Deadly Prepping Mistake – Full Story

When Disaster Strikes…
and You’re Not Home

All the preparation in the world may not do you much good if disaster strikes when you are at work or otherwise away from home, where all of your emergency supplies are stored. So once you’ve prepared your home and your family to shelter in place or make a quick escape during a disaster, it’s time to think about the next step.
An office at its worst

Many of us spend eight hours or more away from home every day… and most of that time is spent at work. If an emergency strikes while you’re at work, what should you do?

You’ve got food stored up, a backup water supply, fuel to keep you warm, and a well-stocked first aid kit. But it’s all at home.

Unfortunately, an earthquake-torn highway, turbulent floodwaters, an unruly mob, or even an army of government bureaucrats may lie between you and your best laid plans. During a disaster, you may be cut off from your home for hours… even days. Are you prepared to weather that kind of crisis away from home?

Knowledge Is Power

When it comes to dealing with a disaster at work, knowing where to go, what to do, and what to expect are the first steps to keeping yourself safe.

Identify safe places: A sturdy desk or table can provide cover during an earthquake or a severe storm. An interior closet can also provide good cover, given it isn’t filled with heavy items that could fall on you if things get rough. If all else fails, during a sudden emergency, crouch against an interior wall and stay away from the windows.

Understand potential hazards: A disastrous event is only the beginning. Once the earthquake stops or the storm passes, you’re left to deal with the chaos and aftermath. Learn the potential hazards in your place of work. These might include: electrical hazards, gas leaks, even structural damage to the building.

Plan escape routes: If it becomes imminently dangerous to remain in your place of work, you should know ahead of time the best ways to escape.

Prepare ahead of time: You can reduce the overall risk of injury at your workplace during a natural disaster for everyone by just taking a few simple steps. Bolt bookcases and other top-heavy furniture to the walls so they can’t fall, and move heavy items to bottom shelves and lighter items to tops shelves.

Your Individual Plan to
Shelter-in-Place At Work

A well-prepared workplace has a good emergency plan in place that includes enough stored food, water, and first aid supplies to last everyone who might be trapped at the office for three days. Unfortunately, we don’t all get to work at places that make emergency preparedness a priority. But that doesn’t mean you can’t take steps to ensure your personal preparedness at work.

If travel isn’t safe, you and your coworkers may have little choice but to remain in your workplace for an indefinite amount of time. Chances are your workplace isn’t really prepared to deal with such circumstances.

Determine ahead of time who is in charge of emergency planning, and ask the following questions:

  • What happens when people get hungry?
  • Is there a backup source of water? Tap water may not be available, or may not be safe to drink after a disaster.
  • Is there a way to stay warm if the power is out?
  • What if someone has a minor injury? Do you have the tools to treat it?
  • Does your workplace have emergency lighting?

Based on what you learn, put together your own office preparedness kit. Include a basic first aid kit, a compact space blanket for warmth, three days worth of food (high-density energy bars are a good choice), a flashlight with working batteries, and iodine tablets to treat water.

If you have the space, you might store bottled water instead.

Keeping a couple of travel packs of tissue on hand is a good idea, too. This kind of kit will cover your basic necessities until you can make it home. Keep it compact, so it won’t get in the way during a normal workday.

Once you’ve assembled your own at-work preparedness kit, consider asking your employer to encourage your colleagues to do the same. In addition to your at-work preparedness kit, consider keeping a similar, more robust kit inside your car. This will keep you ready-for-anything no matter where you are.

You’ll need to know alternate routes home in case your normal route is impassable, even to pedestrians. A good office bug-out bag would include walking shoes, a rain poncho, a fleece jacket, gloves and a hat, a box of high-energy food such as granola bars, a small first aid kit, a flashlight, and a topographical map from your office to your home. In an emergency situation, you should be prepared even in the event you have to make the trip home by foot.