Stillness, and the house is quiet. Faintly in the distance, the sirens begin to wail. The volume increases as the wind is picking up. My heart rate picks up a little bit too as I glance out the window and see the trees beginning to sway. Without scaring the children, I quickly call them to me. I tell them to put on their shoes and winter coats and grab their favorite “baby”. I gather the house phone, my cell, and a flashlight and we all head to the basement. We sit through the hail, the thunder, and driving rain. Then, as quickly as it began, it’s over.
A few minutes later is when I first hear about the tornado that touched down on the other side of the city, approximately 30 miles from my house. Not far from my childhood home. The tornado hit areas with the precision of a scalpel. One house would be blown away while the house next to it was virtually untouched. The city of St. Louis was hit by eleven tornadoes New Year’s eve, one of which was the F3 twister I’ve just described. It makes the danger of the storm real and justifies my emergency preparedness plan for my family.
Do we do the same at work? I know organizations have fire drills, tornado drills, and other emergency preparedness drills. Often I see employees going through the motions in a daze, not taking it seriously or sometimes, refusing to participate. The danger is very real though and sometimes you have to pull out all the emergency preparedness stops.
- Practice fire drills and other workplace safety drills
- Keep a few bottles of water in your office or work area
- Bring a small flashlight and extra batteries to your workspace
- Invest in a small first aid kit for your work area
- Be familiar with the fastest way to evacuate
These are just a few tips to get you started. It really can save your life.