Safety Corner

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Emergencies in the Workplace

OCCK Risk Management has developed this guide to assist in helping you prepare and respond to emergency events in our workplace.  It was designed to complement other emergency planning/response documents, namely, the OCCK Fire Prevention and Emergency Operations Plan.

Emergency Response

 The first priority in an emergency is the safety of all people present.  Raise the alarm. If you need to evacuate yourself or others, do so immediately. If you need to call emergency services, call them as soon as possible after ensuring the safety of all people present. If you can do so safely, follow the steps on the page in this flipchart that deals with your emergency or has the information you need. Follow the instructions for that emergency.

  • Important Emergency Contacts and Communication

    Call 911 to report any emergency                              Poison Control Center 1-800-222-1222

    Safety & Security                                                       Facilities, Operations & Management
    (785) 309-2466 – office                                             (785) 820-1223 Salina
    (785) 829-8587- mobile                                           (785) 738-8969 Beloit/Concordia
    (785) 452-8800 after hrs.

    Environmental, Health & Safety                                 Public Relations
    (785) 309-2466 – office                                         (785) 827-9383 President/CEO
    (785) 829-8587- mobile


    • (785) 826-1583 – office
    • (785) 826-0454- after hrs.

    When calling emergency services:

    • Call from a safe place. Use a cordless or mobile phone if practical, away from any flammable liquids or gases.
    • Tell the operator which emergency service you want and give the following information:
      Your Name, Company Name            Location/Nearest intersection, cross street or  landmark:
      Phone number                                     Nearest city/town:
    • Let emergency services know if chemicals or hazardous substances are involved.
    • Do not hang up until the emergency service tells you to do so.
    • Make sure someone is available to direct the emergency service to the scene.
  • Fire

    How you react in the event of fire depends on how well you have prepared for a fire emergency. Therefore, it is important you become familiar with the actions, evacuation routes and other fire emergency procedures as outlined in the OCCK’s Emergency Plan.


    • Know what the fire alarm sounds like.
    • Know the location of the fire alarm stations.
    • Know the closest exit and at least one other means of exiting out of the  building.
    • Leave the building immediately when the fire alarm is sounded.
    • Have a pre-designated meeting place for all those in your office/classroom.
    • Know who is not present for the day so that they can be accounted for at the designated meeting place.

    If you Discover Fire or Smoke

    • Sound the fire alarm to get everyone out of the building.
    • Only take essential personal possessions when leaving the building. Take  items such as car keys and handbags in case the building is shut down and you  are not able to re-enter the building.
    • Close all doors behind you to confine smoke and fire.
    • WALK!!! to the nearest exit. DO NOT USE ELEVATORS! Note: Individuals with  disabilities may need assistance.
    • Go to your department’s pre-designated meeting place at least 300 feet from  the building.
    • Dial 911.
    • Give your name, the name of the building and the location of the fire within the building.
    • Cooperate with emergency personnel. Follow all instructions  given.
    • Do not re-enter the building until you are told to do so by Fire Department Personnel and/or Department Head.

    If you hear the Fire Alarm – Remember RACE

    • Remove anyone from immediate danger
    • Activate the building fire alarm system and call 911
    • Confine the fire by closing all windows and doors
    • Evacuate.  Leave the building
      • Be prepared to help, direct, or move customers away from the building to the appropriate assembly area
      • After evacuation, proceed to designated assembly areas for roll calls


    Survive a Building Fire

    • Crawl If There’s Smoke
    • Feel Doors Before Opening
    • Go To The Nearest Exit
    • Always Use An Exit Stair, Not An Elevator
    • Close Doors
    • If you are on fire – Stop, Drop, and Roll
    • If You Get Trapped
      • Close the door
      • Seal cracks
      • Open the windows if safe
      • Signal for help and phone 911

     If You are Trapped in Your Office/Room

    • Wedge wet towels or cloth materials along the bottom of the door to keep  smoke out.
    • Try to close as many doors between you and the fire as possible.
    • Call 911 to notify CMU Police or the fire department of your problem and  location.
    • If you are trapped in an area and need fresh air, only break a window as a last resort.

    If You Catch on Fire

    DO NOT RUN!!!

    • STOP where you are,
    • DROP to the ground, and
    • ROLL over and over to smother the flames.

