When disaster strikes, will you be prepared?


When disaster strikes, will you be prepared?

 Imagine it is 9 a.m. on a Tuesday in a busy downtown garage. Commuters are streaming in, and your front line staff are hurriedly assisting customers and parking cars to reduce the queue that is quickly forming around the block. Suddenly, the ground below you begins to vibrate. It’s an earthquake. What do you do?

Or perhaps it’s a Friday night in your city’s entertainment district. There’s a big name in town, holding a concert that just let out. You prepared with extra staff to help mitigate the large crowds. As the masses are making their way out of the concert venue, you hear what sounds like a gun shot. What do you do?
Are You Prepared?
Emergencies come in all different flavors—natural disasters, violent attacks, disease outbreaks, and your garden variety, everyday accidents. How prepared are you and your staff to respond to whatever may arise? 
Do you have a plan in place? Have you trained your staff to react? What steps have you taken to ensure the safety of your staff, your customers and other bystanders? Are you and your staff prepared to take the actions required by the situation? 
If you are unable to give an enthusiastic YES! to each of these questions, it’s time to put an action plan into place. 
Hope for the Best, Plan for the Worst
Often when we are afraid of something, we choose to ignore it. Be honest, have you ever avoided going to the doctor because you didn’t want to hear what she might tell you is wrong? I think at one moment or another we all have. But we also know this is a terrible decision. The same applies for emergency preparedness. 
Nobody wants to think about all the awful things that can go wrong, but if we don’t, when they do go wrong we find ourselves unable to act. The best way to react appropriately in any emergency situation, is to plan for it in advance. 
Developing emergency policies and procedures is the first step towards disaster preparedness. The second is training your team—your entire team. It is critical that each team member understands the policies in place and feels comfortable taking action. 
How do I Begin?
You are probably asking yourself a lot of questions by now. Does my organization have a plan like this in place? If so, is it any good? And, how do I know if it is any good? If not, how do I start the process from scratch? What do I need to include in a disaster plan? And, how do I train my staff?
NPA can help. At the NPA 2016 Convention & Expo, NPA will be holding an in-person skills certificate program on Emergency Preparedness. It will cover these questions and more. And, when you register for the program and complete all three courses, you will receive an Emergency Preparedness Certificate. 
NPA Emergency Preparedness Certificate Emergency Preparedness Policies and Procedures
Tuesday, September 19, 8-9 a.m.
Every night, you hear news of the latest crisis: terrorism, natural disasters, disease outbreak. Before an incident occurs, parking professionals must take action to prepare for emergency situations. 
In this course, you will learn:
how to develop an emergency preparedness plan;
essential elements of an emergency preparedness plan; and
resources to guide the planning process.
Active Shooter Incident Management
Wednesday, September 20, 8-9 a.m.
With the increase in incidents related to workplace violence, parking professionals need to be prepared to respond to active shooter situations. Don’t be caught off guard. Learn how to organize your staff to manage potential incidents.
In this course, you will learn:
actions to take when confronted with an active shooter; 
actions to take to prevent and prepare for potential active shooter incidents; and
how to manage the consequences of an active shooter incident.
Mitigating Risk in Emergency Situations
How can parking organizations learn to mitigate risk in emergency situations? This course will review case studies of incidents to demonstrate how parking managers can apply the lessons learned to better equip their staff to manage risk. 
In this course, you will learn:
how to decrease risk during special events; 
how to decrease risk in parking lots; and
how to decrease risk in parking garages.
Don’t Wait Until It’s Too Late
Just like waiting to go to the doctor, if you wait too long, it might be too late. Don’t wait until an incident has occurred before taking action. Prepare now so you can act later. 
Christina Garneski, CAE, is National Parking AssociationVice President of Marketing, Communications & Events. She can be reached at ChristinaGarneski@WeAreParking.org 
Article contributed by:
Christina Garneski
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