Do you and your employees know what to do if a catastrophe, such as the major blackout that hit parts of the U.S. in August 2003, strikes your workplace? Or will everyone panic?

According to OSHA, before an emergency occurs, employees in high-rise buildings should:

1) Be familiar with the worksite and emergency evacuation plan;

2) Know the pathway to at least two alternative exits from every room/area at the workplace;

3) Recognize the sound/signaling method of the fire/evacuation alarms;

4) Know who to contact in an emergency and how to contact them;

5) Know how many desks or cubicles are between your workstation and two of the nearest exits so you can escape in the dark if necessary;

6) Know where the fire/evacuation alarms are located and how to use them; and,

7) Report damaged or malfunctioning safety systems and back-up systems.

8) It would behoove employers to purchase battery-operated flashlights, radios, televisions, and several lamps, for use by their employees in the event of a blackout. Each of the employees should do the same for use at their individual homes so that every member of their family will be able to maneuver within the home or evacuate safely in the event of a blackout.

NOTE: It would be a good idea to have you and your employees close your eyes, or put on a blindfold, and practice walking around the office or room to identify where each item is located, so that when a blackout does occur unexpectedly, people will be more likely to find their way around in the dark. Periodic practice techniques could save lives, time, and will help to eliminate the cause for people to panic. This can also be practiced in the home.

This information covers only some of the basic considerations for safe evacuation. These recommendations do not substitute for a site-specific evacuation program, nor does it detail specific OSHA or OSHA-approved state plan standards that may be applicable to individual worksites.

It is the intent of Professional Safety Training Services, Inc. and Professional Safety Consulting Services, to keep the public informed with the latest national and global news that will help to ensure that everyone will become more knowledgeable about how to prepare for natural and man-made catastrophes well in advance, in order to save lives and prevent major destruction of homes and property.

Dr. Calvin Williams and his experienced staff of Safety Consultants and Instructors, will be available upon request to provide free counseling and consultation if anyone should have any questions, or if they need verbal assistance in the event of an emergency or an immediate evacuation should a blackout occur, due to a hurricane, or an electrical failure. Please feel free to contact us if you should need our services.

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