The Best Emergency Preparedness Items You Need At Work
I wrote this list about seven years ago when I was asked to consult a few businesses about having the best emergency preparedness items on hand. I made a binder with suggestions on all of these items. You may not be home during an emergency/event, so having emergency items at your place of business would be helpful, and possibly life-saving. Here’s the deal, most large corporations have training in place, or at least they should have them in place regarding what to do if a disaster happens while you’re at work.
But some smaller businesses may not have put anything together in case something bad should happen. Do you have a business emergency preparedness list on hand for your staff or employees? If not, please consider this list so you are prepared for a disaster or unforeseen emergency. I believe all schools probably have some of these items, or they should have. If you aren’t sure what is in place for your company you should check with your employer to see what items they have and if some training plan is in place.
Please remember, all businesses are different and you will need to make a plan specifically for your company today, not tomorrow. Have a staff meeting with scenarios to lock down the office or have two people with access to a binder with employee’s emergency contact information. This is critical if the HR room is extensively damaged. I designed this PRINTABLE Contact Information list you will want for sure: Food Storage Moms Emergency Contact Info. Have every employee fill it out, if they choose to participate.
Best Emergency Preparedness Business List
1. A drawing or plan of your building/office–highlight with “red” all EXITS.
2. Employer/Employee list with names and family contacts/numbers.
3. Local emergency numbers available at each desk/cubicle.
4. Secure pictures, furniture, water heaters, computers etc. to be earthquake ready by using fastening straps, adhesive fasteners or other securing devices.
5. Remember cell phone text messages may or may not go through when phone lines are not working. Have other communication options available, like walkie-talkies for internal use (see #8 below), or a satellite phone or ham radio (see #9 belwo) for outside communication.
6. Have an emergency power source-generator available like Goal Zero YETI 400, at the very least. Be sure and get some Goal Zero solar panels to go with it. This is the one I have: Goal Zero Yeti 400 Solar Generator Kit w/Nomad 20 Solar Panel
7. Power-failure / emergency lights that will turn on and help during an evacuation of your building: American Red Cross Eton Blackout Buddy Emergency LED Blackout Flashlight and Nightlight (Pack of 2)
8. Walkie Talkies such as Motorola Talkabout 2-Way FRS/GMRS radios located in various places. Some professional walkie talkies require licenses. Check your local area. These are the ones I have: Walkie Talkies
9. Find out who has a HAM radio license, or at least a scanner. You can hear what’s going on in the world even if there is no power, radio, or television.
10. Do training for evacuation plans, etc. Practice different scenarios for disasters and emergencies. Be ready for any unexpected situation.
11. Know where to turn off gas (only turn off if you smell gas). Make sure you have the right tool handy to turn it off.
12. Find where to turn off electric power. Flipping the switches at the circuit breaker panel DOES NOT turn off the power. Find where the MAIN switch is to turn it off.
13. Know where to turn off the main water line. You might need a water key.
14. BEFORE an emergency, find out where all the emergency shut-off switches are located. Post a cheat sheet with this information in several locations throughout your building or office.
Best Emergency Preparedness Items
15. Water containers, water purification drops (I prefer Water Preserver). Rotate water treated with Water Preserver every 5 years. One gallon of water is needed per person per day. Heat/high temperatures would warrant more water per day per person. Have a plan with additional water that can be carried quickly should you need to leave your building. I prefer the WaterBricks because they are stackable and hold 3.5 gallons: WaterBrick 1833-0001 Stackable Water and Food Storage Container, 3.5 gal of Liquid, 27 lb of Dry Food Products, Blue
16. For large water containers, make sure you have the necessary item(s) to open the containers (like a Water Bung) and have spigots available for ease of use. If you choose to use the 55-gallon water barrels be sure and have a pump/siphon for it. Please remember the Water Preserver so you only have to rotate the water every five years: Water Preserver Concentrate
17. Food: Decide how many people are typically in each building and how many calories per day per person. Plan on MRE’s and cold instant food types (a combination is best). This is a good food product for the office: Mountain House Just In Case… Classic Bucket
18. Cooking Outside: Two separate sources are best, such as propane, coal or wood. I prefer Camp Chef (uses only propane). For large groups, I would recommend MRE’s/or similar that only require heated water. It would be hard to “cook” every meal. I recommend this stove: Camp Chef Explorer Series EX-60LW 2-Burner Modular Cooking System, Black
19. Adequate paper products, plates, cups, silverware/serving
20. Fuel: I like Ozark Oak Lump charcoal. It lasts indefinitely if kept in airtight containers; use Gamma lids on 6-gallon buckets to make them easier to open. The Ozark Oak Lump charcoal has no chemicals like regular charcoal. You can store and forget until needed and it is safer to store than propane. Charcoal briquettes without fluid starter will last indefinitely if kept dry and in airtight containers.
21. Fire starters/matches/emergency candles.
22. Personal Hygiene, package toilet chemicals, snap-on toilet seat, toilet paper, women hygiene products, hand sanitizer, gloves latex/non-latex.
