Reposted from Securitas Security Services, USA, Inc.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) defines civil unrest as an activity such as a demonstration, riot, or strike that disrupts a community and requires intervention to maintain public safety. During such events, employees and employers have a critical role and shared responsibility to take appropriate actions to protect themselves, their coworkers and organizations, and their properties.
Have a Plan
As with any potential emergency situation, it is best to have a plan of what you will do if something happens. By thinking ahead, you can save yourself valuable time in an emergency. All organizations should develop a workplace safety strategy and conduct practice drills. Make sure your workplace has a plan in place so that every employee knows what to do. A civil unrest preparedness plan can fit into your organization’s larger security plan that may already include plans for fire evacuation, severe weather, bomb threats, and other emergency events.
Depending on the situation, your workplace may need to be secured in case of civil unrest. Remember that your personal safety is the most important goal before securing the workplace. Know your role in your workplace safety plan for civil unrest. Always listen to the instructions of emergency personnel if applicable. Listen for instructions about whether your workplace is in “lockdown,” if you should move to shelter or shelter-in-place, or if you should evacuate the premises. Just as for fire safety, know the emergency exit routes out of the building and out of the area ahead of time. Know the locations of safe havens such as hospitals, public buildings, etc. Have a plan to account for all personnel and guests and set up pre-designated meeting points for yourself and your coworkers. Have a transportation plan for yourself in case you are separated from your car. If possible, always carry a small amount of cash on you. Employees should also consider their family’s emergency plan in tandem with their workplace security plan so they can ensure communication with their families.
If Civil Unrest Occurs
Emergency personnel, such as local, state and federal law enforcement, may not be available if civil unrest is occurring. Refer to your company’s security plan for guidance. Alert other employees and your supervisor. If you are responsible for securing your area, do so, and then follow your company’s plan of action, which may include emergency evacuation. Your safety is a priority so make sure you have taken all precautions to keep yourself safe. Make your way to your pre-designated meeting point, and if necessary, try to blend in while working your way towards a safe location. Do not draw attention to yourself and work your way out of the area.
Keep Calm and Act Quickly
As in any emergency, one of the keys to your safety is to remain calm. There may be a lot of confusion, and news and social media may give inaccurate or contradictory information. Remain observant and adaptable to the developing situation.
Your workplace safety strategy and emergency plan should always be kept up to date and include communication with local, state and federal law enforcement. Your workplace should conduct regular safety drills and conduct both threat analyses and security audits regularly.
Make sure your workplace has an Emergency Plan and ensure everyone knows what they would do if confronted with a situation that involves civil unrest.
- Develop a notification system. Look for the two nearest exits anywhere you go.
- Have an escape path in mind and identify places you could hide.
- Understand the plans for individuals with disabilities or other access and functional needs.
- Account for personnel and guests.
- Coordinate preparation with existing plans.
- Train employees to recognize and report concerns.
- If you see something, say something to a supervisor or the authorities right away.
- Sign up to receive local emergency alerts and register your work and personal contact information with any work sponsored alert system.
- Be aware of your environment and any possible dangers.
- Learn and practice first aid skills and use of tourniquets.
- Identify preparations before an emergency situation occurs.
- Identify how you will assess damage; salvage undamaged goods; and cleanup the building following an incident.
- Identify the contractors, equipment, and materials that would be needed.
For more information on this and other security related topics, visit the Securitas Safety Awareness Knowledge Center at: http://www.securitasinc.com/en/knowledge-center/security-and-safety-awareness-tip