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Disaster Preparedness

How to Prepare Your Company for a Major Storm

If you service an area affected by major storms, follow these steps to make sure your company is ready to respond safely and effectively — before, during and after the event.

Develop an emergency response plan for your company. 

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) recommends you come up with an emergency plan for your company before a severe weather event.

  • Create a team that plans for disasters, including team members from multiple departments who can share different perspectives. 
  • Is your company ready to respond to a major storm? Identify areas where you’re vulnerable.   
  • Develop an emergency plan that you can share with your employees. This should include information like your facility’s emergency management policy, and how to notify first responders if you need their help. 

Do you need help developing this plan? See recommendations from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) here.

Get the right personal protective equipment (PPE) for your team.

PPE is a vital part of response work. Depending on the type of event, your employees may be exposed to a range of hazards. Adjust the following guidelines to specific conditions you work in. 

  • Respirators
  • Eye protection
  • Hearing protection
  • Protective clothing

These PPE guidelines are not exhaustive. Reach out to your local Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) office if you have additional questions. 

Understand the hazards you’ll encounter during clean-up. 

Before a major storm, familiarize your team with hazards that can come up when you get back to work. These hazards include, but aren’t limited to: 

  • Chemicals. After a major storm, you may come into contact with hazardous chemicals on the job. Check out resources from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that include the PPE you need, what decontamination looks like, and more. 
  • Confined spaces. You may need to work in a confined space following a major storm, which presents hazards like low air quality and heat stress. OSHA has several resources and requirements for how to safely work in and around confined spaces.  
  • Electricity. Major storms can knock out electricity and down power lines. Stay safe from electric burns and shocks. Make sure your team is educated on electrical safety and how to avoid an accident.  

See a more comprehensive list of disaster site hazards and how to manage them here. 

Talk to a medical professional if needed. 

Evaluate the work your team will do in a storm-impacted area. Then consider consulting with a health care professional, who can:

  • Determine whether medical exams are needed
  • Conduct any necessary tests
  • Perform vaccinations, if required

This screening also can determine whether your team knows how to properly use PPE. 

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