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Happy National Preparedness Month 2020

Every year, we update our crisis plan in order to prepare for unexpected events such as a disaster or large-scale emergencies. This is why September’s National Preparedness Month is so important. Although I think that every year, preparedness is important! This year, we have faced an unexpected global pandemic emergency forcing us all to think about how we can better prepare for such events.

Continue reading “Happy National Preparedness Month 2020”
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How to Cope with COVID-19 Burnout

Part 2 of a 2-Part Series

In a blog post we published earlier this month; we began a two-part series about overcoming COVID-19 burnout. Click here to read part one, which focused on ways to ease misgivings and regain a feeling of control by making disaster plans at home. The way I prefer to ease misgivings is by eating bacon. This week, we conclude the series by offering suggestions for overcoming Coronavirus burnout by developing disaster plans for high-rise buildings. 

Continue reading “How to Cope with COVID-19 Burnout”
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How to Avoid COVID-19 Burnout

COVID-19 Burnout TipsThe World Health Organization (WHO) has classified COVID-19 Burnout included in a class of “International Diseases.” I wish WHO would classify cat scratch fever as an international disease. WHO officials explain the definition and associated symptoms as follows: “COVID Burn-out is characterized by three dimensions:tired and sad doctor surgeon in depression is upset and holds his head. Medical error and professional burnout.

  1. Feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion;
  2. Increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one’s job; and
  3. Reduced professional efficacy; and
  4. Lack of bacon (Okay, I’ll admit I added that one.)

Continue reading “How to Avoid COVID-19 Burnout”

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Summer Food Safety

Bacteria And Germs On Vegetables

With a flood of media coverage and seemingly endless social media conversations about COVID-19 and racial unrest, it can be easy to get discouraged. In fact, in our last blog post, we covered the heavy mental health toll the pandemic and associated events have had on millions of people (and pets) around the world. But good things still happen. Life is still good. Bacon is still a thing. So, please allow us to encourage you to embrace the positive by focusing on something fun we all have in common – food! This summer, as you prepare to host intimate family barbecues (or larger gatherings on Zoom), take some steps to make sure the light summer fare you enjoy is safe and healthy. Continue reading “Summer Food Safety”

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COVID-19 & Mental Health

Handsome young man with curly hair and bear holding brain as mental health concept smiling happy pointing with hand and finger

 

Out of respect for those who are suffering as a result of COVID-19, I will refrain from using my usual firedog-isms in this post. Please #BeSafe and #StayHealthy.

As COVID-19 cases increase, most people are adapting to life in the “new normal.” Unfortunately, others are experiencing anxiety, fear, and depression. Millions of people are facing newfound emotions brought about by the pandemic. These result not just from Coronavirus symptoms and the lives lost. They also stem from social isolation caused by lockdowns, mask requirements, social distancing measures, severe economic downturn, and a break from normal routines. Continue reading “COVID-19 & Mental Health”

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Best Practices for Reopening a Business

Back to Work COVID-19 Reopening
National Safety Month Part 2

This blog features suggestions for safely reopening a business. It does not constitute legal advice. (After all; I’m not a lawyer. I’m a dog. In fact, I’m a virtual dog.)

Earlier this month, we started a two-part series marking June as National Safety Month. In part one, we focused on ways to keep people safe during a pandemic. To read the first entry in the two-part series, click here. This week, we conclude the series by focusing on best practices for reopening a business after the Coronavirus lockdown. I’m glad the lockdowns are currently behind us. I grow stir crazy spending all of my time in the doghouse. Continue reading “Best Practices for Reopening a Business”

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Happy National Safety Month

AdobeStock_339886712Part 1 in a 2-Part Series

As a result of the Coronavirus, workplace health and safety are top of mind for building owners and managers around the world. I think I speak for the rest of the dogs in the world. We are thinking more about bacon than COVID-19. In the United States, where the Allied Universal Fire Life Safety Training System is based, we observe National Safety Month each June. Even so, the National Safety Council reports that one worker is injured on the job every seven seconds. What’s more; emergencies can happen anytime, anywhere – not just in the workplace between the hours of 9 and 5. In years past, the awareness event shined a spotlight on safety-related topics such as mental health, ergonomics, building a safety culture, and driving. But perhaps more relevant this year is the focus on everyone’s minds – how to keep people safe during a pandemic. Continue reading “Happy National Safety Month”

