When a major emergency occurs near your facility, “You’re on your own” security expert warns
WILTON, Conn., July 7, 2005 — Today’s explosions in London are a horrific reminder that an emergency doesn’t have to occur at a worksite to cause employee injuries or bring a company to a standstill.
Bo Mitchell, president of 911 Consulting and former Wilton police commissioner, said that company leaders can learn three critical lessons from the explosions across the Atlantic.
- During a major emergency, “You’re on your own.” When a major emergency occurs, nearly all police, fire and ambulance services throughout the region are dedicated to that emergency. Anyone who calls 911 competes for limited emergency response resources.When a company is hit with a medical event requiring EMS response, a situation that needs police attention, a hazardous material spill, or a fire, there is a slim chance of emergency responders arriving on the scene within the critical four-minute window, Mitchell said.”It’s up to onsite personnel to stop the bleeding, handle the bomb threat, contain the hazmat spill, and put out the fire,” Mitchell said. “If employees aren’t trained how to do this, then even a simple incident can escalate into a crisis.”
- Work cannot compete against home and family. When a major emergency occurs within a company’s region, employees are compelled to make sure loved ones are safe, Mitchell said. They are driven to rush home and gather their family around them.They do not, he said, feel a strong desire to care about work.Company leaders can help employees keep at least one eye on their jobs by helping them develop a family disaster plan before an emergency strikes. This gives family members a clear action plan to follow during any emergency.When employees know that their spouses and children know what to do, they can adhere to the emergency response plan at work.
- Local, state and federal agencies can dictate what you do. A public official can order a company to close the facility until further notice; evacuate all personnel; keep all personnel indoors (shelter-in-place) until further notice; immediately shut down all heating, ventilation, air conditioning systems and/or water systems; and keep employees off of all roads.”Most companies are not prepared for how to respond to one or any combination of these orders,” Mitchell said, “especially when a company leader is off site. Employees don’t have a clue about what to do or who is in charge.””A comprehensive emergency preparedness plan, paired with training and drills, is the smartest way to protect people, assets and property,” said Mitchell. “Employee safety is a one hundred percent business. If one person is injured or worse, there is total failure.”
Media contact: smitchell@911Consulting.net