Preparedness in the Workplace
By Robert B – this is an entry in our non-fiction writing contest.
Most of us spend a lot of time on preps for our homes, vehicles, and bug-out locations, but our places of work are often neglected and rarely discussed. This is a big gap in preparedness for those of us who are still “working for the man” and find ourselves spending half of our waking hours in an office or traveling. I assumed my EDC and vehicle Get Home Bag had me covered at work until a simple request for a screwdriver made me realize all my gear is down a flight of stairs and across a parking lot. I immediately added a Leatherman to my laptop bag, but more importantly, I started thinking through potential scenarios.
While your work environment may differ from mine, the key principle is to think through your likely scenarios, make a plan, and the best part…buy some more gear. Your in-vehicle Get Home Bag should cover getting stuck at work or a hotel due to weather, road issues, or civil unrest, so will not be specifically addressed. Medical emergencies, fire, and active-shooter are the most likely in-office scenarios requiring planning and immediate access to gear. These scenarios are equally likely to occur at a hotel or remote office during business travel so build your kit to accommodate.
I am able to fit a surprising amount of gear in my laptop bag which is always with me in the office or when traveling. If you don’t carry a laptop bag, perhaps you have an equipment or tool bag that never leaves your side. I also store additional supplies in my personal file cabinet and desk drawers. In addition to convenience items such as high energy snacks and hygiene items, I carry a Personal Urban Repelling Kit (PURK), medical supplies, and safety gear. A full list of what I carry can be found below.
I recommend joining your company’s Emergency Response Team (ERT) if available. You will typically receive free first aid, CPR, evacuation, and fire extinguisher training. If this isn’t available at your office contact your HR department or building management to initiate. At a minimum, identify where all medical kits, fire extinguishers, and emergency exits are located. Perhaps more important than the free training, you will have the inside scoop on how prepared your company and building really are…and you may be unpleasantly surprised. For instance, my building has no plan for an active shooter scenario. You may also find out how inadequate, and difficult to find, your companies medical kits are; band-aids, alcohol wipes, and ibuprofen are good for papercuts but not for rapid blood loss from an arterial cut or gunshot wound.
Have you thought through your active shooter run, hide, fight scenarios? Even Bruce Willis in Die Hard had to run and hide before he fought. How about billowing black toxic smoke filling your halls? How many exits do you have? Hint: A window (or drywall) is also an exit even if it doesn’t open and is on the second floor. I have a very compact Personal Urban Repelling Kit that allows me to escape through an office or hotel window up to 5 stories high. Be a leader and discuss scenarios/protocols with your team or co-workers that sit near you. Talk through the below sample active shooter considerations and establish an Emergency Action Plan with your peers.
Active Shooter Response: Run / Hide / Fight
- Run: Check windows to see if you can locate position of shooter(s). Which exits routes are available? What cover is available? What is your destination upon exit?
- Hide: Close and barricade an office, conference room, or bathroom. Can your door or furniture provide protection if bullets are flying? Do you have an alternative exit if the shooter attempts to break in? What can be used as weapons in the event you need to fight?
- Fight: What weapons do you have available? Did you observe if they have body armor? How can you launch a coordinated attack against one or multiple shooters? Perhaps two people throw full soda cans at the head of the shooter while someone tackles the legs, and another person secures the weapon.
Laptop Bag Gear
Personal Urban Repelling Kit (PURK)
- 50 feet of 6mm cord – I don’t suggest rappelling with paracord unless no other option
- Lightweight harness or 15′ of webbing to make swami harness
- Carabiners x2 (pre-attach one to harness the other to end of cordage for quick attachment to anchor point)
- Gloves (for sliding down rope – also useful for moving building debris from explosion or earthquake damage)
Safety / Miscellaneous
- Respirator dust mask or bandana
- Mini flashlight
- Glow stick
- Tactical pen
- Firearm (balance company policy vs risk; don’t forget to remove if flying!)
- Credit card knife (remove if flying)
- Multi-tool (remove if flying)
- Small roll of duct tape
- Packable rain coat or poncho
- Phone charger / cord
- Cash – $60-$100
- Celox packets
- Israeli field dressing
- Basic medicine (Benadryl, Tylenol, Advil C&S, Immodium, Tums, Pepto tabs)
- Alcohol Wipes
- Eye drops
Food / Water
- Datrex Emergency Drinking Water pouches
- Kind Bars
- Justin’s Almond Butter
- Coconut oil packets
- Tea / coffee packets
- Body wipes / deodorant
- Mini pack towel
File Cabinet / Desk Drawers
- Additional food and water
- Whiskey (helps to calm the nerves in high stress situations!)
- N95 particle mask
- Hammer (active shooter defense – even if you’re armed, help to arm others)
- Full soda cans (throw at active shooter- try shooting when someone’s throwing cans at your head)
- Extra mags / ammo
Your workplace is potentially an area where you are most vulnerable. I hope this has inspired you to reduce your risk exposure and be better prepared in your place of work. Please share your thoughts or any areas I may have overlooked in the comments below.
Prizes For This Round (Ends on June 7, 2017) In Our Non-Fiction Writing Contest Include…
First Prize a $999 value:
- Numanna Organic Family Pack Bucket a $399 value from LPC Survival Ltd.
- CampingSurvival Gear Pack a $400 value from Camping Survival.com.
- A $200 gift certificate of prepper books from Prepper Press.
Second Prize a $650+ value:
- A case of .308 ammo or $300 off Ammo selection of your choice from LuckyGunner.
- A Wonder Junior Deluxe Hand Mill with the Masa/Nut Butter Auger, Drill Bit Attachment, and Bicycle Sprocket Kit a $325 value from ChefBrad.com
Third Prize a $310+ value:
- $300 gift certificate from GunMag Warehouse.
- A copy of The Prepper’s Guide to Surviving the End of the World, as We Know It: Gear, Skills, and Related Know-How