Take a moment to imagine your office or work space. Look around you. What’s hung up on the walls, the shelves, your desk? Are the filing cabinets and shelves safely secured?
Now, imagine your office during an earthquake.
Will you be safe?
Do you know what to do if an earthquake happens while you’re at work?
Most of us will be in one of two places when an earthquake strikes: at home or at work. Home is a much easier environment to control—you can decide the safest places to hang items and you can secure others with Quake Hold museum putty.
It’s more difficult to control your work environment, but you can stay safe.
The 3 Things to do if the BIG ONE Hits at Work
1. Stay Alive
- Don’t attempt to walk or crawl
- Don't leave your location to move to a doorway
- Don't go outside if you are in a high-rise building, don't use the elevators
- Do stop what you are doing immediately and drop, cover, and hold on (Yep, just like you practiced at school)
- Do stay where you are until the shaking is done. The fire alarms and sprinklers may go off but remain calm and covered
- Do check yourself for injuries and make sure it is safe to leave the room you're in once the shaking stops
Ideally, your employer has an office manager or a safety committee to create an emergency plan. This plan should include a safe meeting point for employees to reconvene after a disaster.
(Check this link to see if your employer is in a state that requires a safety committee or supplies for emergencies.)
2. Get Your Supplies Together
If your office has an office emergency bucket, be sure that a designated employee grabs the supplies and brings them to the meeting place.
You should also have a personal emergency kit in case your employer’s kit is unreachable.
Our mini kit is is small enough to fit in office drawers, making it easily accessible in an emergency.
What if you are injured, or the building you’re in isn’t safe enough to leave? Or you can leave your building, but roads and bridges are down so you must walk home?
If a major earthquake hits, both scenarios are possibilities you can prepare for with a well-stocked earthquake bag.
3. Know Your Communication Plan
Once you’re in a safe location, you should check in with your family according to your family communication plan.
If you don’t already have a plan, now is a great time to start. Check out our guide on how to create a family communication plan.
Every plan should include: a communication team, contact information cards, an out-of-town emergency contact, a meeting place, and a timeline for communication. Once you’ve contacted your family members, it’s time to assess how much damage has been done to the local infrastructure and plan a route to get to your family meeting place.
How to keep your workplace earthquake-ready.
Ask your employer if they have an emergency response plan. There are 28 states that have state plans. Your employer should have the plan easily available for you to review if they are located in one of those states. If your employer does not have a plan, ask them if they would consider creating a safety committee and emergency response plan.
Contact your state to see what resources are available to businesses.
Volunteer to be on the safety committee. Conduct monthly meetings and safety drills with the rest of the staff to make sure everyone knows what to do. If you need some help writing a plan, check out this link for some great ideas. FEMA also has prepared some valuable resources about earthquake safety in the workplace, here.
Do you think your workplace is prepared for an emergency? What steps can you take today that will keep you safe?