Economic developers take on so many roles, chauffer, travel guide, tour leader, and often spending considerable time with strangers. Working with visiting prospects at short notice is actually the goal of many local and regional economic development programs. Combined with what are often small staffs and long distances, safety protocols is a topic that warrants attention.
I receive regular safety training as a real estate broker but have never had a safety briefing at any economic development meeting or conference, even though we often act in a similar capacity to realtors. Occasionally, we find ourselves at a meeting place, usually hosted by an employer, where the meeting agenda begins with a ‘safety briefing’. Discussing the locations of exits, preferred exit routes and potential hazards in an office environment makes an impression. Namely, that safety is integral to the culture of the meeting host, and their commitment to safety is articulated at the beginning of every meeting. Outside of our allies in the utilities, we doubt that many economic developers view safety as fundamental to their work and success.
This realization was the impetus for Creative EDC to develop and publish a Safety Guide specifically for the economic development profession. We debuted it at the recent Women’s Economic Development Network conference and received lots of positive feedback. Printed copies have been shared with area economic development associations as a public service to the industry in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia.
The brochure includes protocols and practices for your office as well as tips and reminders for solo site visits and travel.
You can view a web-optimized version or print-optimized versions here.
Creative EDC is committed to giving back to the profession and encourages each of you to raise and discuss the topic of safety at your next staff meeting. We found most veteran economic developers have a story or two to share of lessons learned, and every organization can brush up on best practices and protocols. Make safety a priority for your team, and make its priority known.
Top Safety Tips
- Stay alert and aware of your surroundings.
- Anticipate your exit route and park your car so that it cannot be blocked in.
- Park in well-lighted spaces.
- Keep your gas tank above half-full.
- Always lock your car and close the windows.
- Keep valuables out of sight in your car.
- Carry your car keys in your hand. They can be an effective weapon in case of an attack.