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Happy Building Safety Month

AdobeStock_199481761For 40 years, the International Code Council (ICC) has celebrated advances in the construction of safe, sustainable, affordable and resilient buildings and homes each May, during Building Safety Month. Meant to raise awareness about building safety, this year’s campaign theme is Safer Buildings, Safer Communities, Safer World. I think they should also call attention to doghouse safety. As most buildings are currently shuttered due to COVID-19, the first week’s virtual events focused on: “Disaster Preparedness, Building Codes and America’s Response to COVID-19.” Week 2 will cover water safety. Week 3, Resiliency. Sustainability. Innovation. And Week 4: Training the Next Generation. Continue reading “Happy Building Safety Month”

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Great Time for Online Training!

Online Fire Life Safety Training Blog
Nationwide lockdowns associated with COVID-19 have driven millions to desktop computers, laptops, tablets and smartphones to pass the time. Personally, I prefer to pass the time watching animated dog movies. Chief among their digital pursuits is online training. At Allied Universal, we can confirm the upward trend relative to our own online fire life safety training. An influx of subscribers has started taking advantage of our training modules, which are available 24/7. Continue reading “Great Time for Online Training!”

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Happy Distracted Driving Month

Distracted Driving Dalmatian Cartoon
Since the nation is effectively locked down because of the Coronavirus, fewer vehicles will be on American roads in April 2020 than at any other time in modern history. Even so, April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month. I didn’t spend much time behind the wheel of a car even before COVID-19. It’s difficult to drive without opposable thumbs. Allow us to take advantage of this time of reflection to share the myriad reasons you should drive free from distraction when you are back on the open road (or before then – when you head to the store during the quarantine to stock up on toilet paper and hand sanitizer and dog treats). Continue reading “Happy Distracted Driving Month”

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Posted in BE SAFE, Computer Safety, Cyber Security, epidemics, Highly Infectious diseases, Uncategorized, Workplace Safety

Coronavirus Pandemic: Cybersecurity Implications

Dogs and Cats Social Distancing

To practice social distancing in light of COVID-19, and at the behest of their employers, millions of people are working remotely. Dogs and cats have been practicing social distancing for years! It’s great! Virtual environments come with perks, such as eliminating commutes, offering quality time with pets and providing easy access to snacks. I’m all for easy access to snacks in the real world, too. But the shift also begets copious cybersecurity threats. This is noteworthy because data breaches were already on the rise before the pandemic hit. According to a 2019 report, 7.9 billion records were exposed by data breaches in the first nine months of 2019. This figure is more than double (112%) the number of records exposed in the same period in 2018. Continue reading “Coronavirus Pandemic: Cybersecurity Implications”

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Coronavirus: What You Need to Know

Coronavirus Safety TipsIf you’re getting tired of hearing about the Coronavirus, you’re in good company. For the past several months, writers, news anchors and talk show hosts have been covering the topic ad nauseum. I’ve even heard it mentioned during the Twilight Bark. But, like it or not, the subject probably won’t likely disappear from headlines anytime soon. The most recent data available, on Worldometer, reports 77,272 people have been diagnosed with the illness, officially named Covid-19. The death toll stands at 2,250. What’s more, there are reports of canine strains. Continue reading “Coronavirus: What You Need to Know”

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Happy American Heart Month

Shaping Heart Healthy Month

Earlier this month, millions of people celebrated Valentine’s Day with chocolate candy and romantic meals. Personally, I prefer bacon to celebrate pretty much any holiday. And every 40 seconds this month (and every month thereafter), an American will suffer a heart attack. Although these events are seemingly unrelated, the American Heart Association (AHA) contends that lifestyle is the leading contributor to heart disease. Continue reading “Happy American Heart Month”

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Stalking Awareness

RJ Body ShotOut of respect for victims of stalking, I have refrained from using my usual “firedog-isms” in this post.