23. Portable toilet with bags, I recommend this one: Camco 41541 Portable Toilet – 5.3 gallon
24. First Aid Kits for each building/office. Osha recommended kit-25 person Emergency Ready First-aid Kit.
25. 3M/N95 masks for everyone: 3M 8210 N95 Respirator, 20-Pack
26. Plastic sheeting & duct tape/body bags: 3M 06723 12′ x 400′ Plastic Sheeting
27. Aspirin, Aleve, Ibuprofen, etc., Imodium (anti-Diarrhea), Vitamin C.
28. Bio-hazard Bags: Medical Action Infectious Waste Bag, Red, 1 Gallon, 11″ x 14.25″, 20/Roll
29. Emergency Blankets: Emergency Mylar Blanket 52″ x 84″ – Pack of 12 Blankets
30. Safety Whistles: Shoreline Marine Safety Whistle Basic
31. Shake/Glow Lights: Cyalume SnapLight 6″ Industrial Grade Light Sticks, Glow Sticks, Multi-Color 12 Pack (Green, White, Red, Orange, Yellow, Blue)
32. Flashlights/solar/crank and battery models. (Batteries stored separately): Goal Zero Portable Torch 250 with Power Hub and Emergency Light with Solar and Hand Crank
33. Keep lots of batteries (all sizes-rotate).
34. Radios/Weather Radios with Hand Crank: American Red Cross FRX3 Hand Crank NOAA AM/FM Weather Alert Radio with Smartphone Charger
35. Phone Chargers (multi-use/size) you might not be able to leave your building. You can buy multi-charge units.
36. Crowbar, 2 by 4’s for cribbing
37. 4-in-1 survival tool: 4-in-1 Tool
38. Fire escape ladder if you have more than a single level building.
39. Rope and/or paracord: Paracord Planet 100′ Hanks Parachute 550 Cord Type III 7 Strand Paracord Top 40 Most Popular Colors (Multi Camo)
40. Multi-function knives: Multi-Task Knife
41. Insect Repellant
42. Shampoo, shaving cream, shavers, toothpaste, toothbrushes, towels, wash rags, dish towels, kitchen soap
43. Work gloves
Since businesses come in all sorts of shapes and sizes you will need to consider how many of the above items are appropriate for your company. You also need to account for the space necessary for storage and easy retrieval of the items. If any of the items have a shelf life you also need to have a system in place to remind management that rotation is timely. Please have the best emergency preparedness items on hand for your staff, I believe you will need them sooner than later. May God bless this world. Linda
FEMA: Federal Emergency Management Agency.
4 thoughts on “The Best Emergency Preparedness Items You Need At Work”
Hi Mare, I knew you would be prepared with stuff in your car, we think a lot alike! Hugs! Linda
Before I retired in 2015, I worked for a really large company (over 1500) in our building. We had periodic drills to leave the building with certain departments to go to certain areas in the parking lot. I was fortunate to have my “place” near where I parked so I had ready access to my auto emergency preps.
Not long after I started working for this company in 2000, we had an earthquake that damaged some of the building – canned lights popped out, cracks in the stairwells, etc. Nothing that prevented us leaving the building when things settled down. I saw how prepared my company was for handling these kinds of emergencies. Living and working in the shadow of volcanoes made this a necessity!
Oh and another place I worked was along the Columbia River – nasty winter weather!! We were required to keep a backpack with clothes, toiletries, a sleeping bag/pillow/blankets, food, water, flashlight, etc., at our desk during the winter. It was a safety measure as a snow storm could come in and dump feet of snow that was blowing.
There was only one time that I thought I would actually need to use it! It started snowing shortly after I got to work and within an hour we had 8+ inches. It was deemed safe for us to travel home. For me that was about 40 miles on freeway. But it was a bit treacherous because of the swirling snow and wind. It took me about 2 1/2 hours to get home. I took my work preps in the car with me in the event I got stranded on the side of the road. Fortunately, there were a dozen of us headed the same direction so we were able to keep track of each other.
Hi Linda, I work on the 6th floor of an old building in a major metro area that is in an earthquake zone. I have both a building evacuation kit, including a hard hat, work gloves, pry bars, and headlamp, and an extensive get-home kit in a wheeled backpack stored under my desk at work. I also keep canned soups and stews in my desk. As you would say, that’s just how I roll. 🙂
A while back, I supplied the office with a small flashlight for each desk. I also make sure we keep several sizes of batteries in the office supply cabinet.
While I have been able to keep the office first aid kit only stocked with basic bandages, after the Vegas shooting I was allowed to install inside door locks on all 3 bathrooms in case of an active shooter incident.
Since I am responsible for the office kitchen, we have lots of eating supplies but the only food and water are the vending machines. Since we stock the vending machines ourselves, I do make sure we have plenty of surplus snacks and drinks.
I do what I can as the office “mom!” By the way, I am the director of technical support who has a practical streak a mile wide.
Always love your thoughtful posts.