Next Steps: Being Prepared at Work and School

You understand your circumstances, you have your pets prepared and you are starting to collect items for your go bag. These are the emergency essentials for you and your family at home, but what is your plan if an emergency happens if you and your family are at work or school?

Emergencies that you should be prepared for in the workplace include natural disasters, fire, toxic gas releases, chemical spills, radiological accidents, explosions, civil disturbances, and workplace violence resulting in bodily harm and trauma. Click here for additional details provided by Occupational and Health Safety Administration (OSHA).

Workplaces should have an emergency plan to help ensure you are safe. Most workplaces will practice their emergency plan once a year to make sure you know what to do in case an emergency does happen. Ask your Human Resource Department or manager if you are not familiar with the emergency preparedness plan.

Verify your emergency contact information and medical information are updated at your place of employment in case you have a medical emergency at work and are unresponsive. If you have a special circumstance such as a severe allergic reaction to bees, you should notify your manager or your human resource department so they can have this information available.

Since you and your family will most likely be in separate locations if an emergency does occur, make sure to:

  • Have a plan for how everyone will get into contact with each other
  • Decide where to meet up if getting to your house is not possible
  • Keep an updated emergency contact list on you. Click here for a detailed list of numbers to include.
  • Know alternate routes and other ways of transportation to your home and family meet-up places in case major roads are closed.
  • Have local maps available in case GPS and cell service are disrupted.
  • Download emergency apps such as the Red Cross Emergency App to stay informed.

Schools are required to have an emergency preparedness plan and to have staff and students practice these plans. You can talk to your school to know what will be expected of your child. Talk to your kids about the family emergency plan, including how you will be notified, who will pick them up, who the emergency contacts are, and be open to any questions they may have.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) provides extensive materials and training for children of all ages. Click here for more information. Make sure emergency contact information, people who can pick up your child, and medical information are updated. If your child or family have special circumstances, make sure your child’s teacher and staff are aware so they can accommodate your child and family.

Stay tuned for next week’s article in the Emergency Preparedness series, which provides information on what you need to know about natural disasters.

Non-VA Local Help

Know A Vet? presents this information and these national resource directories, not as a recommendation of any specific service or provider, but as a starting point for your own research.

Please feel free to use the check sheets Before, During and After the Medical Appointment and Choosing a Medical Service Provider to help you in your search for the best help for your individual circumstances.

In addition, there may be other federal, state and local government or private resources for your individual needs.

VA, Government and Organization Help

Know A Vet? presents this information and these national resource directories, not as a recommendation of any specific service or provider, but as a starting point for your own research.

Clicking here will bring you to a database of other VA services you can locate by zip code.

Please also check out our page on Filing Claims. We recommend that you do NOT file claims on your own.  If you do not file exactly the way the VA looks for information, it can take literally years for your claim to go back and forth before approval or denial.

The other resources listed, such as your local Veterans Service Office  (names vary by county), VSO counseloror, VFW, etc., will help you determine what you are eligible for and file correctly for results in as little as a few weeks.

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