Emergency Preparedness Skills in Trades
Suppose that an emergency happened. Would you be prepared for it? For people in the trades, emergency preparedness skills are important for ensuring that the work can continue, while also keeping people safe.
Fires, floods, and other disasters can happen very suddenly, but preparation can help people to recover quickly. The first stage is to conduct a risk assessment to see where the dangers are. Getting input from the workers themselves is important so that they can highlight areas that still need extra preparation.
People in the trades have a special knowledge of what needs to be done after an emergency. They know how to restore electricity to communities that have lost power and other services for people who need them. Before a disaster happens, tradespeople need to plan how they will work to restore these services. Writing procedures down and identifying the roles for each person will help ensure that everyone knows what to do when the time comes to act. At this stage, people with good communication skills are important, since someone needs to gather the information and put it together in a form that is easy to understand and remember.
Tradespeople frequently work with hazardous materials, and they know how to deal with these kinds of substances. In emergencies, however, many other people can be exposed to hazards like radioactive material or sometimes other dangers such as asbestos, which used to be part of many buildings. If fires, floods, or earthquakes destroy the structure of buildings or power plants, someone must contain the materials and ensure that people are safe.
Being able to assess dangerous situations and to choose the right containment procedures is important. People in the trades learn these skills through their work in dealing with insulation and other potentially dangerous substances. However, a general knowledge is not always enough. People in the trades also need to study new types of hazardous materials and to work at improving their emergency preparedness skills whenever possible.
Organization is a key part of emergency preparedness. Within each company, tradespeople need to assign different tasks to people who can complete them so that no one will neglect those tasks in an emergency. Writing those procedures down is important so that people can study them without having to ask other people for the information. Regular drills to practice those skills can help the procedures to become automatic so that people can act quickly without having to stop and think about each step.
Part of this kind of preparation is learning how to help people who are injured or who have limited mobility. Knowledge of First Aid is important for taking care of people until help arrives, and assisting workers who are unable to get out of the building on their own is essential. Everyone should know the basics of First Aid and other procedures. However, designating a few people to take charge of these aspects of an emergency can help save valuable time.
Tradespeople who know emergency preparedness skills for their own workplaces also have the skills to help in larger emergencies that affect entire communities. Developing emergency preparedness and communications skills can be useful for many people in the trades.
Government of Canada. “Get Prepared.” https://www.getprepared.gc.ca/index-en.aspx.
Government of Canada. “Get Prepared: Make an Emergency Plan.” https://www.getprepared.gc.ca/cnt/plns/mk-pln-en.aspx.
Infrastructure Health & Safety Association. “Emergency Response Planning Overview.” https://www.ihsa.ca/pdfs/magazine/volume_16_Issue_2/emergency-response-planning-overview.pdf.
International Water Management Institute. “Before Disaster Strikes: Preparing for Complex Emergencies with Anticipatory Action.” https://www.iwmi.cgiar.org/2023/10/before-disaster-strikes-preparing-for-complex-emergencies-with-anticipatory-action/.
SafeCare BC. “Emergency Preparedness – What Employers Need to Know.” https://www.safecarebc.ca/2021/11/25/emergency-preparedness-what-employers-need-to-know/.