The images from Joplin are unbelievable…haunting…

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This image of the devastion in Joplin, MO is surreal…incomprehensible in so many ways.

This has been one of the worst tornado seasons in the United States in years.  We have been asked by many of our clients, “what should we be doing to be prepared?”  Here are three things we strongly recommend you do NOW:

  1. Ensure that your “company responders” know their role.  This is what we call the team that combines your on-site responders: this is usually security, facilities, bldg engineers, and/or property managers.  Ensure that this team has coordinated and clearly documented procedures, are trained and conduct drills so they can take prompt and appropriate coordinated actions. I have written several article on this topic and you can find them on our website: Company Responders – A Coordinated Response To Emergencies Disaster Resource Guide – Facilities Edition Fall 2010
  2. Ensure that Floor Wardens clearly understand their job.  These employees are on the front line of response and need clear instructions on:
    1.  Appropriate actions to take
    2. Safe place for employees to take shelter
    3. How to use their emergency equipment: vests, hard hats, flashlights, weather radio, bullhorn, caution tape, first aid kit, vest ideally all in a grab and go backpack
    4. Ways to report incidents on their floor (who to communicate to and how)
    5. Training on tornado procedures
    6. Tornado exercises and drill
  3. Employee training that provides basic information on tornadoes and safe actions to take. Ideally place this on one page and spread the word. Check out NOAA
    1. Do an employee chair drop – drop the information on all employee chairs
    2. Place on a internal life safety website
    3. Send via email
    4. Conduct employee trainings: short 10-minute trainings by department.

For more good information, check out the NOAA FAQ page.  It has really helpful tips.