Most working people spend at least eight hours in the office during the day, and in those eight (or so) hours, a lot can go wrong. Having the right supplies can be crucial for employees’ safety and wellbeing during an emergency. They can also help ensure things like continuity of service and emergency communications, and limit a disaster’s repercussions.
To help you survive the office and ensure you’re fully prepared for everything (even a hot summer’s day), we’ve devised a list of the ultimate survival kit essentials. You can keep these items in your desk drawer, in a box, in your car or anywhere you like – as long as they are easily accessible! It’ll keep you functional and comfortable during everything bar a zombie apocalypse. If that happens, you’re on your own.
Your desk is your office sanctuary. No matter what happens at work, it’s the place where you have everything you need to get through the day. Be sure that you’re well stocked up to cope with every eventuality by shopping for our list of emergency desk items.
What to Include in an Emergency Preparedness Kit?
If you don’t forget yours, someone else will. You can be the office angel with a spare charger always on call.
You can boost your social status by bringing in snacks for colleagues to graze when they pass by. Try to keep them relatively healthy and easy to pick at. Chocolate pretzels, veggie chips, or granola bites are all good options. Keep a supply of non-perishable food that’s enough for the whole staff for a day, and don’t forget to include a can opener if the food is canned. You might also want to pack utensils, plates, cups, and paper towels.
First aid kit
Invest in a full first aid kit, Try to include the basics for cuts, scrapes, and burns, complete with antiseptic wipes, gauze, and more. Also, ensure that your kit includes plenty of padded bandages to help with those uncomfortable shoes.
It’s flu season! Hand sanitizer is very important to keep. For added points, you can use a sanitizer dispenser at your desk for visitors.
There’s nothing worse than being ill-prepared for an impromptu storm. Beat the rain with this compact travel umbrella that can be easily stored in your survival pack. When the rain picks up and you need to make a dash outside the office, a compact brolly can be invaluable. It can also make you a superhero when you lend it to a colleague.
Stay hydrated and support the environment without spending needlessly on bottled water. Try to keep a BPA-free water bottle filled and at your desk.
Bandage and bandage tape
Papercuts and other injuries are unavoidable in the workplace, which is why it’s essential to have a box of plasters on hand. The Curad assorted box of plasters includes a range for every situation, from waterproof to heavy-duty.
Emergency plans stipulate a gallon of water per person per day to use for both drinking and sanitation purposes. (So make sure that you have a gallon per employee in the office. This might be an easier feat if you use a traditional water cooler system.)
Having a flashlight (and extra batteries) on hand is always a best practice for emergency situations.
Take your hand right now, and wipe it across your desk. You didn’t know all of that filth was even there, I’m sure. Know that you know you can’t pretend that you don’t know, so clean it up.
Water spills, sauces drip, crevices that need cleaning, hands that need wiping–get you some.
Medicine and personal supplies
In general, your employees should be in charge of keeping their own medications on hand. (Storing them on their behalf could be a major privacy violation and open you up to plenty of lawsuits). But if you’re an executive assistant, you may be able to get permission to store some medications on your boss’ behalf. You may also opt to store non-essential medication, such as pain relievers or antacids. Certain employees may also need to consider personal supplies, such as contact lenses and solutions, or considerations for other medical conditions or devices.
Keep some moist towelettes, feminine products, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation in case restroom facilities aren’t working or accessible during an emergency event.
Site-specific emergency procedures and resources
Keep a hard copy of any relevant equipment shutoff procedures. Don’t forget to include the related tools in the kit (for example, you might need a wrench or pliers to turn off utilities or machines). Directions related to on-site emergency equipment (such as fire extinguishers) can also be helpful.
Dust masks and duct tape
Dust masks to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
Other Tips for Your Office Emergency Kit
Your emergency kit certainly won’t be as helpful if it isn’t updated regularly.
Food can spoil, battery-powered devices can lose their charges, emergency contact information can change and become obsolete, and on-site procedures and infrastructure can warrant changes in emergency plans. You’ll also need to adjust the supplies in the kit to account for a changing number of employees.
It’s a good idea to designate someone on your staff to take ownership of emergency kit maintenance. Your front desk staff is often ideal for the role. Adding emergency planning to their job descriptions can give them more credit for the unique role they play as office gatekeepers.
Where to Store Emergency Supplies?
Store safety items in airtight plastic bags. A backpack makes a convenient and portable storage option for an emergency preparedness kit that is intended for use by a single individual. Depending on the size of the kit you’ve built, which should coincide with the size of your office, you may also want to consider several plastic storage totes and store them in a safe but easily identified location.
Be sure to check on your stored items annually and replace any expired items immediately. You never know when your emergency supplies may save a life.