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Mar 01 2014
Personal Workplace Emergency Preparedness
Melissa Mickelsen, CCE, Geneva Rock Products, Inc.

Do you ever feel like you're living at your office? Or like you spend more time at work than anywhere else? Well consider this: if there are 251 working days in 2014, and you work 8 hours a day, you'll spend 23% of 2014 at work. That's a significant amount of your time!


Now, have you ever wondered what would happen if an emergency or disaster occurred while you were at work? What would you do if you weren't able to leave your office for several hours or even overnight due to emergency conditions? Because we spend so much of our time at work, it's important to consider the answers to these questions and think about how we'd take care of ourselves if we were trapped at work. Would we have food, water, warmth, first aid supplies and other necessities?


The American Red Cross has published a list of suggested items to include in a personal workplace emergency preparedness kit.*  Items on this list include some critical basics along with some additional supplies to consider: 


*         Non-perishable food to sustain you for at least one day, such as granola bars, energy bars, and ready-to-eat canned meals,

          meats, fruits and vegetables, along with a non-electric can opener

*         Water - at least 1 gallon stored in plastic containers

*         A flashlight with extra batteries

*         First aid supplies if a well-stocked first aid kit is not available at your office

*         An emergency Mylar blanket or a regular blanket

*         Personal hygiene items including a toothbrush, toothpaste, comb, brush, soap, contact lens supplies and feminine supplies

*         Medications

*         A complete change of sensible clothing and footwear

*         Disposable plates, cups and utensils, if these are not available at your office

*         Extra glasses if glasses are worn

*         A battery-powered or hand-crank radio to receive news and alerts


Another potentially useful item not included on the American Red Cross list is a solar powered charging unit for cell phones and other electronic devices. Emergency cash might also be very important.


A personal workplace preparedness kit should be tailored to your individual needs and routines. It should be kept close to your workspace and items should be labeled with your name and rotated as needed. A storage bag or container with handles or a strap is recommended in case you need to grab the kit and go.


While many of us have dedicated time and resources to being prepared at home, the workplace is often overlooked. Start with just a few items and build from there to create a personal workplace preparedness kit that will help you cope in a disaster or emergency situation.


For more information, visit readyrating.org 


*Courtesy of The American Red Cross. © 2012 The American National Red Cross.  All rights reserved. Adaptation by Melissa Mickelsen.