Over the past decade or so, I have had the privilege of working with an organization located in downtown Seattle on their preparedness efforts. While I was with the American Red Cross, we provided annual refresher training on staff/workplace preparedness measures.
Upon starting HT2, they jumped at the opportunity to engage with us and utilize our expanded services. Over the past year we provided the following services: (1) training to the staff, (2) a safety walk, (3) a tabletop exercise and (4) a mock earthquake exercise.
Since many of the members of their staff had been there for many years, we opted to deliver a training session that focused on the human response to emergencies/disasters and ways to prepare and bypass the human response mechanism to better insure survival. The training was well received and many of the attendees signed up to receive our weekly tips as a result of the training provided. In addition, many of the staff members indicated that they planned to do something within 48 hours to become better prepared at home.
The next service provided was the safety walk. Wherein we toured their offices on the 27th and 28th floor of a high rise downtown. The safety walk served two purposes. The first was to identify areas that may be unsafe for day to day operations and/or areas or items that could pose a threat should an earthquake occur. A report of findings and mitigation strategies were shared after the safety walk. The second purpose for the walk is to create "realistic" injects for a tabletop exercise.
When we conducted the tabletop exercise, the staff was walked through a mock earthquake event and situational injects were made through the process that the staff were asked to assess in groups, such as accounting for staff or how do you contact loved ones when the land lines and email are down? At the conclusion of the exercise, a debrief revealed that there were areas identified as gaps in their current plans.
The last service for the year, was the mock earthquake exercise, in which we tested the various Disaster Recovery Teams at the organization with mock broken glass, injuries, blocked access and communication issues. The exercise was well received and again identified areas for improvement, most notably to us was the need for a new hire orientation be provided to share emergency procedures.
We are currently in discussions about offerings for the coming year with a culmination of the year ending with another mock exercise. This is one organization that take preparedness seriously. They regularly educate, maintain and exercise their plans. They truly are among the best, in my opinion.
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