I always stress the importance of being proactive about preventing disasters. I also stress the need for a good shiny coat. But that is a little off-topic. Back to the business at hand, disaster preparedness is critical because, while it won’t necessarily stop every potential disaster from happening, it will aid your efforts to mitigate the damage and, we hope above all else, save lives.
As 2010 comes to an end, families and property managers and owners have a chance to consider some New Year’s safety resolutions. For some ideas, you can look to FEMA’s recently announced “Resolve to be Ready in 2011” campaign. This is great because, while we want you to be thinking about safety every day; New Year’s is the perfect time to commit to implementing change. My resolution is to demand even more tummy scratches and to take more naps. I like to set the bar low.
Whether you choose to use this post to help formulate a New Year’s resolution or to inspire ideas for safety-related holiday gift ideas, remember that safety equipment pays for itself 100-fold the minute it is needed.
For families, the Resolve-to-be-Ready Program promotes readiness in three simple steps. So schedule firm deadlines for each to ensure your family is covered:
1. Create a Family Emergency Plan.
- Discuss plans with all members of the family, being careful to include younger children, who often think quickly in emergencies.
- Establish a meeting place and ways to contact each other. Remember cell phones might not be operational. So plan for contingencies.
- Involve neighbors, especially noting whom children should contact during emergencies if parents are not present.
- Designate someone to rescue or guide your pet during an emergency. (This point is near and dear to my heart.)
2. Create an Emergency Kit. (Here is a comprehensive list of kit-suggestions.)
- Include documents such as emergency contact numbers, insurance information and bank records.
- Also, don’t forget flashlights and first aid supplies.
- Don’t neglect your pets. (This is an important rule all the time, not just during emergencies. They will need food and water! They also might enjoy a nice brisket, some chicken wings…
- For little children and infants, you should include diapers and related items. Be sure to check the kit contents on a regular basis since 18-month-old children won’t fit into newborn diapers.
3. Be Disaster-Specific.
- If you live in Southern California, you should create unique plans for wildfires, earthquakes and maybe even mudslides.
- Atlantic coastal residents should purchase NOAA radios for better hurricane awareness to help plan evacuation or shelter plans.
- Make sure you plan for the natural disasters specific to your region of the world. In my world, running out of tennis balls is a natural disaster.
Need gift ideas for family members, employees or coworkers? You might get some funny looks. But safety preparedness gifts show that you truly care! Consider these suggestions, which are more creative and helpful than a tie or Chia Pet:
- An Emergency Generator
- New carbon monoxide and smoke detectors are now available even for the hearing impaired
- A piece of rope with a chewable ball on the end
- Fire extinguishers are perfect for family members who spend long hours in the garage doing woodworking or tinkering with cars
- A gift certificate for First Aid or CPR classes. If you can’t find an organization that offers these, create one of your own.
What can property owners and managers do to promote readiness?
- Giving fruit cakes at the holiday party? Consider a safety-related item such as an earthquake kit or roadside emergency kit.
- If a major disaster prevents your employees or tenants from going home, do you have sufficient supplies for an overnight stay? Resolve to build an adequate stockpile of ready-to-eat meals, blankets and bottled water.
- Institute a “bring your pet to work” day! What does that have to do with safety? Well it will certainly make your tenants happier!
Encourage your employees to meet resolutions by developing incentives. Resolve-to-be-Ready recommends that employees sign safety related pledges and display them at their desks.
Unlike trying to lose weight or resolving not to chase Whiskers, safety and preparation resolutions are relatively simple and realistic to meet. Whether you are buying waterproof flashlights for Uncle Fred or offering free CPR classes at your office building, you can help others by encouraging them to focus on safety.
When a disaster strikes, prior planning and clear decisive action can help save lives. For the latest emergency management training for facility/building managers, contact RJ Westmore, Inc. Our new Version 2.0 e-based training system offers the best emergency training system with automated and integrated features. Visit RJWestmore.com for more information and remember to BE SAFE.