The Do 1 Thing site won the Awareness to Action category of FEMA’s 2014 Individual and Community Preparedness Awards. It’s a 12-month program of small steps that you can take to increase your personal and household preparedness. Throughout 2015, DEM will feature Do 1 Thing items during our weekly blog post series of One Thing Wednesdays. Check back here every week for a new preparedness activity or tip!
Our theme for May is community. This month, we’ll look at aspects of preparedness outside the home for ourselves and our friends and family.
When we’re away from home, most of us spend the majority of our time at work or school. We want to feel as safe in these places as we do in our own homes. Part of that feeling comes from knowing what we and others will do if emergencies happen while we’re there. You don’t have to be an emergency management professional to contribute to this preparedness.
At work, the place to start is your site’s emergency plan. Ask your environmental health and safety (EHS) representative about the plan and what you can do to help with emergency training and drills. Every workplace should have maps posted of its evacuation routes and shelter locations. Learn the locations of fire extinguishers and automatic external defibrillators (AEDs) and learn how to use them. Consider organizing an American Red Cross first and aid CPR class for your workplace or encourage a group to register for our Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training.
Your individual preparedness is as important as your workplace’s collective disaster readiness. Even if a disaster doesn’t directly impact your place of business, its secondary effects can disrupt your normal ability to travel. One example is the January 2014 winter storm that paralyzed Atlanta, Georgia, leaving thousands of commuters trapped in their vehicles or offices. If you commute via car, make sure your vehicle emergency kit is up to date. If you walk, bike, or use public transportation, your options for carrying a kit on the road are more limited, but you can assemble one to keep at work (leaving out the vehicle-specific items, of course).
Check back with us next week, when we’ll talk about preparedness at school!