May is National Building Safety Month, so it’s a good time to go over your plans of action in case of a workplace emergency. The warm weather brings tornadoes in some parts of the country, hurricanes in others and wildfires largely (but not exclusively) out west. All these events can happen during work hours, so it’s a good idea to be prepared to keep your employees and your property safe.
May 4 was marked by Wildfire Community Preparedness Day. In the last two years alone, wildfires across the U.S. have taken more than 100 lives and cost more than $25 billion dollars in property losses. The National Fire Protection Association’s FIREWISE USA is a recognition program that encourages communities to perform an evaluation of fire risk and ensure that all steps are taken to protect citizens in the event of a wildfire.
According to the NFPA, businesses, as well as homeowners, should be preparing their facilities and homes to withstand the dangerous wind-borne embers that can be carried up to a mile away from wildfires and minimize the likelihood of flames or surface fire touching the building. This can be accomplished by limiting the amount of flammable vegetation around the building, choosing ignition-resistant building materials and construction techniques, and carrying out periodic exterior maintenance.
In the Event of a Wildfire
Should a wildfire be spotted in your area, following civic instructions closely, and evacuate when told to do so. (The organization Ready for Wildfire has a good set of evacuation steps.) Your business or home should be prepared to evacuate within five minutes if you’re given instructions to do so.
If it’s too late to evacuate and you’re out of doors, experts recommend that you remain calm, and go to an area clear of vegetation. Sheltering in a ditch or depression is ideal. Lie face down, cover up your body. Use your cell phone to call 911.
In a workplace or home, stay together and call 911. Fill sinks and tubs with cold water, and keep all doors and windows closed, but unlocked. Stay away from outside walls and windows while you wait for help to arrive.
Seek Professional Emergency Training
A professional workplace health and safety organization can help you ensure your employees and others are prepared for emergencies such as wildfires. In addition to providing first aid supplies and protective equipment, SoCal First Aid/Respond Systems also offers on-site safety training, disaster preparedness training, and other services to businesses, schools, and groups across Southern California.
We will work with you to train your employees on safety best practices and establish a preparedness plan in the event of a wildfire or other natural disaster.
Contact us for more information.