In last week’s RJWestmore Training System blog, we discussed the public awareness campaign offered by the International Code Council (ICC) each year to help individuals, families and businesses understand what it takes to create and sustain safe and sustainable structures. Celebrated every May, Building Safety Month reinforces the need for industry professionals to adopt modern, model building codes, a strong and efficient system of code enforcement and a well-trained, professional workforce. I also discussed the importance of making sure your canine’s doghouse is in good shape. Since this week’s theme is Disaster Safety and Mitigation, it’s worthwhile to continue the discussion.
No matter where you live and work, you and everyone in your family and circle of friends, professional colleagues and pets are at risk from natural disasters. Thankfully, there is also some good news. Despite the devastation created by now infamous recent earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes and wildfires give us pause; we are not powerless against these forces. When we learn from mistakes and take steps to prepare as well as help make sure other people learn how to prepare, respond and react, we can share in the miracle of human resilience. People can survive and communities can endure disasters. And they do so because of actions taken beforehand—with purpose, to make structures stronger and people and pets safer.
To make sure your family, friends, colleagues, tenants and pets are prepared for any natural disaster; follow these steps provided by FLASH (Federal Alliance for Safe Homes):
- Develop a family disaster plan that includes a list of food and water supplies needed for each member of your family and supplies for your pets. I suggest plenty of bacon for everyone to munch on during a disaster of any kind. Bacon makes everything better.
- Make copies of important documents like insurance policies, the deed to your home, and other personal papers, important phone numbers and a home inventory. Don’t forget about your pet’s records!
- Create a checklist of important things to do before, during and after a disaster. One of those should be to walk the dog. Just a suggestion…
- Review your evacuation route and emergency shelter locations with your family. Options for evacuation should include either staying with friends and relatives, seeking commercial lodging, or staying in a mass care facility operated by disaster relief groups in conjunction with local authorities.
- Taking shelter is critical in times of disaster. Sheltering in place is appropriate when conditions require that you seek protection in your home, place of employment, or wherever you are when disaster strikes.
For its part, the ICC has prepared a free downloadable PDF packet with 10 Tips to Remember for Disaster Safety & Mitigation. For details, click the link. Here is a summary:
- Develop a Family Action Plan.
- Create a Disaster Supply Kit.
- Stay tuned to Radio or TV news.
- Never attempt to cross a flowing stream. I’ve seen dogs rescue people who pull this kind of stunt. Scary stuff. Stay on the shore where it’s safe, people!
- In high wind or hurricane-prone areas, make sure windows and shutters are code-compliant.
- Secure lawn furniture and any loose outdoor items.
- If you live in an affected area, build or retrofit a tornado-safe room.
- Use surge protectors in home and offices.
- In wildfire prone areas, clear debris within 30 feet of the exterior of any structure.
- Before winter, insulate exposed water pipes outside of buildings.
When it comes to protecting your place of business, particularly if it is located in a high rise, the most important step you can take is to make sure your tenants are prepared. The RJWestmore Training System by Universal Fire/Life Safety Services helps commercial buildings with compliance to fire life safety codes. Our interactive, building-specific e-learning training system motivates and rewards tenants instantly! It’s a convenient and affordable solution to all of the training needs of your building(s).