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Are you prepared for a natural disaster?

- July 9, 2014 by Thomas Jolliff, ARM, CEES, ALCM (View all posts by Thomas)

The recent fires in southern CA impacted the communities where I live, shop and play, and also made me realize how unprepared I was for a disaster.

As I was driving home on day three of the fires, I received a call from my wife. She had pulled into the driveway and tried to use the garage door opener and nothing happened. The power in the area had gone out. She said, “Guess what I had to do? I had to use our ladder and climb through the second story window because I did not have my keys to the house.”

In that moment, all of the workers’ compensation horror stories I know about ladder accidents flashed through my mind. As a safety professional, hearing that your wife used a ladder that should be in a landfill somewhere is not comforting. It used to be a 20-foot aluminum step ladder, but it was in poor shape so I have been in the process of breaking it into small pieces to more easily get rid of it. The remaining piece was the back half of the ladder (not so small), which was lying on the side of the house.

Needless to say, this weekend I am getting rid of the ladder completely. I’ll also be making extra sets of house keys, checking our flashlights, stocking up on water, and taking an overall look at what we need to do to be more prepared at home in the event of a natural disaster.

If you need some help putting together your disaster plan at work there resources out there to help you.  Ready.gov has resources just for businesses with links to Emergency Response Plans and information on what to do following a disaster, including communicating with employees.