National Preparedness Month: Prepare Your Workplace

Monday September 13th, 2010

September is National Preparedness Month (NPM), a time to encourage Americans to take simple steps to prepare for emergencies in their homes, business, and communities. The theme for NPM 2010 is "Plan Now. Work Together. Be Ready.” Take advantage of this opportunity to make sure your department, Fire Corps team, and community are prepared for all types of emergency situations.

This week’s focus is about preparing your workplace. Emergencies and disasters can happen anytime, anywhere. Because many people spend countless hours at work each week, it is important for Fire Corps teams to relay preparedness information where they work and also to surrounding business. has provided numerous tips and ideas about how to educate the workforce about how to be ready.

Prepare Your Workplace

Update Your Employee Contact List and Distribute it to Your Employees

Host a Business Preparedness Review

Organize an emergency preparedness procedures review with employees to review your company’s emergency plans and practice emergency drills with employees. For more information about business preparedness, go to and click on “Ready Business.” There are many resources and tools that you can order or download.

Put an Emergency Kit on Display

Showcase an Emergency Supply Kit in your break room or other high-traffic locations and encourage employees to get their own Emergency Supply Kits for their homes.

Showcase Instructional Videos

Instructional videos are available on the Ready web site ( for families, older Americans, individuals with disabilities and other access and functional needs, and pet owners. You could play them in your lobbies, waiting rooms, break rooms, and/or at events.

Leave Emergency Kit Items on Employee Desks

Put a bottle of water on each employee’s desk along with a note that says “If there is an emergency, do you have enough water to last you and your family for three days?” and a printout of the emergency supply checklist.

Host a Preparedness Day

Invite your employees to a Preparedness Day and arrange for your local Citizen Corps Council or Office of Emergency Management to teach your employees and/or customers how to build an Emergency Supply Kit and create a Family Emergency Plan. You could also incorporate a local weather expert to educate the audience about various weather-related emergencies that impact your area and the best ways to prepare for them.

Give an Emergency Preparedness Quiz

The quiz can be included in your newsletter, on your web site, or you could give it to your members, employees, or customers at local events. Sample quizzes are included in the NPM toolkit at

Host a Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Training or Offer Free CPR/First Aid Training to Employees

Contact your local CERT for more information about hosting a CERT training for interested employees, constituents, or members. To find your local CERT program, go to and look for the link “Find Nearby CERTs.”

Encourage Employees to Back Up Their Important Information

Remind employees that it’s important to have copies of their financial and legal documents. Allow employees to use the office scanner and copy machine to make copies of their important documents (insurance papers, wills, bank account information, etc.).

Host a Business Preparedness Workshop

Contact a local business or commerce organization and work together to host workshops for business leaders about the importance of business preparedness. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Better Business Bureau have worked with the Ready Campaign and their local organizations may be interested in serving as a resource for you.

Conduct Office Evacuation/Shelter-in-Place Exercises and Drills

During the month of September, schedule emergency exercises and drills. Once completed, evaluate how well they worked and if additional training or exercises are needed. For information on addressing the needs of employees with disabilities, visit

Distribute Emergency Preparedness Messages

Include emergency preparedness messages in communication touch points such as e-mails, newsletter articles, bill stuffers, or on receipts. These messages could include: an Emergency Supply Kit tip of the day; a Family Emergency Plan reminder; or a link to the “Be Informed” portion of the Ready Campaign web site (

Tweet and blog about it. Does your company engage in social media marketing and outreach via Twitter, Facebook, and other social media technologies? Use those venues throughout September to encourage friends and followers to take steps toward preparedness.

Host a Brown Bag Lunch

Host a brown bag lunch and discuss preparedness. During this time, you could give an emergency preparedness quiz, show instructional videos, have the Red Cross train your office in CPR, or have someone from Citizen Corps speak about how to get involved in community preparedness in your community, including outreach efforts, training and exercises, and volunteer programs, such as Volunteers in Police Service (VIPS); Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT); Fire Corps; Neighborhood Watch; and Medical Reserve Corps.

National Preparedness Month is sponsored by the Ready Campaign in partnership with Citizen Corps and the Ad Council. The 2010 event asks Americans to work together to concentrate actions towards emergency preparedness.


Find preparedness resources and tips to distribute in your community on the Ready web site at (English) and (Spanish), and on the Fire Corps web site at .


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