What Happens When You’re Working?

Shelby Edwards is the founder of ODT & Associates, LLC, writer, and crisis expert. She has immense experience in the emergency preparedness field, and has put together an article for you to prepare for any emergency at work with just three steps. You can find her work, more articles, and free how-to guides at www.ourdailytoast.com.

I want you to look at your shoes.

Really, look down at your shoes. What are you wearing? Those oh so darling, oh so hot, three-inch platforms? Your fancy “I’ve made it” tasseled loafers? Fabulous.

Now let me ask you, how far do you live from your office? Do you drive or do you take transit? How far is it from your work to your child’s school?

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Are you ready to walk there in those fabulous shoes?

Back in January, ePACT talked about needing an emergency kit at work (Where Do I Need an Emergency Kit?). Did you get that done yet?

Those shoes you’re wearing are just part of why you need that kit. A great many of us spend the biggest part of our waking week at the office, so the odds are good that when something serious happens we’ll be at work. The question is how ready are we to deal with a major emergency or disaster? You’ve likely thought about your family, now what about you?

What can you do today to get ready at the office? Three things.

1. You do need that emergency kit. Don’t let the label stop you from getting this done. Tonight, dig one of those extra backpacks or messenger bags out of the back of your closet. Before you put it down, stick in a pair of sturdy shoes you can really walk in, a practical change of clothes, and outerwear that fits where you live. Slip in a snack like a protein bar, a bottle of water, maybe a little cash, and a comfort kit with a toothbrush and some band aids. From there, customize for you. Need medications? Like chocolate? Wear contact lens? Add that stuff. Ten minutes and you’re done –perfection is not your goal. An incomplete kit is better than no kit at all. Put it by the door and take it to work in the morning. Check it once a year to make sure you still fit in your pants.

2. Your office. Do you walk to your desk the same way every day? When was the last time you took the stairs? When was your last fire drill? Do you know the fastest way out of the office from that conference room you spend too much time in? Mix it up. Actually walk in or out a different way on a routine basis. Try the emergency stairs.

The simple act of doing a walk through will greatly decrease your confusion in a disaster. And while you’re on your walk about, look for stuff that might makes things harder in an emergency. Things like that thousand pound art piece in the lobby that might squish you in an earthquake. Look at where you are with fresh eyes.

3. Your employer. After you make sure your employer has your up-to-date emergency contact information, it’s time to ask them about their disaster plans. How do they plan to respond to a fire, to an earthquake? What is their plan for recovering and getting back to work after a major event? Don’t be shy, ask.

That’s it. Three things. Three things and you personally will be more prepared to deal with a major emergency at work.  You will be more able to get home or to your child’s school if an earthquake makes transit and driving impossible. You will know more about your employer and be an active part of the effort your organization is making to be prepared. Take care of you, be ready, your family needs you.

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