With more than 60,000 employees operating in 80 countries at hundreds of locations, the Raytheon Company is a technology and innovation leader specializing in defense, civil government, and cybersecurity markets throughout the world. Recognized as a leader in business and community preparedness, the company makes ensuring the safety of its employees and their families across its locations, both in the United States and overseas, its first priority.
Massachusetts Chemical Explosion at Neighboring Facility Rocks Raytheon into Greater Action
On November 22, 2006, approximately 20 miles from the Raytheon facility in Tewksbury, MA, a massive chemical explosion destroyed the CAI/Arnel ink and paint manufacturing facility in Danvers, MA, and damaged nearly 100 homes in the surrounding area. Fortunately, the explosion occurred at night when the plant was unoccupied, and no one was injured. Although the incident didn’t impact any Raytheon facilities, it reminded the company of the importance of preparedness outside the workplace. Some of its employees lived near the plant, and the explosion destroyed one employee’s home and damaged another. Following the event, Robert Connors, Director of Preparedness, initiated a conversation with his staff on how Raytheon can better prepare its employees for future disasters – at work, on travel, and at home.
Raytheon employees travel often, whether it’s a day trip, extended temporary duty, or relocation. In all those situations, it can be a challenge to have them think about preparedness. However, using an all-hazards approach, Raytheon ensures its employees understand that no matter where they are, they need to understand local hazards. “Someone who moves from New England to California will be used to winter weather, but they might not know how to prepare for earthquakes,” said Connors. “We need to make sure they understand the threats and how to be ‘crisis ready’ at home, at work, and on travel.”
The Raytheon team developed partnerships with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Community Emergency Response Teams, and other local, state, and Federal agencies. Connors added, “Complacency and denial are headwinds that we face when trying to promote preparedness. National Preparedness Month allows us to leverage the materials put together by FEMA and enable the public and private sectors to jointly focus on making our Nation more resilient.”
Keeping 13,000 Employees Prepared On-the-Go
For National Preparedness Month, in September 2015, Raytheon launched its annual campaign in collaboration with America’s PrepareAthon!, joining the millions of people who participated in registered preparedness activities across the Nation. According to David Trout, a preparedness and crisis management lead at Raytheon’s Integrated Defense Systems’ business in Tewksbury, MA, the focus of the campaign was to create “a solid foundation of messaging and resources to increase employee preparedness and awareness.”
At Raytheon’s Integrated Defense Systems’ facilities in the U.S. and Canada, nearly 13,000 employees participated in the campaign. Under the supervision of local preparedness managers, employees at each facility took the following three key preparedness steps:
- Updated their personal information for emergency alerts and important company communications;
- Educated themselves about severe weather and violence in the workplace, such as by an active shooter; and
- Reviewed the Employee Emergency Action Plan to make sure they know what to do if a disaster strikes.
To support its enterprise-wide crisis management and incident response, Raytheon created a mobile app with checklists and contact lists for responding to different hazards.
Capitalizing on Employee Interest with Community and Internal Partners
Trout and his colleagues in Tewksbury led a preparedness workshop with local law enforcement and fire officials, as well as representatives from the American Red Cross, to engage employees in conversations about preparedness. Across Tewksbury and other facilities, Raytheon’s preparedness staff partnered with the company’s Security Department to provide workplace violence education; the Employee Assistance Program to distribute literature focusing on preparedness, safety, and wellness; and the Disability Employee Resource Group to distribute resources about caring for individuals with functional needs in an emergency.
Raytheon’s staff keeps up the momentum by making additional trainings available and conducting live drills to keep people from becoming complacent again. “We’re very concerned about our employees being crisis ready,” said Connors. “Something is going to happen somewhere, and everyone should leverage the resources available to be prepared before it does.”