Archive for November, 2012
Katrina may have seemed like the storm to end all storms, but the last couple of years have spawned more hurricanes, tropical storms and bad weather problems than most people have dealt with in their lifetime. Hurricane Sandy, dubbed “Frankenstorm” in the media, proved how much damage a natural disaster can create. With the chances of Mother Nature crashing down on your home getting closer every season, it’s time to start serious planning. When it comes to hurricanes, tornadoes and other natural catastrophes, do you have a survival plan?
Planning for the worst begins by sitting down with your family and planning what each of you will do during the coming storm. Decide how each member of the family will get home, including tracing out alternate routes in case roads are blocked. Designate a responsible adult to gathering each minor child and bringing them home. Once you have the routes home planned, start stocking emergency supplies. FEMA recommends keeping at least a 3-day supply of food and water for each member of the household, stored in a safe place near the center of the house. Designate part of a closet for hurricane supplies, then fill it up with shelf-stable food such as tuna, crackers and peanut butter, gallons of spring water, blankets, flashlights and a crank-powered radio. Add playing cards, paperback books and board games to help pass the boring hours without electricity.
What if disaster hits your home? While you’re planning to hunker down in the house without electricity, start planning for the worst; what if you can’t even use that comfort? Designate a spot away from your home, near high ground, as a meeting place for all family members. Choose a spot everyone can easily find, such as a school, post office or favorite park. While you’re packing hurricane supplies in your closet, add more portable versions to backpacks or rolling suitcases to create bug-out bags. These bags hold enough basic supplies to keep you safe for 72 hours, and each family member should have one of their own. Keep a separate bag in the car and one in your office, as well as a change of clothing more suitable for urban hiking.
A disaster can occur at any moment with absolutely no warning. That is why it is very important to prepare an emergency evacuation plan in the event of a disaster such as a fire. This blog will provide information on how to effectively create an emergency evacuation plan in the workplace. When forming an emergency evacuation plan, the very first thing to do is to form an Emergency Response Team, which will consist of several individuals with specific duties. Each role will be discussed in detail below.
Floor Warden: A responsible person on each floor of every high-rise building should be designated as Floor Warden, who will oversee and ensure safe and complete evacuation or relocation of occupants during a fire or other emergency. There are also alternate floor wardens who act as assistants in time of an emergency.
5 duties of a Floor Warden:
- Directing Stairwell Monitors to their assigned stairwell
- Making sure Searchers have door markers and are thoroughly checking each office, restrooms & conference rooms.
- Directging Group Leaders down each stairwell to the designated safe refuge (either 5 floors down or Music Center), making sure they have their employee checklist.
- Waiting for Searchers to check in with status.
- When last search team arrives, going to the Safe Refuge Location. You are the last person off the floor.
Group Leader: This person would be selected to lead evacuees to the designated “Safe Refuge Location” or floor, and keep the group together for a head count. It is the Group Leader’s responsibility to keep an updated list of all current employees and emergency contact information available in time of emergency.
4 duties of a Group Leader:
- Leading co-workers down the designated stairwell to the Safe Refuge Location (5 floors down from your current floor)
- Directing and organizing co-workers at Safe Refuge Location
- Signing people in. Make sure you have sign in forms and pens with you
- Reporting status to the Floor Warden.
Searcher: The Searcher should be utilized to provide a systematic and thorough search of all floor areas with instructions to report to their nearest stairwell.
4 duties of a Searcher:
- Check all designated areas of the floor, including restrooms and conference rooms. Have post-its notes with you.
- After searched, close all doors behind you to reduce the spread of heat and smoke.
- Mark doors of all areas searched with post-it notes. Mark eye level and on lower portion of door so it is visible when there is smoke.
- After entire floor has been searched, report to Floor Warden with status report and proceed to the nearest stairwell to evacuate.
Stairwell Monitor: When alerted (either by alarm, P.A. phone contact), would take up position at designated stairwell as soon as possible and assist in building relocation/evacuation.
2 duties of a Stairwell Monitor:
- Have occupants go directly to the nearest stairwell door and admit occupants five at a time into the stairwell while keeping the door open. Never block the door with a device such as a wedge, etc. Be prepared to alternate the entry of evacuees into lines of already moving “traffic”. Give safety instructions, guidance, as follows:
A. to prevent injury, instruct evacuees to remove high heels or slick soled shoes. Make sure to carry them downstairs with them. No coffee cups.
B. Instruct each group of evacuees to grasp the handrail on the right (inside rail) and walk in a single file line.
C. Direct traffic to Safe Refuge Location (5 floors down). Tell them which floor to go to.
D. Have physically impaired individuals and their assistant enter the stairwell last to assure quick evacuation.
E. Dispel any false information, rumors, etc. To reduce panic, refrain from using the word “fire”.
2. When occupants clear your floor and when instructed by Floor Warden, securely close door behind you and proceed to Safe Refuge Location.
Preparing an effective emergency evacuation plan is absolutely essential because a disaster can strike at any moment but please also keep in mind that having a survival kit is equally important. When a crisis occurs, it becomes imperative to grab your survival kit(s) and follow your emergency evacuation plan to ensure a safe location.