In some situations, if a disaster occurs, follow these guidelines:
It is best to stay inside during some situations to avoid outside uncertainties. In other situations, where and how you take shelter may mean the difference between life and death. A significant portion of work takes place out doors. Therefore, it is important to plan how to notify employees of imminent bad weather or if there has been air contamination that requires everyone to move inside for protection. Follow instructions from local authorities.
- Establish a warning system. Test the system frequently. Plan how you will communicate with people who don’t speak English or have physical impairments.
- Develop a system for knowing who is on your property and for accounting for everyone as they arrive in the shelter.
- Assign specific duties to employees and create checklists for each responsibility. Designate and train employees and their backups.
- Assemble emergency supply kits and keep them in the shelter locations.
- Keep some form of external communication on hand in the shelter (radio, television, computer, etc.)
- Determine where you will take shelter in case of a tornado warning. Determine how you will notify workers in the field(s). Underground shelters are best, but if not available, go to an interior room or hallway on the lowest level. Stay away from windows, doors, and outside walls.
- Determine where you will take shelter in case of air contamination. If you must “seal the room,” you should go to an inside room on a higher floor with as few windows and doors as possible. To seal the room: lock doors, close windows, air vents and fireplace dampers. Turn off fans, air conditioning and forced air heating units. Seal all windows, doors and air vents with plastic sheeting and duct tape. Be prepared to use what you have on hand to seal gaps to create a barrier between you and the contamination. A “seal the room” measure is considered to be a temporary protective measure.
For more information on local disaster preparedness or recovery, visit the Montgomery County Extension office’s Disasters site. For additional information, visit the Alabama Extension Disaster Education Network (EDEN) site.