What types of disasters keep you awake at night? An active shooter? A hurricane? A wildfire? A tornado? You can expect that your citizens share your fears, as do your employees. While no public safety office can fully predict a widescale, or hyperlocal disaster, every public safety officer should prepare for one. While preparations should include the creation and maintenance of a crisis communication plan, the development of a community emergency response team, and the implementation of an emergency mass notification system, dig deeper and think beyond community-wide safety and focus on the risks and safety measures that you need to take to protect your own office. What follows are tips for building an emergency preparedness kit for your office. After you successfully implement these tips, share them on your local government website and encourage business leaders in your community to make similar preparations.
What to Include in an Emergency Preparedness Kit
If your office is every under attack or damaged in an unexpected earthquake or tornado, it may take time for emergency responders to reach you. Until they do, you and your co-workers will need access to the following basic safety supplies:
- A large flashlight and extra batteries.
- A first aid kit.
- A respirator and box of surgical masks or dust masks.
- Water purification tablets.
- Canned goods and a manual can opener, and prepackaged foods. Emergency survival food ration bars are ideal for storage and consumption.
- Several Mylar emergency blankets.
- Bottled water as well as emergency water packets. Plan for one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days for both drinking and sanitation.
- A battery powered or hand crank weather radio.
- Extra cell phone batteries.
- A sleeping bag or blanket for each member of your office.
- An emergency whistle attached to a lanyard.
- Maps of your local area.
- A pry bar.
- Duct tape.
- Work gloves.
- Hand warmers
- Hand sanitizer and moist towelettes.
- Plastic garbage bags.
- A wrench to turn off utilities.
- Non-prescription medications such as pain relievers.
- Contact lens solution.
Pack enough supplies for three to seven days, depending on the size of your office and the total number of potentially impacted staff members.
Where to Store Emergency Supplies
Store safety items in airtight plastic bags. A backpack makes a convenient and portable storage option for an emergency preparedness kit that is intended for use by a single individual. Depending on the size if the kit you’ve built, which should coincide with the size of your office, you may also want to consider several plastic storage totes and store them in a safe, but easily identified location. Be sure to check on your stored items annually and replace any expired items immediately. You never know when your emergency supplies may save a life.
Communicating Safety Instructions During an Emergency
As the public safety offer for your community, as long as you are safe and uninjured, you will still need to execute certain components of your emergency response plan, no matter where you are. That means you need the ability to issue emergency notifications and safety instructions to your community. Make sure you choose an emergency mass notification system that allows you to draft, test, and issue alerts from any Wi-Fi connected mobile device.