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Workplace Preparedness

Emergency & Survival GearBy Rob K12

Because disasters can strike anywhere, the workplace is another area to consider for emergency preparedness. On September 11, 2001, thousands of people went to work expecting to have just another day at the office, and ended up facing the worst terrorist attack in U.S. history. Workplace emergencies do happen, and if a situation arises during the hours when you are at the office, you must be prepared.

Ideally, you need to get home. But if that can’t happen for some reason, you may find yourself stuck at the office. Many companies have an Emergency Action Plan (EAP). If yours does, become familiar with the EAP and the location of any survival and emergency medical equipment in the office. Practice evacuating the building as described in the EAP, and identify alternate routes in case the primary route is obstructed. Observe the grounds outside for water sources like ponds, creeks, and reservoirs in case there is a need to resupply your water. You will need a means to purify that water.

If your workplace does not currently have an EAP, then you need to create one and prepare your own workplace emergency kit. Put it in a small backpack or duffle bag and keep it in your workspace at all times. It will provide you with survival essentials if you have to stay in place, and can be easily carried if you are required to evacuate. It should contain the below items. You can also view our Workplace Checklist.

First Aid Kit plus hand sanitizer and anti-bacterial wipes. A small kit will provide you the minimal first aid essentials with the ability to sanitize your hands and small wounds. Add any prescription medications you need.

Shelter – Emergency blanket or emergency bivvy bag in case you are unable to leave your building. Also include an emergency poncho to wear if needed when evacuating.

Water- A liter bottle of water, plus emergency water purification tablets (iodine or chlorine dioxide) or small purification filter. Different types of purification tablets are used in different ways, so be sure you read the directions first. Emergency water packets are also small and lightweight and will supplement your water supply.

Food – Protein bars, trail mix, energy drink powder, and snacks to provide needed calories and energy.

FireLighter, storm matches, and ferrocerium spark rod. You should always have at least three methods of starting a fire in any kit you build.

Signal – Whistle, mirror, glow stick. Always have a signal device for both audio and visual recognition.

Tools Multi-tool, flashlight, spare batteries, 20 feet of 550 parachute cord, cell phone, cell phone charger/spare battery, comfortable shoes, cash in small bills. Expect electricity to be down and ATMs to be out of service.

Safety/Security -Air filter mask, rubber gloves, eye protection, pepper spray.

Entertainment – Playing cards, a book, and pictures of your family will help pass the time and also give you the motivation to get home safely.

The climate and your environment will also influence the items you include in your kit. Your kit needs to cover the survival priorities and include any items that fit your specific needs.

Rob K12 is the owner and chief instructor at K12 Survival Solutions. He is a 20-year veteran of the United States Marine Corps and has extensive experience all over the world. He is a graduate of the “C” level SERE school and earned his Wilderness First Aid certification from the Wilderness Medical Institute of the National Outdoor Leadership School.