ASSE members all practice in the traditional OSH space, but we sometimes forget that we can influence our communities' OSH issues. I believe that public safety is part of our broader domain, not necessarily industrial hygiene or occupational health, but certainly emergency response. The public is often the first line of defense in crisis situations.
My sleepy community of Orinda, CA (population 20,000, near Berkeley/San Francisco) experienced an increase in auto thefts and an armed robbery recently. Residents were concerned, so the Town Association decided to sponsor a public safety forum that included key civic, safety and public officials.
The forum began with crime, but integrated both fire prevention and earthquake readiness—all important to our residents' well-being, particularly in California. I was asked to moderate the public safety forum because I am a board member of the Town Association.
One resident (Susan Garrell, a producer) took segments of the forum and crafted an 18-minute video, Staying Safe In Orinda: Comprehensive Guidance From Orinda's Top Safety Officials, that includes many practical tips. It has been broadcast on local TV and several community organization websites include links to it. Many residents have purchased the devices mentioned in the video; others have pulled out seasoned checklists.
The bottom line is that those who have watched it feel better about their ability to take charge if necessary.
This outreach was successful in my community. I encourage other ASSE members to get involved on their respective home fronts as well.
Chris Laszcz-Davis, M.S., CIH, FAIHA, REPA, is president to The Environmental Quality Organization LLC, Lafayette, CA. She has more than 35 years' executive management, professional, operational, technical and consulting experience in OSH, environmental affairs, operational integrity, risk management, product stewardship/product quality, strategic planning, auditing and corporate acquisitions/divestitures. She is an AIHA Fellow, a Fellow of American Institute of Chemists, a member of NIOSH’s Board of Scientific Counselors and a member of ASSP’s Council on Professional Affairs.
Originally published March 29, 2017.