    If You are Physically Impaired

    • If you are disabled (even temporarily), you should do the following:
    • Look for “areas of refuge” like stair enclosures or other side of corridor fire doors. Elevators are not safe during fires. Sometimes it may be safer to stay in your room. Follow the advice for being trapped.
    • If there is an immediate threat to safety, ask others near you for assistance. If no help is available, seek refuge in a room with a window or stairway. If possible, call “911” to report your location and receive instructions from the Emergency Operator.


  • Tornado

    During adverse weather conditions, OCCK’s primary concern is the safety of  employees, customers and visitors.  During severe weather events such as thunderstorms, or tornados follow this guide.   For more details refer to the OCCK Emergency Action Plan.


    • Tornado Watch: Conditions are favorable for tornadoes.
    • Tornado Warning: A tornado has been spotted in the area and occupants  should seek shelter immediately.
    • Know the identified shelter area of your worksite, or as needed identify the appropriate place in your building to seek shelter should a  tornado occur – in the lower level of the building, in an interior room, with no windows (if possible).
    • Locate the weather radio (as equipped) and make sure that it has working batteries and is properly programmed.  Contact the Director of Risk Management if you need help programming the weather radio.
    • Before going outdoors, check the forecast for Consider postponing activities to avoid being caught in a dangerous situation. Look for signs of a developing thunderstorm such as darkening skies, flashes of lightning, or increasing wind, be aware of flooding conditions. Note – Your choice should be driven by your specific circumstances

    If a Tornado Warning is Issued

    If a tornado warning is issued in your area in your immediate area, it is time to activate the severe weather alarm/notification and initiate shelter in place protocols..  Community tornado sirens are another indication that a tornado warning has been issued in your area.

    • Immediately WALK to the designated tornado shelter area. The location of  the shelter in each building owned/operated by OCCK has been selected based on tornado  safety criteria. NOTE: Individuals with disabilities may need assistance.
    • If you are in a building you are unfamiliar with, go to the lowest level of the  building and find an interior area (e.g., interior hall, closet, or bathroom). Seek  refuge under a table or desk, kneeling face down with your hands covering  your head to reduce injury. If available, cover yourself with a coat or other  such material.
    • Avoid areas that have a large roof span that may collapse: auditoriums,  gymnasiums, etc.
    • Stay away from windows, glass, and unsecured objects such as filing cabinets   or bookcases.
    • Be sure to take your phone, and, if available a weather radio so you can receive information about the storm.
    • Remain in the safe area until you receive an “all clear” message from the  building emergency coordinator until the threat of severe weather has passed as communicated by the local authorities.

    If You are Outside When A Tornado Warning Is Issued:

    • If you are outdoors seek indoor shelter if possible.
    • If an indoor shelter is not available, lie flat in a ditch or low spot.
    • If you are on flat ground and are caught in the path of a tornado, always move at right angles to its path.

    If You Are Traveling When A Tornado Warning Is Issued:

    • If you can do so quickly, try to locate a shelter or sturdy building to shelter in.
    • If flying debris occurs while you are driving, pull over and park. Now you have the following options as a last resort:
    • Stay in your vehicle with the seat belt on. Put your head down below the windows, covering with your hands and a blanket if possible.
    • If you can safely get noticeably lower than the level of the roadway, exit your car, and lie in that area, covering your head with your hands.

    If You Are In A Public Place When A Tornado Warning Is Issued:

    • If you find yourself in a store, restaurant or similar type facility during a tornado/severe weather event, it is often best to stay put. The safest place to be is an underground shelter, basement, or safe room. If no underground shelter or safe room is available, a small, windowless interior room or hallway on the lowest level of a sturdy building is the safest alternative.
    • Use available information to assess the situation. Listen to the TV, the radio, or check the Internet for instructions.
  • Flooding

    During heavy thunderstorms, flash flooding can and does occur. Flash floods are dangerous but are often over very quickly.

     Stay Informed

    • Monitor local radio (including NOAA Weather Radio) television, internet, and social media for information and updates.

     Get to Higher Ground

    • Get out of areas subject to flooding and get to higher ground immediately.

     Obey Evacuation Orders

    • If told to by local authorities to evacuate, do so immediately. If you have time, disconnect utilities and appliances.

