American Red Cross

No one knows how or when a disaster will strike. But everyone should be prepared. A disaster is a sudden event that causes great harm to people and property. The disaster might be severe weather, such as a hurricane or a tornado. Or it might be a flood, an earthquake, or a volcano.

Disasters can also be caused by people. A large fire might threaten an entire community.

Chemicals might spill from a truck. A terrorist attack might threaten air, water, or personal safety. Being prepared starts with having a conversation. Household members need to talk about the kinds of things that can happen where you live. Develop a family communication plan and assemble disaster supply kits that are stored in an identified place in the home. If a disaster does strike, go to an inside room of your home, or to the room with the fewest windows. Bring your disaster supply kit with you. Listen to a battery-powered radio for news and instructions.

Sometimes household members are away from home during a disaster. Or emergency officials might advise you to leave your home. In either case, you and your loved ones will need a place to meet. Pick a friend or relative’s house outside your neighborhood. Be sure to pick this place before a disaster strikes so you can be prepared. Also, memorize the phone number of a relative that lives out of state. Use it if you become separated from your loved ones. Let that relative know where you are so your loved ones can find you.

Your communication plan should include:

Places in and out of your town, where you and your family could meet.

Phone numbers of in-town contacts.

An address and phone number of someone out of town (this could be a friend or relative).

You can write this information on a card that each family member keeps with them. Help your children feel safe.

Discuss and learn together about the different types of weather that can affect your area.

Tell your children that you or another grownup will be there to help if something happens. Talk about how a relief worker, firefighter, police officer, teacher, neighbor or doctor might help.

Put a list of emergency numbers by each telephone in your home. Tell you children what each number is for. You should also list the work and cell phone numbers of family members.

FEMA has a site, which is devoted to emergency planning.  FEMA’s motto is:

  1. Get a Kit
  2. Make a Plan
  3. Be Informed

There are many disasters happening throughout the US.  BE PREPARED!

CPR Training.png

The Bee Gees disco song “Stayin’ Alive” might help people stay alive when they get cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) — if their rescuer knows the 1977 tune.

The University of Illinois medical school studied the effect the song had on keeping time during CPR. Five weeks after practicing CPR with the song playing on an iPod, doctors at the medical school were able to hum along without the music and keep time just a little bit faster than 100 per minute, which is perfectly fine when we’re talking about chest compressions.

Stayin’ alive,
Stayin’ alive,
(this part is exactly 100 beats per minute)
Stayin’ a-li-ive
This tip helps rescuers keep the proper rate while doing CPR. Going too slow doesn’t generate enough blood flow, and going too fast doesn’t allow the heart to fill properly between compressions. Humming along with the Bee Gees is one way to stay on track.


We recently experienced 2 very powerful hurricanes, which not only left damage and destruction throughout the south, but also impacted the midwest with heavy rainfalls and flooding.  So was your company or organization emergency ready?  Many were not.

FEMA, Homeland Security, The Red Cross, along with others have materials to help you prepare for disruption of your business.

Here are some things you might want to consider:

  • Back up your computer system. Make sure your computers are backed up, preferably off site, and the programs to restore your business data are current. Also, practice restoring your system. After the fact is not the time to test.
  • Set up an employee call network. Get employee phone and cell numbers and break your workforce into groups. If there is a natural disaster, have one person in charge of calling everyone in their group, then reporting back to management.
  • Have adequate generator capacity. Make sure you have a generator that can run your facility before a disaster strikes. Needless to say, a reliable fuel source is a must. Set it up and test it.
  • Stockpile supplies. Store non-perishable food items and other essentials that may be needed after a storm, to create an environment where employees will want to come to work. If you take care of your employees after a disaster, they will take care of you.
  • Train first responders on emergency procedures and then all the employees. Ensure that first responders have adequate notice to get employees to a safe area depending on the diaster.
  • Secure your facility unless in the case of fire there is no time.
  • Plan for after the diaster. Designate a team to assess damages and take stock of what’s happened after the danger has passed.

You can also review Compliance Resource Center articles on Emergency Prepardness:

Exit Routes and Emergency Action Plans (1910.33)

Emergency Preparedness Be Ready

Fire Prevention Plan

Communications Preparedness Tips

NFPA Evacuation Guide to People with Disabilities

There are more articles at  So now is the time if you do not have a emergency plan GET ONE and the other important word is PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE.


Exit Sign.png One of the most common questions I get asked about is Exits Routes (Means of Egress) and Emergency Action Plans.  These two are synergistic with each other.  A good Emergency Action Plan should include all exit routes.  Too often we hear of employees getting injured or dying in an emergency situation.  Proper planning and training can help eliminate many of these incidents. 

