Preparing Your Office in 3 Steps

Do you work 8 hours a day? If the answer is “Yes” then you have a 33% chance of encountering an emergency while at work. Whether it’s a hurricane, an earthquake, a tornado, or a fire, invest in peace of mind today by getting prepared!

Step 1: Identify Your Needs

Review the checklists below and determine what general supplies you will need for your specific location and business. This Workplace Emergency Survival Checklist is also available as a printable PDF for your convenience. If you are unsure of what natural disasters your area may be vulnerable to, check out this page on FEMA.gov to see what major disasters have historically occurred in your state.  

Essentials

List of Emergency Procedures

List of Employees (and photo)

Water (one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days) for drinking and sanitation

Food (at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food)

Radios Battery-powered or hand-crank and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both

Bedding and blankets

Can opener (manual)

Dust mask to help filter contaminated air

Plastic Sheeting

First-aid kit

Flashlight

Hand sanitizer

Local maps

Plastic bags (zip-top, trash, etc.)

Toiletries

Personal Sanitation — Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties

Further Supplies to Consider

Disposable plates, cups and eating utensils

Medical supplies

Batteries

Communication devices (two-way radios, satellite radios, cell phones, chargers and weather radio)

Electrical lockout/tagout kits

Extension cords (indoor and outdoor)

Fire extinguishers

Floor drain plugs

Fuel cans and generator fuel

Hoses

Ropes

Tape (duct, masking, electrical, cloth, caution,etc.)

Utility knives

Bleach

Portable Toilet Sets

Recommendations Based on Natural Disaster

Earthquakes

Sturdy Shoes

Work Gloves

Garden Hose

Knife

Fire Extinguisher

Ax

Shovel

Tools; i.e. screwdriver, pliers, hammer, adjustable wrench

Strong Rope

Whistle / Emergency Signaling Device

Hard Hat

N95 Mask

Safety Goggles

Wall Fasteners

Carbon Monoxide Detector

Tool to shut off utilities

Hurricanes / Severe Weather / Flooding

Sturdy Shoes

Work Gloves

Rubber Gloves

Sand Bags

Storm Shutters / Wood, Nails, and a Hammer

Rain Gear

Towels

Weather Band Radio

Fire Extinguisher

Power Generator

Insect Repellant

Whistle / Emergency Signaling Device

Wall Fasteners

Carbon Monoxide Detector

Tool to shut off utilities

Sump Pump

Sealants (expandable polyurethane, caulk, caulk guns, etc.)

Tarpaulins (water-resistant, fire-retardant, etc.)

Tornado

Sturdy Shoes

Wood, Nails, and a Hammer / Storm Shutters

Weather Band Radio

Wall Fasteners

Whistle / Emergency Signaling Device

Carbon Monoxide Detector

Tool to shut off utilities

Wildfire

Sturdy Shoes

N95 Mask

Tool to shut off utilities

Winter Storms

Ice Scraper

Shovel

Tire Chains

Tow Rope

Kitty Litter or Sand

Jumper Cables

Whistle / Emergency Signaling Device

Waterproof Matches

Winter Clothes

Carbon Monoxide Detector

Tool to shut off utilities

Step 2: Gather Supplies

As far as supplies go, preparing your workplace is generally more straightforward than preparing your home and family. Government agencies recommend having supplies to sustain the employees of your workplace (or yourself) for up to 72 hours, so after you collect the essential items you’re pretty much there. If you are the business owner, you should consider purchasing further supplies to secure your business in the event of a disaster.  

Step 3: Make a Plan

According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) 40 percent of businesses do not reopen after a disaster and another 25 percent fail within one year. Not only does having an emergency plan help provide safety and security to a workplace’s employees, but a good plan of action will significantly reduce risks to a business and decreases the time it would take a business to recuperate from a disaster. Below you’ll find a downloadable link to our “How to Prepare Your Workplace for Any Emergency” PDF, we recommend reading this and using as a guide in preparing your business.

Things to Consider When Making a Plan

A means of reporting fires and other emergencies.
This can include phone numbers of emergency services, locations of fire alarms, and any numbers of internal emergency services if that is applicable to your company.

Evacuation procedures and emergency escape route assignments.
These describe under what circumstances are employees to evacuate, who is authorized to order an evacuation, and the plan for evacuation.

Procedures for employees who remain for critical operations before evacuation.
This could include how to operate fire extinguishers and hoses in the building, activating alarm systems, or proper shutdown procedures for hazardous equipment.

A way to account for all employees after an emergency evacuation.
This could include someone assigned to sweep areas, checking all offices, restrooms, and other rooms before being the last to leave. And/or performing a roll call in the designated evacuation assembly area.

Rescue and medical duties for employees performing them.
A small organization will usually rely on local emergency services to provide these services.

Names or job titles of persons who can be contacted
Names, titles, departments, and numbers of employees who can be contacted for more information and/or description of duties under the plan

Other Resources

Ready Gov Business Page

FEMA Workplace Plan

NOAA Radio Home Page

Prepare For Life: Emergency Preparedness Guidebook

Through the years, we've noticed that people swing from extremes of apathy and ignorance to panic and alarm when it comes to disasters.

We would like to offer a third way. Only by preparing in a way that escapes the mentality of fear will you be truly prepared for emergencies, and that is why we are now distributing our emergency guidebook to the public—free of charge, no strings attached.

They say “Prepare for the worst, hope for the best,” but this guide will show you how. You don’t need to pretend that a hurricane, earthquake, wildfire, flood or other disaster will never happen to you; you just need to know what your part will be— and what supplies you need to have ready.

Printable Workplace Guide

Being prepared for disasters and emergencies is becoming more and more important— not just for home and family, but for the office and workplace as well. We recommend reading the PDF below and using it as a guide to better prepare your business.