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We all spend the majority of our waking day in the office. While a natural or sociological disaster would definitely not be another day at the office – it certainly pays to be prepared.
As a part of your business risk management plan – Just like you might run regular fire drills to prepare for a structure fire, survival kits should be a priority to cover the basic needs of your staff in the case of an emergency. Food, water, shelter and sanitation are all key aspects to keeping the team safe, healthy and in good spirits when disaster hits.
A survival or emergency kit is essentially a tool kit containing items which will provide aid during a crisis.
It is recommended that you stock supplies to see each person through three days or 72 hours of disaster. This is because it can take that long, or potentially longer for emergency services to reach you and provide help.
Imagine a particularly powerful storm hits your city, the extreme winds, rain or snow means that the roads have become extraordinarily dangerous. You and your staff will need to shelter in the office over night as it is too risky to attempt travelling. On the other end of the scale, what if a major disaster like an earthquake or a chemical spill was to occur and your staff becomes trapped inside the building for days?
Do you have the supplies needed to maintain general safety and hygiene? What about if you have no access to running water or electricity?
Take the time to calculate the basic caloric needs of your team members in order to store enough food to provide necessary subsistence. Ideally you will have stocks to give each person up to 2000 calories per day, although you can survive on much less. All of our kits contain
Emergency Food bars. These are perfect as they have a 5 year shelf life, provide total and complete nutrition, have a pleasant taste while not provoking thirst. They are compact and easy to store.
Often companies will stockpile canned goods yet the simple act of cooking becomes exponentially more difficult when you no longer have the modern convenience of a kitchen! Canned food requires can openers, a method of heating like a stove or fire plus a pot and utensils. Not only does this easily double the amount of goods you need to store but forces you to use precious water resources to wash up. As you can see this is not really practical during a crisis.
Canned goods also need to be rotated with much more regularity than the food bars which have specifically designed for the purpose of long term food storage. For these reasons food bars are used by the military and many aid organisations during disaster relief. Follow in the footsteps on the experts and stock up with food bars in your office kit.
All water you consume or use during a crisis situation needs to be sanitized due to water borne pathogens that can make you very ill. Water sources can be contaminated with an array of bacterial and viral contingents like viral gastroenteritis, cholera, or hepatitis A. Many of these pathogens cause dysentery, an illness you may associate with developing countries. In an emergency situation where water is precious, this sickness would quickly become dire.
Make sure to include water or the means to produce clean and safe water. Al of our kits include Emergency Water Pouches which are easy to dispense, simply open and drink straight from the packet reducing waste and have no requirement for cups.
There are also germicidal tablets which will sanitize your water by killing the living microorganisms contained in most water supplies. This will prevent nasty water borne illnesses which can be fatal in survival scenarios.
It is easy to store food and water and think you are done however do not underestimate the need for hygienic conditions – even for short term emergencies. Natural disasters frequently disrupt plumbing systems which can render the toilets useless. In the case that your employee’s have to shelter in the office then providing proper sanitation is a must.
Many of these kits provide necessary items to help you keep the office hygienic when running water is potentially no longer available. The kits contain either portable toilets or buckets that can be turned into a toilet, chemicals to treat the waste as well as toilet paper and moist towelettes to help maintain comfortable practices during a crisis.
Include a comprehensive first aid kit that allows to you easily handle all minor injuries. If you are only sheltering in place to avoid a storm you may feel you do not require anything other than the basics. However – it always pays to prepare for the worst as it is better to have too much in your kit than not enough.
Severe weather or other such emergencies tend to create debris, broken glass, caved in ceilings, broken objects around buildings resulting in a very dangerous environment. A comprehensive first aid kit gives you the tools to patch up general cuts, bruises and scrapes that will inevitably occur.
Make a Plan
Don’t forget, knowledge weighs nothing! Once you have your preparedness kits in place, it’s also important to have a solid plan in case you need to use it. Here are some useful points to remember while planning:
- Determine the safest escape routes and practice evacuating the building frequently.
- Research the most common type of natural disasters in your area in order to prepare in the right ways.
- Stay informed by knowing where to find out information about weather forecasts and emergency broadcasts.
- Learn how to turn off the water, gas and electricity at the main shut off points.
- Create a contact card for each member of the team so it is easy to reach their next of kin – keep this in your survival kit.