Lansing, MI -- September has been recognized as National Preparedness Month for over a decade. The special designation began in 2004 when the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) initiated efforts to build awareness and preparedness in advance of any potential natural or man-made disasters. It encourages both citizens and businesses to take steps to prepare for any type of emergency.
FEMA is continuing last year’s theme of “Don’t Wait. Communicate. Make Your Emergency Plan Today.” Ready.gov, the official website of the Department of Homeland Security, lists examples of natural hazards to include such events as floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes and widespread serious illness. Examples of human-caused hazards include accidents, acts of violence by people and acts of terrorism. The agency has reported that up to 40% of businesses affected by a natural or human-caused disasters do not reopen.
Ready.gov lists the five steps in developing a preparedness program for businesses to include:
- Program Management
- Testing and Exercises
- Program Improvement
“Emergency preparedness requires attention to not just specific types of hazards, but also to steps that increase preparedness for any type of event,” said Susan Ripple, CIH® and Chair of ABIH®. “If a disaster happens, the resources of public agencies can be quickly overwhelmed, so it is critical that organizations and businesses have a plan and people in place who are trained to handle these types of situations. These key people include Certified Industrial Hygienists (CIHs).”
CIHs are uniquely qualified to prepare for and handle emergencies and natural disasters. They are trained to identify, prevent and respond to situations associated with these types of events due to their ability to anticipate, recognize, evaluate and control a wide range of chemical, physical, biological and ergonomic stressors.