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UEMA Online Newsletter
August 2009

Your Most Important Response Tool ­ Your Employees!

But are they ready and will they be there when you need them the most?

          As Emergency Managers, we spend a lot of time planning, holding exercises, reviewing potential hazards and training for the "big one." Most of our employees have taken at least IS-100.a and participated in a drill, but will they be personally prepared when we need them the most?

          Has training your staff on personal preparedness risen to the top of your ´list of many things still to do?´ A local health care company recently polled over 2,000 employees and asked "if those employees would stay at work or come to work in a major emergency? 80% of the respondents said they would stay at work or come to work, but only if they knew their family was OK.

          We can not put all of our plans into action without our jurisdiction´s employees. Employees must be prepared personally, at home and their family members must be prepared as well. We did 18 classes for over 300 employees on personal preparedness and how the City expects them to respond, including adding a "duty to serve" in every job description. One of the first items in their hands was the Summit County Health Department´s Family Preparedness Guide.

       Here are few other things for you to consider in getting your staff ready.

  • Hold a brown bag lunch and have a speaker address disaster supply kits or developing a family preparedness plan and why it´s important for them to be ready.
  • Give preparedness items as incentives such as flashlights, multifunction tools, etc.
  • Share a list of items to keep in your office or car that would make staying at work a little easier.
  • Consider mandatory half hour classes for each department on preparedness.
  • Have an ´employee only´ emergency contact phone number where they can get information or leave information in a disaster.
  • Get a copy of a family preparedness guide into every employee´s hands.
  • For key staff, consider assigning commercial 72 hour kits to each of them.
  • Discuss having a family contact outside the area to field family calls and coordinate family information.
  • In conjunction with Human Resources distribute a flyer or newsletter outlining job requirements in an emergency, including, duty to serve, how payroll and hours will be handled, rally points if you can´t get to your normal workplace, assignment to a department that might not be your regular place of work, etc.
  • Include a "preparedness blurb" in employee newsletters or develop your own "preparedness newsletter."

          If our employees aren´t prepared to take care of themselves and their families, how can we expect them to take care of our communities and those that are counting on us. Community preparedness begins at each individual´s home, starting with ourselves. Are you, your family and home prepared?

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