Would you know what to do if an emergency occurred while you were on the job? Do you know what actions to take if a co-worker was seriously injured, a fire ignited, or a structure collapsed? Are you prepared to react?
Emergencies and disasters are a reality of everyday life. Local and international news programs document such occurrences every day throughout the world. Too many lives are lost and property is damaged because no one was prepared to properly react when immediate decisions and actions counted.
A good start in learning how to respond to an emergency is through certification in Basic First Aid and CPR (Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation). These courses teach important skills. But even more important than the first aid skills gained, they teach how to respond to an emergency. Programs offered by organizations such as the highly respected American Red Cross teach people about the kind of situations or conditions that might precipitate an emergency. Knowing what to look for and how to react could save the life of a co-worker or family member.
Your company should have an emergency action plan. Review it periodically, and be aware of what steps to follow when calling for emergency help. Know the course of action to take in likely emergencies at your facility. This will improve your safety awareness in everything you do.
Safety awareness may be gained through the company’s regular safety meetings, safety training or your own personal interest in safety & health. This awareness will increase your ability to respond if, some day in the future, you are a bystander in an emergency. This is particularly important if you work in a hazardous industry. You should be able to answer the following:
- How and who do you notify in an emergency?
- Are you prepared to react responsibly?
- Should you stay with the injured person or run for help?
- If you are not First Aid certified, do you know who in your crew or the company is?
- Does the emergency scene need to be secured?
- Do you know the chain of command? Who’s in charge during an emergency?
You come to work everyday prepared for the task at hand and knowledgeable on how to handle production problems in the workplace. Being mentally aware is also your best preparation for a potential emergency. Analyze beforehand what to do if one of your co-workers is injured, and if that injury is life threatening. Know how to protect yourself, your co-workers and the company in case of a serious chemical spill. Chances are, during a crisis, you won’t have much time to plan the best possible action-so make those decisions ahead of time.
When an emergency does occur, it is your responsibility to be mentally ready.