National Preparedness Month in September is an opportune time to review how well your employer is prepared for emergencies.
A recent state comptroller's report found that the State Education Department failed to adequately monitor whether schools are in compliance with fire safety regulations and accurately report all violations. A review of several public and private schools revealed that many did not complete required fire drills; that plans did not include evacuation of persons with disabilities; and many schools had partially blocked access to exits — a violation.
Hazards take many forms. Hurricane season runs June 1 to Nov. 30, with the peak time being mid-August to late October. Flu season starts in October. Preparing for potential hazards to both people and buildings should be included in effective emergency planning.
Make sure your local union is involved in your employer's emergency planning. To get more information about preparedness, visit www.ready.gov/.
Also contact your NYSUT labor relations specialist to find out the specific requirements for your sector (K-12 schools, higher education, etc.).
— Wendy Hord