     Practice Electrical Safety

    • Don’t go into a basement, or any room, if water covers the electrical outlets or if cords are submerged. If you see sparks or hear buzzing, crackling, snapping or popping noises –get out! Stay out of water that may have electricity in it!

     Avoid Flood waters

    • Do not walk through flood waters. It only takes six inches of moving water to knock you off your feet.
    • If you are trapped by moving water, move to the highest possible point and call 911 for help.
    • Do not drive into flooded roadways or around a barricade; Turn Around, Don’t Drown! Water may be deeper than it appears and can hide many hazards (i.e. sharp objects, washed out road surfaces, electrical wires, chemicals, etc).
    • A vehicle caught in swiftly moving water can be swept away in a matter of seconds. Twelve inches of water can float a car or small SUV and 18 inches of water can carry away large vehicles.
  • Bomb Threat/Suspicious Parcel

    Bomb Threat/Suspicious Parcel

    Telephone threats can be received by any person at any time, but usually will be received byour main switchboard operator.   Mail bombs or bomb threats may be received by a number of means including standard mail, or package delivery service.

    If You Receive a Telephone Threat

    • Remain calm. Do not hang up on the caller. Try to let someone know you are on the phone with the caller. Ask someone to call the Police and notify the Area Manager or Director of Risk Management.
    • Keep the caller on the line as long as possible. Listen carefully.
    • Note the time of the call and telephone number it came in on, if applicable.

    Ask the caller the following questions:

    • Where is the bomb?
    • When will it explode?
    • What does the bomb look like?
    • What is your name and the motive for placing the bomb?
    • Are you an employee?
    • Write down any pertinent information such as background noises, gender of  caller, accents, and patterns of speech.
    • Call Police or notify your local authorities.

    If you receive a written threat of a bomb, or a suspicious parcel:

    • Remain calm.
    • Notify Police immediately by calling 911.
    • Do not attempt to open the package.
    • Do not place the article in water or a confined space such as a desk drawer.
    • Keep anyone from handling it or going near it.
    • Do not use portable radios or cell phones within 100 ft. of the package.
    • Evacuate the area immediately

    Remember to always err on the side of safety. If you feel that the parcel may indeed be an explosive device, calmly alert individuals in your area to leave quickly and quietly, and contact Police immediately at 9-1-1.  When you are safely outside contact the Director of Risk Management at (785) 829-8587.

  • Violence At Work

    OCCK is committed to protecting the health and safety of everyone by providing a working environment that is free of harassment, threats and acts of violence. In support of this OCCK will not tolerate any threat, direct or implied, or physical conduct by any person which results in harm to people or property, or which harasses, disrupts, or interferes with another’s work performance, or which creates an intimidating or hostile environment.

    Examples of Violence in the workplace:

    • Physical assault and/or threat.
    • Stalking or continuous harassment of another causing terror, fear, worry, or intimidation.
    • Actions aimed at disrupting or sabotaging OCCK operations.
    • Indirect threats such as, “I know where you live.”

    If you are confronted by a violent person

    • Try to maintain a calm demeanor.
    • Try to stay at a safe distance. Survey your surroundings for escape routes. Try to get the attention of a co-worker so they can call 911.
    • If the violent person talks to you, speak as clearly and as confidently as you can.
    • Avoid challenging or debating with the person.
    • Avoid confrontation with the violent person unless you feel your life or the lives of others are in danger. If you feel there is immediate danger, you’ll have to decide what is best to do. This may include fighting or fleeing.
    • Think about the violent incidents you’ve heard about in the media. Learn from the responses or lack of responses of the victims.
    • Think about what your options would be if you were placed in a situation of violence. Thinking about your options ahead of time and discussing them with others may help you make better decisions under terrifying circumstances.
    • Try to calm the threatening individual.
      • Listen to the individual and let them do most of the talking.
      • Use delaying techniques to give the individual the opportunity to calm down.
      • Acknowledge the person’s feelings.
      • Be respectful and empowering.
      • Be reassuring and point out choices.

    Do Not

    • Upset the individual with communication that generates hostility.
    • Reject all the person’s demands from the start.
    • Use body language or speech that challenges the individual.
    • Make sudden movements.
    • Belittle, criticize or agitate the person.
    • Make false statements or promises.

