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Q&A: Better Emergency Preparedness on the Plant Floor

Ray White, Federal Signal's director of Integrated Systems, discusses emergency preparedness challenges faced by manufacturers β€” both for incidents inside the company's four walls, such as a fire, and for natural events that could threaten a business.

Last month, Federal Signal, a designer and manufacturer of products and systems that aim to make emergency communications easier and more effective, released a survey outlining some of the major challenges that emergency preparedness professionals face daily, particularly in light of recent major natural events. In order to learn more about how these challenges are reflected within a manfuacturing company β€” both for incidents inside the company's four walls, such as a fire, and for natural events that could threaten a business β€” our sister property,, got in touch with Ray White, Federal Signal’s director of Integrated Systems. The survey has previously shown that the public simply isn’t aware of the importance of emergency preparedness? Is this reflected at all in a manufacturing setting?

Ray WhiteThough the general public at large may not take the initiative to prepare for an emergency as seriously as they should, I do believe most people in the manufacturing industry take the consequences of an emergency seriously. Nevertheless, it is true that businesses are more inclined to be prepared and have the necessary assets in place to deal with a possible emergency, whether it is a natural disaster such as a tornado, or man-made event such as a fire, explosion or toxic gas leak.

Unlike the general public, businesses β€” particularly large industrial and manufacturing facilities β€” have more clearly mandated responsibilities and readily defined liabilities. This includes everything from government regulations and directives to compliance with insurance mandates and guidelines. Just as important, the need to be prepared is tied directly to issues that can adversely affect profitability. In other words, businesses generally have a vested interest in making sure they can cope quickly and effectively with events such as power outages or chemical spills in order to limit possible harm to personnel and damage to facilities, and get production back on stream as quickly as possible.

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