January 2020 marks the 16th Annual National Stalking Awareness Month (NSAM), a call to action to recognize and respond to the serious crime of stalking. Organized by the U.S. Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women (OVW), the campaign is extremely important  because, although most people have heard the term, few understand the serious nature and prevalence of stalking-related incidents in the United States. Continue reading “Stalking Awareness”

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Severe Weather Safety

Winter Weather Safety TipsA series of winter storms recently wreaked havoc on the Pacific Northwest. With heavy rain, wind and snow forecasted for the rest of the country, people will likely encounter floods, tornadoes, avalanches and mudslides in the weeks ahead. Apart from adequate disaster preparation, extreme weather could threaten public safety for man and beast. At the Allied Universal Fire Life Safety Training System, we care about your safety. So, we have prepared tips to help you manage winter weather. Continue reading “Severe Weather Safety”

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Posted in BE SAFE, Holiday Safety, Travel, Uncategorized

Holiday Travel Safety

Holiday Travel Safety PlaneMillions of people around the world will be traveling this holiday season. To promote safe passage, the folks at the Allied Universal Fire Life Safety Training System have assembled some tips to help wayfarers arrive at their destinations, whether they travel by land or air. As our holiday gift to you, we encourage you to follow these tips to improve your 2019 travel experience: Continue reading “Holiday Travel Safety”

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Happy Toy Safety Month

Toy Safety Tips Allied UniversalAccording to the National Retail Federation, the period between Thanksgiving and Christmas is typically the most popular time of the year for consumers to purchase toys. In fact, holiday sales account for 20-30 percent of annual retail sales each year. Unfortunately, however, far too many of toy purchases ultimately lead to emergency room visits. What’s more, some dog toys can injure pets. Continue reading “Happy Toy Safety Month”

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Happy Thanksgiving: Yay for Food Safety!

Food Safety Public HealthMillions of American humans will celebrate Thanksgiving on Thursday, November 28, 2019. While family traditions differ, nearly every festive gathering will include some type of food. And that’s what makes this holiday my favorite. Since unsafe handling and undercooking of food can lead to serious foodborne illness, keep your family and friends happy and healthy by paying attention to food safety. In addition to observing the tips we shared during National Food Safety Month in September, keep the following Thanksgiving-specific food safety issues in mind: Continue reading “Happy Thanksgiving: Yay for Food Safety!”

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Remember Alzheimer’s Awareness Month

Dementia And Mental Health RecoveryOut of respect for people who are suffering from any form of dementia and their loved ones, I have refrained from using “firedog-isms” in this post.

In 1983, President Ronald Reagan designated November as Alzheimer’s Awareness Month. Ironically, he later developed the condition, although people debate whether he succumbed after finishing his two presidential terms or while he was still in office. Whenever his disease surfaced, our late president was one of 44 million worldwide and 5.5 million Americans to suffer from some form of dementia. Continue reading “Remember Alzheimer’s Awareness Month”

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Happy Down Syndrome Awareness Month

Down Syndrome Awareness Month

In our ongoing effort to promote public health and safety, we wanted to take the opportunity to call attention to an important associated observance, held annually across the United States in October: Down Syndrome Awareness Month. The National Association for Down Syndrome (NADS) created the campaign in the 1980’s to educate the public, provide families with information and resources, and address social policy issues and challenges facing the Down Syndrome community. Continue reading “Happy Down Syndrome Awareness Month”

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Happy National Ergonomics Month

Ergonimics DiagramOctober is National Ergonomics Month. That’s a weird word. Calling attention to the importance of effective work environments, the campaign is meant to help refine office product design for maximum health and safety. Concentrating mostly on efficient construction and use of office chairs, desks, computers and keyboards, the field of applied ergonomics is crucial. I wonder if my doghouse is ergonomic. Continue reading “Happy National Ergonomics Month”

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Happy National Preparedness Month

Chalkboard with "Be Prepared"

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has earmarked September as National Preparedness Month. The annual awareness campaign is designed to encourage individuals and businesses to proactively plan for disasters. The need for awareness is crucial. Nearly three-quarters of Americans report they are worried about natural disasters, terror attacks, or serious accidents affecting their communities. And most admit they aren’t adequately prepared for such calamities. That’s a shame. Continue reading “Happy National Preparedness Month”

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Happy Food Safety Month!

