The month of September is known as National Preparedness Month. ImpactReady, ImpactWeather’s business continuity department, has worked hard to encourage employee participation to strengthen our state of disaster preparedness and readiness. Of course, September is typically the peak of hurricane season but also signals the changing of the seasons from summer to fall, which can occasionally result in the threat of severe weather. Late summer and early fall is also the height of the wildfire season in the American West, while the threat of blizzards and ice storms may only be a few short weeks away. What better time to bring awareness to personal preparedness? Fortunately, the hurricane season has been relatively quiet with only five named storms to date. However, preparedness is a continual improvement process and National Preparedness Month is promoted to bring awareness of disaster preparedness tools and activities and encourage participation on a personal level.
At our Houston office, ImpactWeather kicked off National Preparedness Month by scheduling employee-centric activities including CPR/AED Training and Fire Extinguisher Training. For many participants, the CPR/AED training was a certification session and for others it was a refresher course. This was the third year CPR/AED training was offered on-site and all who participated are now certified in the life-saving technique of CPR and use of an AED (automated external defibrillator; link). Like many companies across the country, ImpactWeather has a conveniently-located AED that is regularly checked for proper operation.
The following week, Fire Extinguisher Training was offered to all employees. In addition to being trained by a dynamic retired captain with the Houston Fire Department, the session included hands-on training with a fire simulator and a laser-pointing fire extinguisher—a big hit! In general, I think it’s safe to say that most people have seen what a fire extinguisher looks like and perhaps have witnessed its use on TV or in the movies, but not many have extensive experience with such a critical tool and may find the task of using one intimidating, especially in a life-threatening situation. The presentation covered the different types of fire extinguishers used to squelch various types of fires and flammable materials. Some of the video footage we observed during the training course left jaw-dropping impressions about how quickly and violently a fire can spread, even in a simple office setting. The training was well received and we definitely have a new respect for fire safety and best practices.
To cap off our National Preparedness Month activities, a building- and tenant-wide fire drill has been scheduled for October 1st (side note: Oct. 1st is admittedly not September, but the drill was rescheduled from a previous date due to unforeseeable circumstances). The good news is that the ice cream social following the drill was successfully rescheduled for that date as well. Fire and ice – never have the two sounded better together and a fitting close to National Preparedness Month.
Lastly, ImpactWeather is capping off NPM by participating in National PrepareAthon! Day (today!) by testing our emergency mass notification tool internally. Our objectives are to promote awareness of the tool to ImpactWeather employees and to test the functionality of the notification system so that in the event of an actual emergency our employees will be familiar with the process. We are also seeking to verify that we have the correct emergency contact information for each employee. By testing our emergency notification system internally, we are taking one more step to participate in a national day of action to increase emergency preparedness and resiliency of all ImpactWeather employees.