Author Topic: Preparedness at the office  (Read 7157 times)

Offline paleo_prep

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Preparedness at the office
« on: July 31, 2010, 07:12:46 PM »
Hello all,

I've been reading posts in the Ladies Forum for awhile, but I only got off my duff to create a log-in account today. Now that I've squared that away, I can give you all a proper "Howdy!" and thank you for the informative--and often entertaining!--threads I've read these past months.

One question I don't recall being addressed (and I tried to find it via a forum search, so please forgive me if I'm retreading old territory) is how you all handle carrying a minimal preparedness kit in an office environment. I work in a facility where we wear business attire, and I'm always dashing off to meetings in my building with only a notepad and a cell phone. It occurs to me that if a disaster of some sort struck while I was ensconced in the bowels of a conference room, I would have hardly anything useful on my person. I even leave my car keys in my office, as I have one of those big ol' RFID fobs, and it is too bulky to carry in the pockets of my usual attire...assuming my clothing even has pockets! The dearth of pockets on ladies professional attire is an entirely different thread, but just know it is a huge pet peeve of mine. But I digress....

So what are the potential solutions? Do you all just make sure you lug your purse with you everywhere you go? Have you found a clothing manufacturer that makes professional-yet-functional attire? Are there leather portfolios that are small enough to toss in a purse yet large enough to accommodate a few items in the portfolio pockets? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!


Offline CandyBabyE

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Re: Preparedness at the office
« Reply #1 on: August 01, 2010, 08:15:26 AM »
HI Paleo,

I never thought about this except on the "what would I do if" level.

I'm not sure what kind of situation you're thinking about: tornado, earthquake, active shooter, robbery?  I think my purse and car keys are the last thing I'd be thinking about. Your cell phone is probably one of the best things to have with you for calling 911.  You could have a small BOB you keep at the office in addition to the one in your car. Minimal supplies, water, an MRE or some "survival bisquits, small first aid kit with the usual stuff, tylenol, bandaids,and a few unusual things, duct tape, tampax (for bullet wounds) or sanitary napkin for major bleeding control. These could probably fit in something slightly larger than a makeup bag.

You could talk to "the boss" and see if he would be open to putting in all the major gathering points, present it as something for a natural disaster for your area, snow storm, earthquake, etc.  Identify the areas where people are likely to be trapped if there is building damage and suggest that there be first aid, long storage food bisquits and water in those locations. If your area is more likely prone to being stuck in an undamaged building, then a central location for these things would work. You could even offer to put it together if he would let you put them in those places. Commercially produced first aid kits are available and would be good to present to a suit.

As for clothing, check out 9.11 clothing. You can find them at http://www.lapolicegear.com/?gclid=CKOD7cGzmKMCFRplgwodwEuTow . I don't know if you wear dresses, skirts or pants. But if you don't find what fits your need, just send them an email, explain what you're looking for, they might be able to direct you.

Hope this was some help.

Candy

Offline Mr. Bill

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Re: Preparedness at the office
« Reply #2 on: August 01, 2010, 09:17:31 AM »
...Do you all just make sure you lug your purse with you everywhere you go?...

This is what my wife has always done, but she needs to have asthma inhalers and some other stuff with her, so there's never been much option.  But besides those items and her wallet and cellphone, we haven't really tried to turn her purse into an emergency bag.  I'll have to discuss this with her.

I did assemble a big carton of MREs and bottled water (plus some paper plates and plastic utensils) which she keeps in her office.

Offline Night Walker

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Re: Preparedness at the office
« Reply #3 on: August 01, 2010, 09:39:43 AM »
Something I did where I used to work was join the "Safety Committee", which was also responsible for things like making sure the building was evacuated in case of fire, clearly marking and disseminating info about the hazardous weather "safe rooms" (tornado country), etc.

Many companies are willing to expand safety and emergency prep if there are employees who are willing to put in the time and energy (like a lot of things in life, someone has to want it to happen).

I helped push awareness at our location up to the next level, and saw as a result a lot more things like flashlights, bottles of water, food bars, personal first aid kits, first aid and CPR certification training, etc.

The fact that 9-11 happened during this push suddenly gave me a bit more credibility and instantly changed me from "closet survivalist wacko" to "subject matter expert". If you have a concern... volunteer if at all practical.

Are there employee lockers where you can store stuff? Are you regularly in more than one building (like a company "campus")? Lockable desk drawer? Do you have control of any materials under lock-and-key where you might be able to stash a bit more?

