goods, manual can opener, and prepackaged foods
- Emergency survival food ration bars
- Mylar emergency blankets
- Bottled water and emergency water packets
- Battery powered or hand crank weather radio
- Extra cell phone batteries and chargers
- Burner phone or walkie-talkie
- An emergency whistle attached to a lanyard
- Maps of your local area
- A pry bar
- Duct tape
- Work gloves
- Hand warmers
- Safety Goggles
- Hand sanitizer
- Plastic garbage bags
- A wrench to turn off utilities
- Non-prescription medications such as pain relievers
- Contact lens solution
- Light sticks
- Multi-tool (like a Leatherman)
- Wet wipes
- Feminine hygiene items, if needed
- Tarp/Ground Cover
- Portable toilet
- Toilet bags
- Deodorizer packets
- Toilet paper rolls
- Extra shoes or boots
- Roll of quarters to hit up the break room vending machines in minor emergencies
And don’t forget some fun items! Add in some chocolate bars and candy to brighten moods. You may even want to add in some reading material and headlamps to keep boredom at bay that can be shared. It’s always important to remember that during extreme disasters, outside help may take several days to arrive.
What else do I need?
While the physical items above will help you to be prepared, there are other items needed to maintain office continuity in the event of a disaster. We are definitely seeing the importance of this in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Crisis Communications Plan
Create and maintain a plan with an overview of what may happen in different situations. This will prepare your employees and will let them know what is expected of them in an emergency. Make sure this includes an emergency escape route that you will use and familiarize yourself and your employees with it, as well.
- Crisis Emergency Response Team
These people are responsible for making sure the supplies above are stored somewhere at work, as well as helping with any type of drills. Every response team member should also keep an updated Crisis Communication Plan with them.
- Emergency Notification System
What is your plan to get in touch with your employees in the event of an emergency? Ideally, it would be an emergency mass notification system that would allow you to draft, test and issue alerts from any Wi-Fi connected mobile device.
Where should you store Emergency supplies?
Ideally, you’ll want to store safety items in airtight plastic bags or plastic totes. A backpack makes a convenient and portable option for an emergency kit. Depending on the size of your office, this could contain several bags or backpacks.
You may also want to consider having members of your Crisis Emergency Response Team keep a certain amount of supplies directly in their office. This will allow them to have access to items immediately and to start helping those around them.
You also will want to check on these stored items annually and replace anything that may be expired immediately. You never know when these emergency supplies could save a life.
At the end of the day, an Office Emergency Kit will hopefully never be needed. But if it is, it will keep you and your employees safe, warm and in contact with loved ones during an emergency. It makes good business sense.