Guest Author - Vannie Ryanes
September 11, 2001 is not an anniversary Americans wish to remember. However, in the wake of that tragedy, corporations and Americans in general have become more security conscious.
In 2001, I worked near one of the company's named on the then, so-called "hit list." It was terribly disconcerting to see a former people-friendly building where employees once stepped outside for a quick smoke or to chat with friends, now surrounded by large concrete blocks, blocked off streets and heavily armed police and military guards. It has gotten better, although the large concrete blocks remain, the police and military guard presence is not so obvious.
While everyone is trying to take this new America in stride, a little preparedness may help if disaster strikes again. I remember a former co-worker who was a member of her local Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) sent an e-mail to staff members concerning the issue of being prepared in case a state of emergency was called while we were working in the office and could not leave the building until an all clear was announced.
Keep in mind that an emergency does not have to have a September 11, 2001 status. Whenever you are, think of what an emergency or disaster that could occur while you are at your workplace, then prepare your office emergency kit accordingly.
The list below is an example of items that would prove useful. If necessary, do a little brainstorming with your co-workers. Whatever you decide, be sure to place your goodies in a small box under or near your desk.
1. Food items that can be eaten without cooking and needs no refrigeration. Tuna fish and other canned meats; canned vegetables, crackers, bottled water and canned soft drinks, hard candy and a can opener.
2. A change of casual, loose clothing. A pair of comfortable non-slip flat shoes such as sneakers.
3. Soap, deodorant, toothpaste and toothbrush; paper towels.
3. A high beam flashlight with extra batteries.
4. A small lightweight blanket.
5. A battery operated radio with extra batteries.
Add anything else you might need if you must remain in your office more than one day.
USA Homeland Security and other organizations have provided emergency information for home and family, I share two informative sites; Community Emergency Response Team http://www.citizencorps.gov/cert/ and Are You Ready? http://www.citizencorps.gov/ready/
I performed a quick search on the Internet and note that most countries have "emergency preparedness" tips or something similar. Take time to read and follow those "be ready-be safe" guidelines.