 Below are some of the highlights of OSHA requirements for Exit Routes and Emergency Action Plans.
Exit Routes (1910.34 – .37) 

OSHA has specific requirements for design and construction of exit routes that include:

  • Exit rout must be permanent
  • Exits must be separated by fire resistant materials
  • Openings must be protected by a self-closing fire door
  • There must be a minimum of two (2) exits in the workplace

Exits MUST discharge to the outside or a space with access to the outside.  The exit should always remain unlocked.  Exit routes should be a minimum of 7 feet 6 inches high and 28 inches wide.  Exit signs should be clearly marked and illuminated, that can be seen by normal vision. 
 Emergency Action Plans (1910.38)
Workplaces with 10 or more employees must have a WRITTEN Emergency Action Plan that is available for employees to review.  The plan must include the following:

  • Procedure for report emergency
  • Procedure for emergency evacuation
  • Procedure for employees who remain to operate critical plant operations before they evacuate
  • Procedure to account for all employees
  • Procedures for employees performing rescue or medical duties

The workplace MUST have an alarm system that complies with 1910.165.  An employer MUST designate and train employees to assist in a safe and orderly evacuation of other employees.  Every employee MUST be trained on the Emergency Action Plan.
It is recommend that employers practice the Emergency Action Plan at least twice during the year.  Once when employees know in advance and once without prior notification.  The fire department should always be aware of your practice schedule.  Both the fire department and your insurance vendor will assist you in inspecting the workplace to make sure it complies with regulations. 
The Red Cross and others have Emergency Kits available.  They have small inexpensive Safety Tube that includes, a mask, whistle, light stick and water pouch.  This Safety Tube should be given to all employees, to keep at their workstation.  Making sure the Exit Routes are unobstructed and your Emergency Action Plan is practiced can help save lives.    

QUINCY, MA — The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) suggests that now is the perfect time to Get Ready! for a disaster.

September is National Preparedness Month and NFPA is urging the public to take time this month to prepare for a disaster before one strikes.

Get Ready! Preparing Your Community for a Disaster is a comprehensive disaster preparedness guide developed by NFPA to make the daunting task of preparing for the unknown more manageable. The kit was recently sent to 30,000 fire departments across the country as a resource for them to help their community prepare. Materials are also available for download at no charge. Most materials are also available in Spanish.

“Preparing yourself, your family, and your community for the unexpected can be a frightening endeavor, but being caught unprepared in the face of disaster can prove to be deadly,” said Judy Comoletti, assistant vice president of public education for NFPA. “The Get Ready! program is designed to help people develop their emergency plan by putting much needed informational materials at their fingertips.”

Disastrous events in recent years have served as reminders that there is no single preparedness tool more important than a plan. Get Ready!  Preparing Your Community for a Disaster provides a foundation for understanding what to do, where to go, and how to survive in a disaster. Informational sheets provide guidance on what to do before, during, and after an incident on the following topics: home fires, blackouts, hurricanes, landslides, thunderstorms, tornadoes, earthquakes, national security, volcanoes, extreme heat, nuclear incidents, wildfires, floods, older adults, winter storms, hazardous materials, people with disabilities, and pets. The guide also provides a lesson plan and presentation materials, making conducting a workshop easy. A family emergency plan is available for download as well as an emergency supplies kit checklist.

Get Ready! Preparing Your Community for a Disaster was developed by NFPA for fire departments nationwide. The project was funded by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Office of Domestic Preparedness.

NFPA suggests the following tips to keep in mind when preparing for a disaster. Visit for more detailed information.

How to prepare before a disaster:

  • Be informed
  • Make a plan
  • Get a kit
  • Volunteer to help others

Have an emergency plan that includes:

  • Escape and evacuation routes
  • Family communications
  • Utility shut-off and safety
  • Vital records
  • Specific needs
  • Caring for animals
  • Safety skills

Get an emergency supplies kit that at a minimum includes:

  • Bottled water: A minimum three-day supply of water. A seven-day supply is best, with a three-day supply ready to take with you. One gallon of water per person, per day is recommended.
  • Food: Avoid foods that cause thirst. Include canned foods, dry mixes, and other nonperishable food. Remember to include a hand can opener.
  • A battery-powered radio with extra batteries or a hand-crank radio
  • Flashlights and extra batteries
  • First aid kit
  • Sanitation and hygiene items
  • Matches in a waterproof container
  • A whistle
  • Extra clothing
  • Cooking utensils
  • Photocopies of credit and identification cards
  • Cash
  • Items for infants
  • Specific needs items
  • A personal pack for children
  • Download an emergency supplies kit checklist

The American Red Cross has an online preparedness plan with can be accessed by clicking on this link.  This is perfect for your employees, their families and friends.