MAKING SAFETY AN INVESTMENT
How many safety clichés have we heard throughout our careers? “Safety First”; “Safety Makes Cents”; or “Safety Starts Here”. These slogans are meant to help keep safety top of mind. The problem? Safety slogans are like diets; it is easy to start for a time, but it is just as easy to go back to old habits. Unless one completely invests in this way of living, it will not be sustainable to changing behavior.
Ironically, what can change behavior is the possibility of returning a profit. More often than not, once you begin to adopt the new behavior and reap the resulting rewards, you will adjust your behavior to continue reaching your goals.
Seeking safety should be construed as a return on investment. Learn to protect against potential dangers and save thousands in unplanned expenses in the areas of Fire Safety, Active Shooter, Post Disaster Family Communication and Medical Emergencies with the anagram P.R.O.F.I.T.:
PULL THE PIN (FIRE SAFETY)
Have a fire extinguisher on hand. A fire can double in size every 60 seconds. If a stovetop fire starts in a 5-foot by 3-foot space, approximately 480 square feet of the home will be burned after only 5 minutes. In a 1,800 square-foot home, this equates to about 26 percent of the dwelling. For a California home valued at $600,000, this is roughly $156,000 in damage, assuming The fire department arrives within 5 minutes to extinguish the fire. Compared to the relatively low cost of a fire extinguisher, which ranges from $25 to $30, it is more profitable to invest in a fire extinguisher.
RUN, HIDE, FIGHT (ACTIVE SHOOTER)
If you are in a public space and hear gunshots from an active shooter in the area, RUN and evacuate in the opposite direction. Be sure to run in a zig zag pattern to make yourself a difficult target for the shooter.
If you are unable to run, then HIDE yourself. Choose a closet or cabinet; lock the doors; silence your cell phone and dim the screen.
If the active shooter is going to breach the room you are in, the last resort is to FIGHT to incapacitate the shooter. Throw objects or pull the pin of a fire extinguisher and actuate the handle.
OUT OF AREA CONTACT (FAMILY COMMUNICATION)
Whatever type of natural disaster, it is important to pre-plan a Family Accountability Plan, or a way to determine if your loved ones are safe and sound after the natural disaster.
Since phone lines IN the affected disaster zone will likely be compromised, lines OUT of the affected area are usually open. In case of separation, have your significant other, children or other family members call a designated contact who resides out of the area to learn if everyone in the affected area is safe and sound.
FIND ILLUMINATED EXIT SIGNS (CRISIS EVACUATION)
The illuminated exit sign is critical to your safety in any commercial building, such as a hotel, conference center, movie theater or restaurant, etc. If the exit sign has an arrow, this indicates there is an emergency door or stairwell in that direction. If there is no arrow, this means proceed straight through until you reach the next exit sign with further directions. Clearly identifying the locations of these illuminated exit signs when you first enter the building can afford you extra time in the event of a crisis evacuation.
INSURANCE (WATER DAMAGE)
Have you considered adding fire sprinkler insurance to your existing policy? If you do not have this additional coverage, imagine the following scenario: Your neighbor’s condo catches fire and activates the sprinklers at a rate of 60 gallons of water per minute from a single fire sprinkler. As the fire spreads and additional sprinklers are activated by the heat of the fire, it can cause significant water damage. An insurance claim for the water damage may not be covered because it is not due to the actual fire but indirectly by the fire sprinklers. Maximize coverage of your living space by discussing fire sprinkler damage insurance with your carrier.
TAKE TRAINING (MEDICAL EMERGENCY)
When preparing for a medical emergency, the phrase “knowledge is power” holds especially true. CPR training, oftentimes offered at your place of employment or on the weekends through the Red Cross or American Heart Association, will empower you to save someone from choking, experiencing cardiac arrest or suffering a diabetic emergency. Being confident in performing care for 3-7 minutes while you are waiting for emergency medical services may reduce the potential of brain damage. For every Minute that passes after 911 has been called, the victim loses a 10 percent chance of survival. A life is priceless, so it is profitable to take a few hours to train and potentially save a life.
SHELTER IN PLACE (NATURAL DISASTER)
Understand your Shelter in Place procedures for a storm, tornado, earthquake or other crisis. Planning for natural disasters requires identifying a place to take shelter; being familiar with and monitoring the area’s early warning system; and establishing procedures to account for individuals in the building.
Tornados: Identify a Shelter in Place location at work. Typically an underground area, such as a basement or storm cellar, provides the best protection from a tornado. If an underground room is not available, seek a small interior room on the lowest floor. Stay away from doors, windows or outside walls. Stay in the center of a room and away from the corners because they attract debris. AVOID auditoriums, cafeterias and gymnasiums that have flat, wide-span roofs.
Earthquakes: It is critical to quickly DUCK under a sturdy object; COVER and protect your head from falling debris; and HOLD onto the legs of a table to prevent it from rolling or sliding away from you.
By taking steps to prepare for emergency situations that may occur at home or at work, you will P.R.O.F.I.T. from maximizing your safety.