(Editor’s note: Throughout the month of September, we will feature an article each week on a topic related to National Preparedness Month. The article below is the first article in this series.)
This week marks the first week of National Preparedness Month, and FEMA is working hard to encourage individuals, families and businesses to take the necessary steps to be prepared. As FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate and Secretary Janet Napolitano discuss in their video message to the workforce, it’s equally important for us to be prepared in our workplace every day.
Research on personal preparedness shows those individuals who believe they are prepared for disasters often are not as prepared as they think. In addition, some admit they do not plan to prepare at all. This year, to help DHS employees get ready, a new Independent Study course IS-450 has been developed specifically about emergency preparedness for federal employees. In addition, the Independent Study course IS-450.NC is available for employees who live or work in the National Capital Region.
If you have not done so already, please talk to your colleagues and supervisors about your workplace preparedness plans and go kits. Workplace preparedness is a shared responsibility. As you put your kit together, ask your colleagues what they are doing to be prepared.
- Do they have a clear understanding of what your office preparedness plans are?
- Do they have preparedness kits and family preparedness plans in place?
- Does anyone require any additional assistance in getting prepared at work?
It is critical that each of us take the time to refresh our understanding of our evacuation plans, shelter-in-place instructions, and deployment requirements. Take time now to also review your personal preparedness plans and put together your office preparedness kits.
Remember, in the event you need to shelter in place, you should have a change of clothes, a flashlight and a light blanket at your work area or at your desk. If you ever have to evacuate the building be sure to take your personal identification as well as your house and car keys. It’s also a good idea to have a comfortable pair of shoes at your desk for walking down flights of stairs and long city blocks.
If you receive notification to be deployed, you may not have time to go home and pack. Therefore, you may want to consider putting together a go-kit in advance to keep at your desk. An appropriate change of clothes and toiletry items, including extra medication, if needed, proper identification such as your DHS badge or other federal or state issued ID and your government issued travel card are essential for your go-kit. You know best what other items you will need while deployed.
By preparing for emergencies, we as federal employees can enhance the safety of our families and strengthen our ability to execute our mission. Go to this Ready.gov page today to learn more on how you can “Pledge to Prepare”.