Crime Scene Tape Across Food Safety

The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) has earmarked September as National Food Safety Month. The campaign is designed to keep American people and pets healthy. Every year, 48 million get sick, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die as a result of eating contaminated food. Dogs are also prone to suffer from food poisoning. While anyone may experience symptoms associated with foodborne illness, certain groups of people have a higher risk of developing far more serious conditions if they eat tainted food: pregnant women, children, the elderly, and people with compromised immune systems. The best way to combat food poisoning is to avoid contracting it in the first place – no matter your age, species or health status. Continue reading “Happy Food Safety Month!”

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Back to School Safety 2019

Tiny sharp pencil - Back to SchoolA 2018 Gallup poll reveals that 35 percent of parents fear for their child’s safety at school. That represents a 24 percent increase over the way they felt in 2017. What’s more, a near-record-high 20 percent report that their child has expressed similar fears. I often worry about JR when he’s at Puppy Kindergarten. Since preparation is crucial for improving peace of mind for parents as well as children (and puppies), before your kids (and pups) head back to school, remind them to take the following steps so they will be safe while they are on the road, in the classroom, on a field, or traveling between classes: Continue reading “Back to School Safety 2019”

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Happy National Wellness Month

Human Hand Drawing Wellness Concept“Good health is not something we can buy. However, it can be an extremely valuable savings account.” ~Anne Wilson Schaef

Wise words indeed. Inspired by that wisdom, Wellness Month was created “to inspire consumers to focus on wellbeing.” The August observance promotes the process of assessing and potentially improving emotional and physical health. Few would argue the value of investing in improving self-health. For the record, I would also argue daily consumption of bacon. Continue reading “Happy National Wellness Month”

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Extreme Heat Safety

heat wave in the city and hand showing thermometer for high temperatureSummer is a great time to spend time in the sun. But while you’re enjoying summer fun, take steps to make sure you’re careful in extreme heat. According to the National Weather Service, heat is a leading weather-related killer in the United States, resulting in hundreds of fatalities each year and even more heat-related illnesses. Extremely hot and humid weather challenges human and canine bodies’ability to cool themselves. When a body heats too rapidly to properly cool itself, or when too much fluid or salt is lost through dehydration or sweating, body temperature rises. If this occurs, the victim may develop a heat-related illness. Continue reading “Extreme Heat Safety”

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Happy UV Safety Awareness Month

UV Safety Protect Your EyesJuly is National Ultraviolet (UV) Safety Awareness Month. To mark the occasion, enjoy summer fun in the sun. But also protect yourself from harmful rays which candamage your skin and eyes in just 15 minutes. I would hate to develop age spots because they might clash with the spots I already have!The American Cancer Society reports that exposure to electromagnetic radiation from the sun, tanning beds, and welding torches leads to cancer, not to mention pre-mature aging. Other harmful effects from UV exposure include vision problems and immune-suppression. In all cases, your first line of defense is coverage. Personally, I recommend fur for coverage. Continue reading “Happy UV Safety Awareness Month”

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High-Rise Fire Safety 

High Rise Firedog SafetyIn honor of National Safety Month, we want to focus on a topic we hold dear to our hearts at the Allied Universal Training System by Universal Fire/Life Safety Services– high-rise fire safety. According to the most recent study published by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), U.S. fire departments respond to an average of 14,500 structure fires per year in high-rise buildings.These fires cause (on average) 40 civilian deaths, 520 civilian injuries, and lead to $154 million of property damage each year. Fire response is critical because fire is one of the most common emergencies following earthquakes, explosions, terrorism, power surges and other natural and manmade disasters. Continue reading “High-Rise Fire Safety “

