Boss, What do We do?
In my professional life, I work as a Human Resources Director for an entertainment entity; I’ve also worked in manufacturing, retail, and in the temporary services industry. There have been occasions where I have had to write emergency preparedness plans, and almost all of them end at the emergency. What happens after?
It is not difficult to store some personal prep items at work, most employers provide lockers, and for those lucky enough, offices for their employees. However, a company wide emergency, or a local or national emergency that lasts more than a day or so is going to have a mix of people, possibly having to bug in place until things clear. So how do you and your employer handle this situation?
First, take care of your own workplace preps, two to three days of food, water, and a small first aid kit should fit in most lockers. Be observant, know who else makes sure they have a couple days’ worth of lunch and who only keeps mints and gum. Be aware of resources within your workplace, vending machines, cafeteria if you have one, if not where food resources might be near your place of work.
Your next step, get in contact with your OSHA officer or Safety officer. Suggest to them, as a part of the emergency preparedness plan for your work place, that they stockpile some non-perishable food and water in case people are stuck in the building during an emergency. If you have a disaster shelter in place, ask questions. Is it stocked? Is there a potable water supply? What are the plans if something happens and you are snowed in for two days, or if something happens? Make yourself aware of what is going on at your workplace.
Employers, look around at the people who work for you, if there is an emergency and you are stuck in place, these are the people you will have to survive with, the ones you will go through the shit hitting the fan with, and it is just as important to prep in your place of business as it is in your home.
Ensure you have shelter in place plans for your employees, just in case. I know many places do not have more than an industrial bathroom, and if the water is shut off for any reason, you need to plan for being able to remove waste after a day or two. If you have tank toilets, that will not be too hard for the first few days, but you will need to plan for water needs to ensure the toilets flush properly or you will have a serious health risk situation within a few days. Plan for ten gallons per day per employee, and then plan another ten gallons for waste flush.
Food needs for each employee needs to be considered, vending machines will only really work for a few days, if that; if you have to feed your employees in place for more than two days, you need to plan ahead. I would recommend having non-perishable foods on hand for each employee for at least three days.
Medical supplies should be on hand. I know most industrial and retail locations have large first aid kits with basic supplies and medications in them, but recent rulings from OSHA have recommended taking medications out of industrial first aid kits, ruling that employers are not licensed to prescribe medications. If you have medication in your kit, remove it to a location where employees can get to it on their own, then you as an employer are not liable for dispensing, they make that choice. It is recommended that anyone with more than 10 employees have a portable defibrillator device on hand, and I recommend at least one trained first responder.
Prepping is not just something we do in our homes, but in all parts of our lives. The workplace is just as important as prepping your family home and bug out location. For all we know, the shit will hit the fan right as your first break whistle goes off, or while you are sitting at lunch, and there is no clear cut way of knowing when you will be able to get to your family and preps.