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Visa Staff Prepare For Emergencies Anytime, Anywhere

December 2015

More than 2,500 staff participate in drills and workshops, build emergency kits, and sample food from the emergency pantry

Visa employees participated in a preparedness marketplace at its Foster City, CA headquarters during its two-day PrepareAthon!Visa employees participated in a preparedness marketplace at its Foster City, CA headquarters during its two-day PrepareAthon!

Visa Inc., the global payments technology company, makes the safety of its staff and their families a top priority; this includes preparing them for a disaster or hazard wherever they may be.

On September 16–17, 2015, Visa hosted an event at its Foster City, CA headquarters, in collaboration with America’s PrepareAthon!SM, during which more than 2,500 staff joined millions of Americans in participating in preparedness activities around the country.Visa Inc., the global payments technology company, makes the safety of its staff and their families a top priority; this includes preparing them for a disaster or hazard wherever they may be.

“Visa staff safety is our number one priority, so we’re continually looking for creative and engaging ways to ensure they are prepared for any emergency – whether at work or at home,” said Liz Granger, Vice President of Visa’s Global Business Continuity program. “Partnering on this event with a high-visibility organization like FEMA brought a lot of attention to take preparation seriously. We look forward to expanding future efforts and bringing these type of activities to more and more Visa employees.”

“Visa’s PrepareAthon! inspired me to refresh my family preparedness plans and restock emergency supplies.” —Visa employee

With support from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), a cross-functional taskforce, including Global Business Continuity, Facilities and Physical Security collaborated to launch the Emergency PrepareAthon at Visa.
 

 

Taking Preparedness to Market
The Emergency PrepareAthon at Visa allowed staff to participate in numerous activities that bolstered their preparedness knowledge. Highlights include:

  • Purchasing emergency supplies from a special preparedness marketplace comprising nearly 20 vendors;
  • Meeting local and national preparedness agencies and emergency personnel, including the police and fire departments and SWAT team;
  • Creating more than 100 personal family and pet emergency plans, as well as a preparedness marketplace where staff could purchase emergency supplies; and
  • Signing up more than 100 new members to the Visa emergency response team, thereby increasing its membership to 350.

“Visa embraces the concept of not only helping to prepare their business units for business continuity issues, but also taking great care of their staff during a crisis,” said Michael Cummings, Private Sector Liaison for FEMA Region IX and the Department of Homeland Security.

Visa’s “Recipes for Disaster” cookbook included meals such as Frito pie, candied sweet potatoes, and "Troubled Times trifle."Visa’s “Recipes for Disaster” cookbook included meals such as Frito pie, candied sweet potatoes, and "Troubled Times trifle."

Thinking Outside the Box – and the Trunk!
To inspire attendees to think outside the box when stocking their pantries with emergency food items, Visa’s chef created more than 1,000 tasty treats from the “Recipes for Disaster” cookbook – made entirely from emergency food supplies.

Beyond emergency food supplies, the taskforce also wanted a visual aid to help staff understand what they would need at home, at work, and in their vehicles. So they set up three displays in their main lobby to showcase emergency supplies they should have on hand.

“We parked a car on a patio right outside the lobby and popped the trunk,” said Pam Thomas, Facilities Program Manager at Visa. The car caught the attention of passersby, who could look inside the trunk to see which emergency supplies they, too, should have in their car.

The team also set up sample cubicle and living room spaces to highlight the supplies to have readily available home and work. Supply checklists were displayed at each station, so staff would have handy reminders that could prompt discussions at home.

Continuing the Momentum

Attendees said Visa’s approach to preparedness outreach worked really well. “I collected great tips and checklists,” said one employee, “and talking with local safety organizations was a great way to learn how important it is to be prepared.” The company agrees, and already has plans to expand the event in 2016 to other Visa offices across the country.