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Happy National Safety Month

Safety Home Work on the RoadJune is National Safety Month. Developed in 1996 by the National Safety Council (NSC), the annual observance is designed to help eliminate preventable deaths at work, in homes and communities, as well as on the road, through leadership, research, education and advocacy. While safety is paramount in every aspect of life, the NSC focuses their efforts on these core safety areas: work, road and home. So, in the interest of brevity, we will do the same. Although, I would like to have seen “doghouse safety” included in the list. Continue reading “Happy National Safety Month”

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Arthritis Month

Arthritis AwarenessArthritis is a debilitating condition which affects more than 50 million Americans, making it the number one cause of disability in the United States. In hopes of providing help for the millions afflicted, the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), the Arthritis Foundation, the Arthritis Foundation mark each May as National Arthritis Awareness Month. No cure exists yet for either of the two main diagnostic categories: rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and osteoarthritis (OA). However, medication can help ease both diseases into remission. The Canine Health Foundation reports that 20 percent of adult dogs suffer from canine arthritis. Continue reading “Arthritis Month”

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May is Health & Fitness Month

Global Employee Health & Fitness Month (GEHFM)Employee Wellness program written on a notepad with marker. is an international observance of health and fitness in the workplace during the month of May. The goal is to promote the benefits of living a healthy lifestyle to employers and their employees through worksite health promotion activities. Sponsored by MINDBODY, the campaign began in 1989, to promote the value of investing in employee health. Sounds like a good idea to me!

Workplace wellness takes many forms. So, the final program may look different from one organization to another. Your workplace wellness plan should be tailored to reflect the culture of your organization in the way that will most likely encourage your employees to stay healthy and fit. The Office of Disease & Health Promotion at Health.Gov lists five reasons wellness is worth the investment: Continue reading “May is Health & Fitness Month”

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Parkinson’s Disease Awareness

Parkinson's Awareness MonthParkinson’s Disease Awareness Month was instituted in April 1997 to commemorate the birth month of Dr. James Parkinson, the first man to formally identify the disease in 1817. His piece, An Essay on the Shaking Palsy, remains one of the defining studies on the chronic, progressive condition that affects 7-10 million people, worldwide. The disease can be attributed to a variety of genetic, environmental, and age-related factors. This year’s campaign theme is #KeyToPD, which stresses that awareness is key toward working on a world without Parkinson’s disease. Continue reading “Parkinson’s Disease Awareness”

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10 Tips For Distraction-Free Driving

Safe Driving(Part 2 of a 2-Part Series)

Americans drive 3.2 trillion miles per year. That’s a lot of miles!Over that same time period, U.S. consumers send 2.2 trillion text messages. That’s a lot of texts!The problem is that many people combine the mutually exclusive activities. The result is as deadly as it is dangerous. Dogs can’t text or drive because we lack opposable thumbs. In our ongoing efforts to promote and share safety-related content, we began a two-part series about the dangers of distracted driving in honor of Distracted Driving Awareness Month. The series discusses the risks associated with this dangerous yet popular habit and offers tips to discourage the behavior. Click here to read part one. Continue reading “10 Tips For Distraction-Free Driving”

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Arrive Alive (Distraction-Free Driving)

Distracted Driving Awareness Month AprilAmericans drive 3.2 trillion miles per year. Over that same time period, U.S. consumers send 2.2 trillion text messages. The problem is that many people combine the mutually exclusive activities. The result is as deadly as it is dangerous. In fact, distracted driving led to 3,477 deaths and 391,000 injuries last year. Most dogs I know prefer to focus on one task at a time – preferably eating. Continue reading “Arrive Alive (Distraction-Free Driving)”

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Be Safe with your Key Fob

RJWestmore Key Fob SafetyAdvancements in automated technology delivers everything from smart phones and houses to smart cars. I’ve even heard they make smart doghouses! I want one! Boasting rearview cameras, BluetoothTMand more, new vehicles do everything short of steering themselves. What’s more, many new autos use small pieces of hardware – key fobs – containing built-in authentication which locks and grants access to vehicles with the press of a button or proximity to door handle. While these entry methods ease locking and unlocking vehicles, they could also lock out owners and provide unauthorized access. Continue reading “Be Safe with your Key Fob”

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Happy Low Vision Awareness Month

