Planning for Emergencies at Work

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It’s been an incredibly tough couple of weeks as Hurricane Harvey ripped through Houston, leaving so much destruction in its wake. Everything from homes to businesses to parks and roads have been destroyed or damaged. Some lost everything, others were fortunate to have gotten through with minor roof leaks and a few days without electricity. Holly’s family is among the fortunate - thank you to everyone who sent prayers, positive thoughts and support in various forms. It’s appreciated more than you know!

Emergencies can come in many forms: weather, natural disasters, family situations, health scares, and more. While family and friends’ safety is priority number one during emergencies, some workplaces must remain open. Hospitals, nursing homes, fire stations, police departments, and places of hospitality are a few examples. If you work at one of these establishments - thank you for your hard work in the midst of emergencies! The world would have a much harder time getting through the tough stuff without you to keep us afloat when things are dire.

Whether you work in a place like those mentioned above or somewhere else (corporate or research, for example), working through the emergency may be the best way for you to cope with the situation. For example, if a hurricane hits and you’re in no immediate danger but stuck in the house, working from home can help pass the time and provide a sense of normalcy. Depending on the type of emergency, you may or may not be able to continue work. But if you can, and want, to continue working, there are ways you can be prepared for when and if the time comes.

Here are a few ways you can plan for emergencies at work:

  • Keep all of your workplace website URLs in a handy spot to access away from work. Using a password manager, like Lastpass, is a great way to do this. It’s a cloud based system that securely saves URLs, usernames, and passwords.

  • Ask about the servers at your workplace. Are they compatible to work with hotspots? If so, you can work from your phone’s hotspot while stuck at home without wifi. Check with your phone company beforehand to determine any fees and charges that may apply.

  • Invest in a portable charging station. As long as your device has a cable that connects to a USB, they can charge without needing an outlet. Many charging stations have enough juice to charge multiple devices many times before being drained. These are great for use in hospitals, as many facilities don’t allow you to use their outlets. Of course, if your power is out, an outlet does you no good and these can keep you up and running for at least another day or two.

  • Save important work contacts in your phone. Your direct supervisor, clients, and closest co-workers are the best to be easily accessible. If something comes up and you need help (or they do), it will be easy to contact them.

  • What else is absolutely vital for you to be able to work away from the office? Determine what those items are and come up with a plan to access them when needed.

Of course, it’s always possible that an emergency can happen while you are AT work. Check with your HR department to learn what emergency preparedness plans are in place so you are aware.

No one thinks that an emergency is going to happen to them. It’s better to be safe than sorry, as the old saying goes. Make a plan and hope that you never have to use it.

Have anything else to add to the list above? We’d love to hear from you! Comment below with your additions.

Posted on September 20, 2017 and filed under Career.