There are many types of emergency situations that require an appropriate response, such as fires, tornadoes, chemical spills, and electrical outages. This week, we are focusing on emergency procedures and severe weather. In years past, 487,500 structural fires caused 2,855 deaths and 14,075 injuries in the U.S. Severe weather claims lives and causes injury every year. Tornadoes cause an average of 60-65 fatalities and 1,500 injuries; lightning causes an average of 55-60 fatalities and 400 injuries.
At work, you should know the alarm signal for “take cover” and for “evacuation.” You should also know where approved exits and shelter areas are located. These shelter areas have been selected because they are shielded from the full power of a tornado or high winds. The travel route and access to exits and shelters must be kept free of any obstructions that can slow or block access to the location. This doesn’t mean “clearing things out of the way” when something happens. It means keeping the path clear before an emergency occurs. Don’t leave anything unattended in an aisle leading to a shelter or an exit for any length of time.
Planning for evacuation requires knowing how to get out of your work area and to a safe place away from the building. Planning for severe weather requires identifying a place to take shelter and monitoring your community’s weather warning system. Both require establishing procedures to account for the people at your site. (Now it is time to see who knows where to go in an emergency!! Look to your management team and ask the question: where do you go in an emergency? Or if you are reading this, stop for a second and explain to your crew where to go or how to find the take shelter and evacuation areas in the workplace. Make sure everyone understands where or how to handle an emergency, take shelter, or evacuate.)
Evacuations or take shelters do not need to be a scary situation if you are prepared or know how to find a safe place when the situation arises. If you have any questions about emergency procedures, please contact a member of the Ideal safety department for help. We are always available.