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How to Prepare Your Manufacturing Plant for a Natural Disaster

5 minute read - Posted by Daniel Wagstaff on Feb 21, 2019 6:00:00 AM

Planning for a natural disaster can seem daunting and scary. But it doesn’t have to be. If you educate yourself on how to be best prepared, you can rest easy knowing that you are doing everything you can to keep everyone safe, which is hard to do when natural disasters strike.

In order to properly implement an emergency solution, you must understand how to plan and train your employees for a natural disaster.

Improved Warning Systems Save Lives

Mass communication software within your manufacturing plant can be used to keep everyone informed in real time in case of an emergency. In the event of a natural disaster, or any other disaster and emergency, having a way to quickly reach everyone with planned instructions serving as a warning is absolutely necessary.

Giving your employees the maximum amount of time to prepare for a disaster is critical. Every second counts. That’s why using a mass communication software that integrates into the building’s intercom or paging system is the best way to ensure everyone is informed in real time.

An alert notification system uses many endpoints in which to reach out to every employee, including social media, email, voice alerts, text messages, and it utilizes the building’s intercom or other internal communication system. This technology uses every path to warn everyone of an emergency.

How to Create a Safety Plan for a Natural Disaster

Emergency preparedness in natural disaster situations is something everyone needs to be a part of. Figuring out what kind of disaster to prepare for is immensely helpful. If you live near a coast that sees hurricanes yearly, having a safety plan for that is obviously necessary. But you must also have a plan for natural disasters that don’t commonly occur in your area. It’s better to plan and never have to use it than to not have one at all and need it. Luckily, creating a plan isn’t all that difficult, and you can delegate certain tasks to various positions around the plant, so the plan works efficiently.

Educating yourself and essential staff is important to build onto your safety plan. Maintaining the safety standards is great, but improving them is better. There is all kinds of emergency response management data and metrics online that can help you make important, data-driven decisions when creating your natural disaster safety plan.

To set up a plan, having a mass notification system in which you can warn everyone within the plant is a top priority. People need as much time as possible to seek shelter, higher ground, or to leave the building immediately. You can set up a warning system that alerts employees that there is a risk of natural disaster according to the National Weather Service, or a trusted news site. This way, everyone can begin to prepare themselves for what comes next. This requires that an employee monitors the source that tracks the hurricane, tornados, earthquakes, etc. If you have security personnel, it would be wise to task them with this job, so they can oversee the entire natural disaster safety process.

Give All Managers a Job

Sometimes, disaster strikes without warning, and every second counts in those situations. Delegating tasks to managers in different departments is crucial to ensure the safety of everyone at one time. They will be the ones escorting personnel to the designated safety zones and checking for any individuals who may be in the restroom, or outside on their break, or in another part of the building.

Then, as the alarm sounds, and your company uses its alert notification system to instruct everyone to proceed with the natural disaster protocol. Designated personnel will escort everyone in the building to the designated safe zones according to which disaster they are facing.

Communicate with Other Managers and the Plant Manager

Department managers should have portable devices to communicate with one another, and with the plant manager, who oversees the entire process. Have the department managers check the restrooms, if employees are outside at a break area, or in their cars. It is important to know where each employee goes when they are on the clock. When disasters happen, and managers don’t know where their employees are, it can become exceedingly difficult and chaotic to get everyone to safety.

When the managers have done their tasks, everyone should be in the shelter area to await further instructions, and to be given the “all-clear.” Managers will need to do a quick head count to see if everyone has made it to the shelter area. Make sure the shelter has plenty of food, water, and preferably some bathrooms. Some disasters can take a long time to pass, and once you have everyone in the shelter, you don’t want them leaving.

Have the plant manager or another employee monitor the weather or progress of the disaster to update the person in charge. Usually, the National Weather Service will be able to give a good picture of what to expect. Once the “all-clear” is given, then work may resume as normal.

First Aid, CPR, and AED Training

Everyone in your manufacturing plant should have first aid training. But, if you aren’t into every employee having a yearly certification, at least have all management personnel be certified. When disasters happen, other problems and injuries can happen within the building, too. Having designated employees help guide others to safety is important. People who may get injured or need any type of medical attention will have to rely on their colleagues who have the proper training to care for them.

Having plenty of first aid kits available is important. Make sure that everyone knows where they are and that the kits are fully stocked with fresh supplies.

Everyone should be CPR certified. And, AED devices should be located throughout the building according to local and federal laws.

Lives can be saved in the event of an emergency by having these skills ready to use for when you need them. The Red Cross has training programs specifically for businesses and it is easy to schedule some training sessions with them for all your employees.

Building Preparation

If you live in an area with frequent tornados, then having a secure shelter or even an underground shelter is the best option to keep everyone safe. Your plant managers and other safety personnel will want to inspect the building to prevent further damage, property loss, and increased risk factors from occurring.

Using data from reputable sources, like governmental agencies, will help you prepare for disasters most likely to happen in your area. Common sense will keep you grounded as you plan to better prepare your building against natural disasters.

Remember that emergencies can be subtler, but nonetheless devastating, like winter snowstorms, heat waves, extreme temperatures, flooding, mudslides, and more. Having a generator in case the power goes out is wise to keep temperatures inside a normal range.

Understanding the area in which your building is located will determine what disasters are most likely to happen, so you can plan accordingly.

Overall Importance of Internal Communication

In emergency situations, prevention, advanced warning systems with alert notification capabilities, and training is what wins the day, so make sure that your company has a plan for any type of emergency in place, and that drills are conducted often.

Sending out warnings and talking with other people in charge of duties and tasks during the disaster is crucial for the safety plan to work properly. Using a mass communication system that covers several endpoints like email and voice alerts and text messages, along with an alert system within the building is the best way to ensure the safety of every person during a natural disaster.