One of the most confusing phrases when it comes to emergency preparedness is “shelter-in-place.” While it is an incredibly common phrase, it can also easily be misinterpreted by those who are not familiar with emergency preparedness. People tend to think that shelter-in-place means that they need to stay exactly where they are and not move. This could actually put you in danger, especially during natural disasters or an active shooter situation. When told to shelter-in-place, it means that you need to seek immediate shelter, somewhere out of harm’s way. This could mean in your home, at work, at school or even at the grocery store. Finding the most interior room with minimal windows is the most common way of sheltering in place.
You might be told to shelter-in-place for many different reasons. Natural disasters, an active shooter, the release of chemical, biological or radiological material, even excessive smoke can result in being told to remain indoors and shelter in place until further notice.
Sheltering in Place in the Workplace
Similar to most everything in life, preparing is the best way to make sure that you are able to quickly and effectively respond to an emergency. In the instance of sheltering in place, failure to have a plan in place or failure to train employees on how to respond during a shelter-in-place situation can result in confusion, chaos and even danger.
Here are a few ways to not only prepare for sheltering in place, but ensure everyone at your business is able to effectively shelter-in-place during an emergency:
- Train all employees on how to respond to each type of emergency situation. By having all employees familiar with where to go during a tornado warning or how to turn off the HVAC system during the event of an emergency, the whole sheltering in place process will be much easier if all employees are on the same page on what to do. To learn about the types of training that Preparis offers and how it can benefit your business, click here.
- Make sure that your business is stocked with all essential emergency supplies and all employees are familiar with where it is located. Water, non-perishable food items, personal hygiene items, batteries, flashlights, a charged cell phone and a battery powered radio should be staples in your emergency kit.
- If there are visitors, clients or customers in your business at the time of the shelter-in-place notification, make sure that they stay in the building as well and are given clear directions on how to shelter-in-place.
- If your building is not a safe spot to shelter-in-place (such as a trailer or mobile unit), have a plan on a where to go (a nearby building) and communicate that plan to your employees so everyone is on the same page during an emergency.
- Perform annual drills for various emergency situations to ensure that all employees have the opportunity to practice how they should shelter-in-place. This is the best way to find out if your shelter-in-place plan needs to be adjusted.
- Have an emergency notification system to ensure that you are able to quickly alert all employees that there is immediate need for protection and they should stop what they are doing and shelter-in-place. Preparis’ emergency notification and incident management system allows for those who received the message to respond and indicate whether they are ok or not ok. This is very helpful if employees are forced to all shelter-in-place in different locations.
To learn more about how Preparis can help your business prepare for any emergency situation, click here to request a demo.