Are You Prepared?

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It happens every couple of years or so. There's a a shocking or (dare I say) earth-shaking article that is published.


This typically is shared all over Facebook by people saying, "Seriously guys, read this article." You skim over it to get the gloom-n-doom highlights and then, seconds later in your feed, you see the ultimate headline that rips your attention away. "You won't believe what this panda does after trying an exotic type of bamboo for the first time." Just like that, it's gone.

Recently an article was published by The New Yorker titled "The Really Big One" by Kathryn Schulz. It got my news feed all a'buzz. Admittedly, I didn't read the article. I did my normal speed read over it because I had seen so many times before. The quake has been talked about since I could remember so it's easy to dismiss.

This time though, I manage an office. I got to thinking about what we would do in the 100+ year old building if something did happen. Not even an earthquake, let's say. How about a situation where we are all locked down in the building for a day, two, or even three? Are we ready? Have I prepared us for this? When I am not running the office, I am on call as a Firefighter/EMT so naturally I put more pressure on myself for preparedness. 

The realization came to me that there is something we can do...prepare! It's quite simple really; but why do we not do it? What is it in our nature to say "it will be alright" and just hope nothing happens. Wouldn't you sleep better knowing that if, in fact, we do have some kind of situation, that we have a backup plan of sorts? If you search the internet for disaster preparedness you can find all kinds of things about what to do at home. The kicker is, 8-10 hours of our day we are at our other home...work!

In a step towards this solution, our property management company has done a great job with hiring WPS Disaster Management Solutions as the answer. They have a online service were you are able to assign positions in your company for designated emergency personnel (Floor Wardens, Deputy Floor Wardens, and Assistance Monitors). In this program, there is online training for different scenarios that we could encounter during emergencies. As an example, we were able to send six Toads to First Aid/CPR/AED training. All of these Toads are now part of our disaster preparedness group. Wahoo!

During our first fire drill here at the building, we successfully evacuated everyone off our floor in under 60 seconds! 

George Castanza

*Metal Toad does not endorse the George Costanza emergency evacuation method shown above*

So now we have established that we can get out of the building very quickly; but what if we can't get out and now we have ourselves a good old fashioned emergency sleepover?

Or office currently has 46 Toads in it and, for sake of easy math, let's say 50. What is going to keep us all alive?

If you go into our main closet located in our breakroom, you will find the following:

(2) portable toilets equipped with bio bags
(200+) 16oz bottle of water
(1) advanced medical kit 
(50) cans of tuna in oil (not Sara's favorite choice)
(50) emergency blankets
(35) hooded sweatshirts
(10) glowsticks
(1) LED flashlight

While this can seem like a ton of supplies, in all actuality we have a way to go. As I typed this, I realized that we don't have a can opener in our kit and that tuna is gonna be hard to eat. Performing a quick emergency supply calculation for food and water (found online) this is what they recommend for 50 people @ 3 days and it's rather eye opening:

150 gallons of water
(300) 1200 calorie bars
(50) emergency blankets 
(50) plastic silverware
(25) 30 gal trash bags
(2) portable toilets and seats
(13) toilet liner bags
(50) rolls of toilet paper
(150) feminine hygiene products


One thing not mentioned (but I thought about) is the possibility of anyone on your team having a pre-existing medical issue that requires medication. This would be something to think about and discuss having a couple day supply in your kit or at their desk. 

Now these are simply guidelines but it does help you think about where you are at and a target to try and hit. Where does your office stack up? Do you have a group an emergency group? Have you started to dig out your underground bunker (just kidding)? Are you going to George Costanza your way out of the building? 

One thing I started doing here (and will start doing at home) is just purchasing a couple extra canned goods and/or supplies and storing them away. In no time, you could have yourself a nice little emergency kit. Trees don't get chopped down in one big swing, it takes a ton of swings and each one gets you closer to yelling "TIMBER!!!"

It isn't the most exciting topic on earth and we all hope that we never have to use it; but when you have no food, that tuna starts looking really good, Sara.

So what are you waiting for? Make a list. See what you have. And start preparing. Who knows? Your co-workers may thank you one day. 

Date posted: October 9, 2015

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