A couple of weeks ago a tornado touched down less than a mile from TKO Graphix. Our HR department had created an emergency preparedness plan. It had been practiced. It was implemented. Not everyone followed the procedure. Had the tornado struck there may have been casualties that could have been avoided had the plan been followed.

Why Aren’t Plans Followed?

I was working from home on that day; my wife and our cat Joe were in our safe place, I was outside. I, like many, must believe I’m invulnerable—I’m not. Next time I’ll go to the safe place. My wife says so.  I’m not pointing fingers or placing blame, on the contrary, this type of reaction is what we could expect from most businesses. Do you know why? None of us ever think tragedy will come our way; but it does. Tragedy strikes homes, businesses, workers, and homemakers—everyday.

What CAN be Done?

To begin with, don’t give up just because everyone didn’t follow the plan. Redouble the efforts to put everyone on board. Solicit ideas from leaders and influencers. Train, practice, and train some more. Hold a seminar, send a pamphlet, invite a speaker. And ask for help, the more people who are part of the plan, who take responsibility, the greater the chance for a successful emergency operation. One way to involve others is to assign roles.

Emergency Preparedness Team Roles

[checklist icon=”fa-arrow-right” circle=”no” size=”small” class=”” id=””]
[li_item icon=”” iconcolor=”#00a7e0″ circle=”” circlecolor=””]Coordinator – This is the person in charge. The buck stops here. Their job is to implement the plan, train it, practice it, and assign others to assist with it.[/li_item]
[li_item icon=”” iconcolor=”#00a7e0″ circle=”” circlecolor=””]Floor or department monitors – It’s their responsibility to assure procedures are followed in their assigned area.[/li_item]
[li_item icon=”” iconcolor=”#00a7e0″ circle=”” circlecolor=””]Assistants – They’re charged with helping any physically or mentally challenged teammates follow the procedure.[/li_item]
[li_item icon=”” iconcolor=”#00a7e0″ circle=”” circlecolor=””]Exit monitors – Their task is to guide folks to exits and conduct head counts as needed.[/li_item]
[li_item icon=”” iconcolor=”#00a7e0″ circle=”” circlecolor=””]Gathering helpers –These team members help direct, calm, and count teammates at designated emergency gathering places.[/li_item]
[li_item icon=”” iconcolor=”#00a7e0″ circle=”” circlecolor=””]Communicators – The communicators’ task is to contact local authorities—fire, rescue, police, and utilities as needed.[/li_item]
[/checklist]

If you’d like to learn more the CDC (Center for Disease Control) shares a useful paper Emergency Preparedness and Response Plan containing emergency checklists. When an emergency strikes, whether it’s a chemical spill, bomb threat, natural disaster, fire, or accident—will your team be ready? I know I will…because my wife says so.