    If you are involved in a violent incident:

    • Notify Police immediately at 911
    • Advise the dispatcher of the following:
    • Your name, location, and description of what happened
    • If there are injuries, determine the extent of the injuries
    • If a weapon is involved
    • If a threat still exists
    • If the perpetrator is still in the area
    • A description of the attacker and direction of flight
    • Report any violent incidents to your supervisor/department head and the Director of Risk Management
    • Seek medical attention as required

    If you witness violent behavior:

    • Move to a safe area. Report the threat to authorities and your supervisor immediately.

    Active Shooter

    The following guidelines can apply to any hostile intruder/active shooter situation; in the OCCK building or in the public. Remember, your safety and the safety of our customers come first.

    No heroics:

    • If you are not directly involved, stay well away from the scene.
    • If you are involved, try to remain calm, evaluate the situation, then take action based on the circumstances.
    • Communicate and alert others to the situation. Use email, intercom, telephone.
    • Call 911. Give them your name and location, and apprise them of the situation. Provide the dispatcher with organization name, address, and your name and describe the situation Include details and whether dangerous weapons/firearms are involved and any other pertinent information.

    If the shooter is inside your building and you can escape:

    • Do so by the nearest exit or window, stay low. Notify anyone you encounter to exit the building immediately.
    • Evacuate to a safe area away from the danger, and take protective cover.
    • If you get out of the building and do not see a Police Officer, phone 911 immediately.

    If you are unable to escape the building:

    • Hide/take cover if you can’t evacuate. Lock doors, use barricades, or anything you can to put substantial barriers between you and the hostile party.
    • Turn off the lights
    • Stay away from windows and doors.
    • Silence mobile phones.
    • If possible, call 911 and let them know where you are. If you cannot speak, leave the line open so the Police can hear what’s going on.

    If you are hiding and flight is impossible:

    • Take evasive maneuvers – yell, and throw things to distract or disrupt the intruder.
    • Playing dead may also be a consideration.
    • As a last resort, as you feel able, take action against the individual to incapacitate or disable the individual
    • Do not attempt to apprehend or interfere with the criminal except for self protection.
  • Earthquake

    When shaking is felt

    • Drop under a desk, table, or stairwell or move against an interior wall.
    • Cover your head with your arms.
    • Stay away from big windows, shelves, or tall room partitions.
    • Remain under cover and hold on until the movement subsides.

    When shaking stops

    • Evacuate the building. Do not use elevators for evacuation. Assemble at your designated area; wait for instructions from emergency personnel.
    • Designated personnel should assist individuals with mobility disabilities to a safe location, e.g., an enclosed stairwell landing with a ground level exit to the exterior or, if obstructed, an office space with a door.
    • Look for trapped or injured people and ruptured utilities as you proceed to your designated assembly area.
    • Report missing persons and ruptured utilities to emergency personnel immediately.
    • Provide CPR and first aid to seriously injured people, if you have been trained.
    • Do not re-enter the building until authorized to do so by emergency response personnel.

    If you are outside when shaking is felt

    • Get to an open area away from trees, buildings, and power lines.

    If you are in a vehicle when shaking is felt

    • Pull to the side of the road away from underpasses, bridges and buildings.
    • Remain in the vehicle until the shaking stops. Do not leave the vehicle if a power line has fallen on or near it.

    In case of contact with BLOOD, BODILY FLUIDS, or INFECTIOUS AGENTS:

    An exposure means a specific eye, mouth, or other mucous membrane, non-intact skin or contact exposure with blood or other potentially infectious materials.

    If you are exposed:

    • Immediately WASH area with antibacterial soap and running water or eye wash for 15 minutes.
    • FLUSH mouth, nose, or eyes for 15 minutes if blood is splashed on mucous membranes.
    • NOTIFY your supervisor.
    • REPORT the incident to the Director of Risk Management
    • REQUEST blood testing and Hepatitis B vaccination.

    Universal precautions

    Minimize your exposure by wearing gloves, splash goggles, pocket mouth-to-mouth resuscitation masks (for CPR), or other barrier devices.

