September is National Preparedness Month

  • Published
  • By Richard Fleming
  • AEDC Safety

The aim of National Preparedness Month, observed each September, is to raise awareness about the importance of preparing for disasters and emergencies that could happen at any time.

Like the National Safety Council, AEDC Safety has a couple of areas it wishes to emphasize for National Preparedness Month.

Emergencies are unexpected and can be disastrous if you are not prepared in advance. This time of year, when kids go back to school, weather is changing and work activity picks up, it’s important to understand the basic elements of an emergency action plan, or EAP.

An EAP is simply a plan for what to do if something goes wrong. It will include procedures for reporting a fire or other emergency and procedures for emergency evacuation, including details on an exit route, where to meet and who to contact. The EAP will also include locations of the nearest fire extinguisher and first aid kit.

When you have completed or reviewed your workplace EAP, then do the same thing at home. Your family should also know where to meet and who to contact in case of an emergency. It is recommended that there is a point of contact who does not live in the neighborhood who can help with accountability in case of an emergency.

The five steps of emergency management are:

  • Prevention – the act of stopping something from happening
  • Mitigation – the action of reducing the severity, seriousness or painfulness of an inevitable event
  • Preparedness – a state of readiness
  • Response – a reaction to something
  • Recovery – a return to a normal state of health, mind or strength

Another September observance is National Food Safety Education Month.

Whether your colleagues are eating onsite or bringing their own food to work, there are plenty of hazards and risks to consider.

Salmonella, for example, is responsible for more foodborne illnesses in the U.S. than any other bacteria. Bring everyone up to date by sharing four easy steps to prevent food poisoning:

  • Clean – wash hands, utensils and surfaces
  • Separate – separate cooked meat from fresh produce
  • Cook – use a thermometer to check the temperature of your cooked goods
  • Chill – refrigerate leftovers and perishable items

AEDC Safety also wants to bring awareness to burn and scald prevention.

Every year, 40,000 hospitalizations occur in the U.S. due to scalds and burns. These are a combination of household and workplace incidents.

A report in 2018 from the National Fire Protection Association showed that there is an average of 37,910 industrial and manufacturing fires annually. These result in an average of 16 deaths, 273 injuries and $2.3 billion in damage each year.

Workplace burns, scalds and hazards include:

  • Thermal burns – burns from hot liquids, open flames, hot objects and explosions
  • Chemical burns – skin or eyes coming in contact with acids, alkaloids or corrosive materials including industrial cleaners
  • Electrical burns – heat burns from electrical currents
  • Sun exposure burns – caused by working outside in the heat and extended exposure to sunlight

Around 80% of fires can be extinguished using portable fire extinguishers, so your team should also be familiar with the types of fires they may be faced with, typical workplace fire hazards and the right fire extinguisher to use in each situation.

Be sure you are using the right tool for the job and ditch the distractions. Keep your eyes up and phones down and be constantly aware of your surroundings.

Take care of each other.