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Emergency Planning: Five Ideas to Protect Technicians

January 24, 2011 - Emergency Preparedness

This is Chris Matt, Managing Editor — Print & E-Media with Maintenance Solutions magazine. Today's tip is five ideas to help protect front-line workers during an emergency.

In many cases, an emergency in an institutional or commercial facility requires maintenance and engineering managers to carry out key — and often dangerous — activities as part of the organization's response to the situation. Though often overlooked, ensuring technicians' safety must be a central part of every organization's emergency planning and response process.

Beyond written programs, managers also can consider five ideas that are relatively easy to implement that will better protect front-line technicians, who often serve as second responders in emergencies. These concepts include:

Kick-off meetings. Before any emergency response takes place, managers can organize a kick-off meeting to discuss the scope of work and the hazards present.

Tailgate training. Since emergencies might expose second responders to unusual hazards, a refresher safety training session might be in order.

Provision of supplies. These supplies include personal protective equipment, food, water, and sunscreen.

Review of hours worked. Emergency response often requires responders to work long hours, but at some point, long hours become dangerous. Managers need to track these hours to prevent injuries.

Counselors. In some cases, attempting to restore a facility after an emergency might force responders to deal with personal loss. In other cases, responders will have difficulties dealing with and processing the aftermath of an emergency. Grief counselors play a key role in keeping responders mentally healthy.


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