    Response to blood/bodily fluid spills (Trained Personnel Only)

    • Wear appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
    • Carefully cover the spill with an absorbent material, such as paper towels, to prevent splashing.
    • Decontaminate the area of the spill using an appropriate disinfectant. When pouring disinfectant over the area always pour gently and work from the edge of the spill towards the center to prevent the contamination from spreading out.
    • Wait 10 minutes to ensure adequate decontamination, and then carefully wipe up the spilled material.
    • Disinfect all mops and cleaning tools after the job is done.
    • Dispose of all contaminated materials appropriately.
    • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water immediately after the clean-up is complete.
  • Chemical / Hazardous Materials Release Incident

    Exposure to Personnel

    • If it is safe to do so, remove contaminated victim(s) from area.
    • Call 911 for immediate medical attention, or if chemical release threatens others.
    • In extreme circumstances, activate the fire alarm, and evacuate the building.
    • Remove contaminated clothing
    • Administer first aid as appropriate.
    • Notify Director of Risk Management.
    • Provide information, including Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) to emergency responders.

    Contamination of Equipment/Facilities

    • If a spill/release is an immediate threat to anyone’s health, call 911.
    • Restrict access to avoid exposure or spread of contamination.
    • Do cleanup only if you feel it is safe to do so, you are familiar with the material, and you are properly trained and equipped.
    • If needed, request cleanup assistance from Building and Grounds at (785) 452-8800.
    • If material is biological, see “Exposure to Blood or Other Potentially Infectious Materials.”

    Release to the Environment (Air, Water, Soil)

    • If safe to do so, stop the release. Notify your supervisor, Building and Grounds (785) 452-8800)  and the Director of Risk Management at (785) 829-8587.
    • Follow steps above for contamination of equipment/facilities.
  • Injury

    Prior to administering First Aid and CPR, one must be aware of potential exposure to Bloodborne Pathogens and Infectious Diseases. Blood and other body fluids may be infected with germs that can spread diseases such as Hepatitis B/C or HIV/AIDS. Germs enter another person through broken skin (cut, scratches, etc.), mucous membranes, and punctured skin (needles/sharp objects).

    First aid determination

    • If you are the first responder to a medical emergency or accident, look around where the victim is located before giving first aid.
    • Determine if you can respond in a way that is safe for you and the victim. Look for:
      • Visible clues
      • Medical Alert Tags
      • Bystanders or Other Victims
    • Consider possible safety hazards from electricity, falling objects, vehicular traffic, etc. If the situation is dangerous, wait for Paramedics or the Fire Department to respond.
    • Verify that Emergency Responders 9-1-1- have been called.

    Administering First aid/CPR

    • If safe to take initial action:
      • Tell the victim your name and that you are there to help.
      • Attempt to determine the extent of injury.
    • Check for ABC’s
      • Airway Open
      • Breathing
      • Check for Pulse
    • Implement CPR if trained and if the situation calls for it, using appropriate protections (see Universal Precautions).
    • Do Not Move the victim unless located in a dangerous area.

    Universal Precautions

    Always use barriers when responding to a First Aid situation. Use gloves, rescue breathing shields, masks, goggles, plastic wrap, bags, or clothing to protect yourself.

  • Shelter in Place

    Shelter-in-place means to seek immediate shelter inside a building. This action may be taken during a release of hazardous materials to the outside air, a tornado or other emergency.

    If you are ever advised to shelter-in-place:

    • Stay inside and ask customer to stay inside too.
    • Isolate yourself as much as possible from the external environment.
    • Shut all doors and windows. Locking windows provides a tighter seal.
    • Seal cracks around doors and windows as best as possible (e.g., with duct tape).
    • Monitor all available communications.
    • Have an AM radio for emergencies and tune to local station for more information.

    Do not call 9-1-1 unless you have any emergency that requires immediate response.

  • Be Prepared for Emergencies at Work

    Click here to access OCCK Emergency Action and Fire Prevention plans and procedure

    Emergency Communication – Work

    Keeping employees safe during an emergency event is top priority. One of the tools used by OCCK is the Emergency Messaging System OCCK Alert. OCCK Alert is a powerful tool that helps the organization provide urgent messaging to employees as well as account for employees during an event. It is critical for all employees to regularly verify and update contact information.


