Emergency planning and disaster recovery have been on people's minds this week as we deal with and prepare for COVID-19. In Seattle, where the first deaths from the coronavirus in the US have occurred, stations are looking out for their staffs while trying to provide vital service to their community. Here is what one station is telling their staff:
Minimizing Exposure in our Offices
We are following the recommendations about minimizing exposure to the COVID-19 virus provided by the CDC and the King and Tacoma-Pierce County Health Departments. You are encouraged to read this information in depth. From these sources, here are the steps you can take to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other viruses:
- Stay home while you are sick and avoid close contact with others. Employees who can work from home should absolutely do so if they are not feeling well or need to provide care for someone else. (More on this below).
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If not available, use a hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid contact with people who are sick.
- Cover your mouth/nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing, and throw the tissue away. Use your sleeve when a tissue is not readily available.
- Try to use your sleeve or a handkerchief when using public door knobs, elevator buttons, etc. Refrain from shaking hands when possible (try a fist bump, or my new favorite greeting method)
The coronavirus is most dangerous for people with compromised immune systems or with other underlying health issues. If you feel you are in this category, *and* you feel comfortable sharing this information (in confidence), it will help to formulate specific plans to accommodate your needs.
If you begin to feel sick at work, we ask that you notify your manager and leave for home as soon as possible.
We will communicate separately about specific plans for on-air staff, including possible options for cleaning studio equipment (we are researching the best methods for cleaning microphones and boards without damaging them - see below).
A few steps we're taking:
We'll have more communication about steps we're taking later this week, including answers to questions we've received about studio sessions, public events, the Spring fund drive and how we will work together if many of us can't come into the office.
- We have purchased sanitizing wipes for both locations, and they will be placed throughout the office. We recommend using these for routinely cleaning your personal workspace, as well as frequently touched surfaces in common areas (countertops, conference room & kitchen tables, doorknobs, etc.). Please do not use these wipes to clean microphones, sound boards or other broadcasting equipment until you hear from us as they can be damaged if we don't do this properly.
- Bottles of hand gel are available in every studio and distributed throughout both our offices, and we are restocking our supply of tissue paper. If you have any other suggested cleaning items that you think we need, please review the supply ordering form and add items as necessary.
- We have confirmed with the janitorial services that they are increasing their focus on daily cleaning of door handles, surfaces in common areas, and other high-contact areas.
PRPD has been asked to create a respository of basic emergency plans from stations around the country as a resource for those who are developing their own plans. If you have a plan in place for how your department will function in an emergency situation or even just a summary version, it will be instructive to other programmers and content leaders around the country as they craft their own response plans. Please send your documents to firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the meantime, here are some resources that can help you as you think about your own response.
The FCC has good information HERE
FEMA has a basic template so you can use to begin your own planning HERE
The CDC also has a guide for creating your own plan HERE