Offline paleo_prep

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Re: Preparedness at the office
« Reply #4 on: August 01, 2010, 11:30:10 AM »
Thanks for all the feedback, folks! I am fortunate in that I work at a facility which is pretty safety conscious (mainly because of the constant earthquake threat). We have a campus-wide safety committee, with individual reps for each group...and a few years ago, they installed giant storage "trailers" at a few points around campus that have emergency supplies in sufficient quantity to supposedly tide everyone over for three days. Once a year, we also hold a campus-wide emergency drill--complete with volunteered "injured victims" so that the emergency responders get some practice--where everyone assembles at their designated zone, but they are still obviously working out the kinks on mobilizing thousands of us in an elegant fashion. To this day, I never have managed to hear the announcements they shout to us via megaphone once we reach our muster area.... Maybe they're telling jokes or something.  ;)

However, I'm thinking an additional part of the solution is for us all to be prepared on an individual basis, as well, because when the alarms for building evacuation sound, we are to proceed directly to our muster area, regardless of whether we have our personal effects with us or not. Our last BIG earthquake was in 1989, but we have frequent smaller shakers, and I am trying to figure out how I can have necessary prep gear on my person at all times in case The Big One hits and I can not return to my office for something as simple as my car keys (I have a 3-day kit in my trunk, so it'd be nice to have access to that if needed!). The tactical clothing suggested by Candy is definitely cool and functional, but unfortunately I need to find something more along the lines of Ann Taylor or Banana Republic in appearance. I do always wear pants, and I usually wear comfortable flat shoes (although sometimes heels seem to be unavoidable) so that I'm not handicapped by my attire. At this point, I'm leaning toward carrying a small bag with me at all times (even to the bathroom) so that I at least have my car keys and a pen knife available should we be required to leave the building with no advance warning. It'll be cumbersome, but I'm kind of at a loss as to what else I can do.

Thanks again for the input, everyone! I really enjoy having a group to chat with that understands where I'm coming from!

Offline LvsChant

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Re: Preparedness at the office
« Reply #5 on: August 01, 2010, 11:58:26 AM »
I can remember carrying my day planner everywhere with me (back when I was in the corporate world before my two boys were born). I realize that probably that is a completely outdated item by now, given the proliferation of blackberries, iphones, etc. However, that size planner was really easy to just carry under the arm and take everywhere. That size of small leather case would be pretty unobtrusive and allow you to carry a number of items you would need in case of emergency. I'd start with taking something like that with me everywhere, if I were in your shoes. You can customize what you include in it to suit your own preferences.

Welcome to the forum, btw. We are glad to have you here!

LvsChant

Offline LdMorgan

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Re: Preparedness at the office
« Reply #6 on: August 29, 2010, 09:29:54 PM »
A leather-bound document folder might serve as a workplace BOB.

Get the kind that zips shut and is large enough to hold a bulky 3-ring binder or a hefty stack of manila folders.

Best of all would be one that has a notepad clip on the outside surface, so you can use it like a clipboard. And a handle.

Pack it with smaller (anonymous) zippered containers (Bug Out Baglets?) so you can open the main one without arousing any interest or controversy. Pack whatever you feel is most necessary for your situation.

Maybe a leatherman tool, a small flashlight, a bottle of water, a spare set of keys, required medicine (if any), and a throwaway cell phone.

Plus whatever.

If you can get away with carrying a briefcase, all the better. More cubic.



Offline joeinwv

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Re: Preparedness at the office
« Reply #7 on: August 29, 2010, 10:21:07 PM »
I wear business attire daily and it does present some challenges. The leather day planner is a good place to start. This gives you storage space for small items: plain car key w/ no fob, swiss army knife, bic lighter, USB drive with important info. A ferro rod is about the size of 1/2 a pencil. You could probably fit a small 'altoids tin' survival kit as well.

Most office workers I know have a water bottle, thermos, granola bar, power bar, etc... I keep some basic kit in my desk, the real gear is in the Get Home Bag in the car.

With a little wardrobe planning, you can hide quite a bit on your person - I typically carry a pocket knife, neck knife, small pistol & spare magazine, phone, USB drive... I use Zebra F7 pens, which are all metal - to improve the geek factor, I swapped the internals for a Fisher space pen refill.

You could also look at using a laptop bag or similar as a way to store some additional gear. I don't think I could get away with something like a Maxpedition bag at my office.



Offline OKGranny

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Re: Preparedness at the office
« Reply #8 on: August 29, 2010, 11:32:24 PM »
Going to conference rooms, etc for meetings does present some definite drawbacks but I'm assuming you live in the bay area where a big quake is actually very likely to happen again. I think the zippable day planner is a great way to go and not look so obvious. It's amazing what you can stuff in an altoids tin and you could easily put one or more of those in a day planner. If you were to become trapped and couldn't get to your muster area food and water and aspirin or some sort of pain killer would be great. I'm another one that always took my purse but that was because it had my epi pen and other allergy medicine so people were used to me always having it.

Offline paleo_prep

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Re: Preparedness at the office
« Reply #9 on: August 31, 2010, 11:53:40 PM »
Yep, @OKGranny, I do indeed live in the San Francisco Bay Area!

