September is National Preparedness MonthSeptember is National Preparedness Month, an observance to raise awareness about the importance of preparing for disasters and emergencies that could happen at any time.

In 2023, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) began “a series of discussion-based activities to help public health departments develop 'whole community' plans that consider the impacts of social determinants of health on personal health preparedness and response”.

Preparedness encompasses being ready and having a plan for any type of emergency, be it health or safety, and can include natural disasters such as hurricanes, storms or floods.

Businesses are responsible for providing a safe and healthful workplace. In addition, “employers are required to protect workers from the anticipated hazards associated with the flood response and recovery operations that workers are likely to conduct,” according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) website. OSHA's role is “to assure the safety and health of America's workers”. OSHA at a Glance provides information on the strategies and programs OSHA uses to promote worker safety and health.

For Texas and Houston, specifically, National Preparedness Month includes being prepared for the natural disasters most likely to affect us, which include hurricanes and floods. However, National Preparedness Month encompasses readiness for any disaster, natural or otherwise.

United Tool and Fastener carries an array of products to enable you or your workers to be prepared for extreme weather or other emergencies, including first aid kits, flashlights, sun and heat protection, generators, personal safety equipment and bottled water.

Flood preparedness or hurricane preparedness is being ready and prepared for a natural disaster that can likely occur during our yearly Hurricane season, which lasts from June to November. However, disasters or emergencies can happen at any time. Therefore, businesses can help keep workers safe by creating emergency plans, including evacuation plans and having supply kits.

To prepare for extreme weather and other emergencies, and ensure worker safety,  preparations should include:

  An evacuation plan

  Knowledge of conditions that will activate the plan

  Emergency functions and who will perform them

  Specific evacuation procedures, including routes and exits

  Procedures for accounting for personnel, customers and/or visitors

  Equipment for personnel 

  An emergency supply kit kept in a shelter location

  Ensuring that all workers know what to do in case of an emergency

  Practicing evacuation plans and updating them on a regular basis

For additional information on preparing for emergencies, visit the CDC website or the Occupational Safety and Health Administration website. To learn more about the various emergency and safety kits and products UT&F carries, please contact a local UT&F showroom in Houston at 713-692-2323; in San Antonio at 210-495-8665; or College Station at 979-731-8665.