Are you prepared for a disaster?

Drawing of a woman with a to-do list with two checkmarks
Have a plan in place for emergencies or disasters at home and the office.

September is Personal Preparedness Month, and a new opportunity to remind you that disasters can occur very quickly and last indefinitely. Personal preparedness lessens the impact on families, workplaces, and communities. Your personal preparedness impacts your department’s and UT Southwestern’s ability to maintain and provide services to the community when a situation occurs.

There are many things you can do to establish and maintain a high level of preparedness, both at work and home. Considerations for work-related preparedness include:

  • Does your department have an Emergency Operations Plan (DEOP), and are you familiar with it? If not, now would be a great time to develop one. The Emergency Management and Business Continuity Team can assist your department with this effort.
  • Is your DEOP updated annually and shared? DEOPs should be reviewed and updated annually, and all employees retrained on its contents. This is especially valuable for new employees.
  • Is safety an important part of your department’s culture? The things you do and decisions you make every day at work play a role in our preparedness. Whether it’s securing hazardous chemicals in a lab every time you step away, shutting doors behind you to prevent piggybacking, or removing hallway obstructions, our daily actions increase or decrease our level of preparedness and ability to respond effectively during incidents.
  • Are you trained in and familiar with emergency procedures? Housed within the MyEOP app, the Emergency Response Guide will improve your knowledge of critical situations we may face and how to respond to them.
  • Can you comfortably render aid in the workplace if needed? UTSW offers life-safety courses such as Stop-the-Bleed and First Aid/CPR, some of which can be accessed through Taleo.

Did You Know?

52% of Americans do not have a personal preparedness plan.

On the home front, preparedness should involve the following considerations:

  • Having a “Go-Bag” – this Disaster Supply Checklist is a good resource to know what to include in it.
  • Planning for pets – the ASPCA is a wonderful resource for information on this topic.
  • Designating a family Evacuation/Reunification point – consider locations removed from the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area (such as Houston, Waco, or Tyler) where your family could go if a community disaster occurred.
  • Documentation – this Emergency Plan template from the State of Texas is a good foundation and can be customized to meet your needs.
  • Practice – Texas Ready provides comprehensive information on developing and practicing your plan.

Preparedness does not have to be time-consuming or require you to stock up supplies for Armageddon. It’s as simple as having conversations, thinking ahead, and using the resources available to you. Invest some time in preparedness so you can continue to perform your mission when a disaster occurs.

For questions, concerns, or assistance, please the Emergency Management and Business Continuity Team.