So in the weeks since I originally posted, I assimilated everyone's excellent suggestions, and here's what I've come up with:

At all times, I have either a small wallet-on-a-string with me and/or a zippered leather portfolio with a large zippered external pocket. The wallet-on-a-string has (obviously) cash, ID card, car key, and a small swiss-army-style knife. The larger portfolio has plenty of room for a regular swiss-army knife, my phone, and my car key when I don't have my wallet with me (my car key is one of those big ol' RF thingymabobs). I like the suggestion of including an Altoid's container with various other handy items, and it will fit splendidly into the exterior zippered pocket of the leather portfolio. I'm looking forward to assembling it this weekend!

The car, not surprisingly, is where I stash my main go-bag, so keeping that car key with me is pretty vital. I just wish it weren't so darn bulky!

Thanks again, ladies!   :)


Offline bartsdad

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Re: Preparedness at the office
« Reply #10 on: September 01, 2010, 01:00:57 AM »
Parking.

Where do you park? Is it in a ramp attached to your work building, a detached ramp, a secure lot, or public/street parking?

I ask because the level of emergency may inhibit access to your car. An attached ramp offers convenience and normally an added level of security, but in a fire or bomb scare, they may also be locked down during a building evacuation. This has happened to my wife a few times so I know it is a possibility. Public/ street parking offers less security, but generally gives you more access and egress in the event of emergency.

Offline Docwatmo

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Re: Preparedness at the office
« Reply #11 on: September 01, 2010, 07:49:40 AM »
I've often wondered about street vs ramp parking and I think I would choose the street myself.  If my stuff is stolen, I can replace it, if I can't get to it when I need it, its useless.  The chances that its stolen are probably minimal.

Just my 2 cents

Offline paleo_prep

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Re: Preparedness at the office
« Reply #12 on: September 01, 2010, 09:00:08 AM »
Where do you park? Is it in a ramp attached to your work building, a detached ramp, a secure lot, or public/street parking?

Ah, the parking situation is a bit weird. My campus is a government facility, so we are surrounded by a large fence. I have two options: I can park inside the security fence and be right next to my building (I do this 99% of the time), or I can park outside the security fence and access the area via a badge-controlled security gate (it's one of those gates that turns on a vertical spindle and is sized for humans, not vehicles). I agree: being next to my building allows me easy access to my car (and go-bag), but if there was ever a security lockdown, I'd be stuck. Conversely, parking outside would "free" my car (in theory; however, there is a secondary guard gate, as well!), but I worry that in case of a power outage *and* a security lockdown, I still couldn't access the vehicle.

Man, it's crazy, all the issues that come to light when examined from a preparedness perspective....

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Re: Preparedness at the office
« Reply #13 on: September 01, 2010, 09:36:15 AM »
I think wandering over to the EDC Board might give you some other ideas of what others think is important to never go without.  For me, light is critical, so every zipper pull on my coats has a squeeze light, I have another on my keychain, and I have a large 4D cell flashlight in my desk along with a headlamp.  As for car keys, besides always trying to have mine on me, I have a spare duct taped to my rear axle.  That way I don't have to worry about losing my keys, so long as I can get to my car.  I keep a solid get home bag in the car that I'm in the process of upgrading since my commute just went from 21 miles to 31 miles with a recent move.  That means I need an additional days worth of food and water purificaiton (I can actually walk along streams almost the whole way home, so I only carry 3 quarts in my pack (with an additional gallon in the car)). 

Other items that seem worthy of considerations for EDC would be pepper spray, a leatherman tool (prefer it over a swiss army knife because of the wire cutters and plyers), physical copy of all important phone numbers in a number 4 font on a business card (cell batteries die, but you may still want those numbers), and some kind of protection from the elements (space blanket, disposable poncho, or just a large garbage bag).

Remember, too, that landmarks you're used to navigating by now may not be there after a severe earthquake.  Try to start learning some alternative landmarks to street signs, highway overpasses, and tall buildings.  If they're all on the ground, you'll still want to be able to figure out what direction to go to get home.  Think about following rivers, ridgelines, and using hills and streams for landmarks.  They're less likely to change position.

Most gates on parking lots are breakaway so fire departments can drive through them in an emergency.  You might scratch your car, but I wouldn't worry about your car being trapped unless you're looking at something that looks like what they use for Embassy security in foreign countries.  In that case, your car may still be trapped, but you will still be likely be able to retrieve your get home bag/BOB.

Offline paleo_prep

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Re: Preparedness at the office
« Reply #14 on: September 02, 2010, 10:53:36 PM »
Thanks for still more great info, @endurance. I am embarrassingly weak on my get-home navigation, so I will spend some time this holiday weekend checking out evac routes in more detail. Oh, and I examined the fence around the parking area, and it does indeed have two breakaway zones. I can definitely live with a few (or many!) car scratches if need be!