    Personal Contact Information

    • Primary and Secondary home phone numbers
    • Email address

    Click on this link to update/complete your OCCK Alert Contact Form

    Business Continuity – Staffing and Work Assignments

    In an emergent situation, it may become necessary to temporarily change an employee’s job duties, work assignments, and the location in which the duties are performed. The department management will use their discretion to determine what work each employee will perform during the periods when normal operations are interrupted.

    Reporting To Work

    Attendance of employees is critical to OCCK’s ability to provide services and maintain operations. Each departmental emergency response plan includes expectations for reporting to work when an Emergency Operations Plan is activated. Employees may be required to report to work in their home department or be reassigned to perform work in other areas based on the needs of the organization. Employees unable to report to work as scheduled will be required to utilize appropriate time off accruals.

    Call-in Procedure

    Employees who are unable to report to work as scheduled are responsible for notifying the department of the absence in accordance with the departmental call-in procedure.

    It is possible that traditional methods of communication may not be readily available due to interruption of services.  Be sure to check with your supervisor/department head for alternative methods (e.g. text messaging, email) you may utilize to provide notification of absences or tardiness.

    Suspending Department/Unit Services

    Departments/Units may suspend services or close temporarily due to emergency situations.  Employees may be assigned to the Emergency Operations Center Labor Pool as needed.

    If a department chooses to operate with a “skeletal staff” to suspend services, employees may use their accrued time off to supplement any non-worked hours to complete their schedule.  Upon receiving notification that departments/unit services previously closed have resumed services, assigned employees are expected to be available to report to work as scheduled.

    Reporting a Work Related Injury/Illness

    Employees with a work related illness or injury will follow the Occupational Accident and Injury policy.

    • During activation of the Emergency Operations Plan, employees should call their acting supervisor, then contact the Telephonic Injury Triage Center 1-800-775-5866 to be directed to the appropriate location for treatment and instructions for appropriate actions to take regarding care, treatment, and returning.
    • More information can be obtained by accessing Occupational Health and Injury Procedures by clicking here.

Emergency Preparedness at Home

  • Be Prepared for Emergencies at Home

    Emergencies that affect us at work can also affect us at home.  Even if your family is not directly affected by a disaster, you may be asked to work longer hours or called in to work if a disaster affects OCCK operations/locations.  Make sure that your family is taken care of by developing a home emergency response plan.

    We ask each employee to be responsible and prepared by having a Family Disaster Plan in place ahead of time in order to respond to the needs of your family, this organization and our community.  Tools to help create a family disaster plan are available in this document (see links).

    Create a Family Emergency Plan

    Make sure that your family has a plan in case of an emergency. Before an emergency happens, sit down together and decide how you will get in contact with each other, where you will go and what you will do in an emergency. Keep a copy of this plan in your emergency supply kit or another safe place where you can access it in the event of a disaster. Click here for link to help you create your  Family’s Emergency Plan

    Have the Right Emergency Supplies

    An emergency could happen at any time and it’s important to be prepared. The checklist below will help you to prepare and consider what you would need for basic survival. Click here for link to help you create/stock the right emergency supplies.  Emergency Supplies

    Create Your Family Emergency Communication Plan

    A big part of any family emergency plan is knowing how to communicate and connect with your loved ones before, during and after an emergency.   Mobile phones and computers could be unreliable during disasters, and electricity could be disrupted. Planning in advance will help ensure that all the members of your household know how to reach each other and where to meet up in an emergency.   Planning starts with three easy steps:

    1. Collect – Create a paper copy of the contact information for your family and other important people/offices such as medical facilities, schools, or service providers.
    2. Share – Make sure everyone carries a copy. Put it in your purse, backpack, or wallet.  Click here for a printable wallet sized emergency contact card.  Also post a copy in a central location in your home that everyone knows about.
    3. Practice – Have regular household disaster meetings and review and practice your plan.


  • Dealing with Stress during an Emergency

    If you have problems coping with the additional stress that arises during an emergency, help is available:

    The Employee Assistance Program is available to OCCK employees and their immediate family.  They are there to help assist employees or family members who are experiencing disruption in their lives that affect them emotionally and/or physically.  All communication with the program is strictly confidential and assistance is provided free of charge.  Contact the support line at TMHC 1-800-999-1196.

  • Additional Resources