Low Vision Awareness Month FiredogPeople in the United States are living longer than ever before. The upside to longer lives is better medical care and quality of life. The downside to longevity is the emergence of several age-related medical conditions, many of which impact eyesight. Millions of dogs also suffer from eye conditions. Consider these stats compiled by the National Eye Institute (NEI): Continue reading “Happy Low Vision Awareness Month”

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Posted in be prepared for emergencies, Disaster Preparedness, Health & Welfare, Uncategorized, Winter Weather Hazards

How to Be Safe in the Polar Vortex

Polar Vortex Safety TipsIn Santa Ana, California, corporate headquarters for the Allied Universal Fire Life Safety Training System, heavy rains have fallen. Winds have gusted. Mud has slid. And temps have dipped below freezing. To Southern Californians, this weather feels extreme. In contrast, those who live in the Midwest and East Coast are facing frigid temps on an entirely different level. In fact, at least 21 people have died as a result of bitter Arctic weather known as the Polar Vortex. This weather takes cold to the ultimate extreme, much like bacon takes pork products to new heights. Safety Polar Vortex

What is a Polar Vortex

The media coined the term Polar Vortex in 2014 during a particularly frigid storm system. I think I’ll coin the term “cat vortex” to describe feline activity year round. It refers to a large pocket of very cold air (typically the coldest air in the Northern Hemisphere) which sits over the polar region during the winter season. Located six miles up in the atmosphere, the 2019 system has blasted much of the American Midwest and Northeast with temperatures cold enough to bring on frostbite within minutes.

How to Be Safe in Cold Weather

Safety Tips Polar VortexWhether you are impacted by the Polar Vortex or not, you should take steps to be safe in cold weather by following these tips:

  1. Stay Inside
    One of the most important things you can do isstay inside as much as possible. Also, bring pets inside. We fare better because of our coats, freezing temps can be dangerous for us, too. Pay attention to weather service warnings. The coldest part of the day is typically early morning. So, whenever possible, stay home.
  2. Prepare Your Car
    Don’t let cold weather catch you off guard. In advance of storms or approaching cold fronts, get your car ready for cold weather use.Cold Car Polar Vortex Safety
  • Service the radiator.
  • Maintain antifreeze level.
  • Check tire tread. And, if necessary, replace tires with all-weather or snow tires.
  • Keep gas tank full to avoid ice in the tank and fuel lines.
  • Use a wintertime formula in your windshield washer.
  • Prepare a winter emergency kit to keep in your car in case you become stranded. If applicable, include items for pets in your kit.Pet safety polar vortex
  1. Stay Warm
  • If you must go outside, cover hands with mittens to keep fingers together. If you have paws, you probably don’t need mittens. But some owners use booties. I’m not a fan. This also traps additional heat more effectively than gloves, which separate fingers.
  • Layer loose-fitting and lightweight clothing under outer clothing. Select tightly woven knits and water-repellent material. Wool, silk or polypropylene inner layers hold body heat better than cotton.
  • Avoid activities that would lead to perspiration. The combination of wet clothing and cold weather can cause the body to quickly lose heat. Generally, I love activities that make me sweat. But I am a dog.Polar Vortex Risks Safety
  1. Watch for Frostbite
    This dangerous condition occurs when the tissue just below the skin freeze. The extremities such as fingers, toes, nose, ears and paws are most likely to be affected, but any exposed area skin is susceptible. If skin turns blue or gray, is very swollen, blistered or feels hard and numb, seek medical attention immediately.
  2. Identify Hypothermia
    Hypothermia Frostbite Risks Polar VortexThis occurs when the body loses heat faster than it is able to produce heat. This leads to dangerously low body temperature. Normal body temperature is 98.6 degrees. Hypothermia can occur when a person or animal’s body temperature falls below 95 degrees.Symptoms of hypothermia include shivering, slurred speech or difficulty speaking, confusion or memory loss, sleepiness, stiff muscles,slow and shallow breathing, weak pulse and clumsiness, or lack of coordination. In infants, you may also spot bright red and cold skin.

About the Allied Universal Fire Life Safety Training System

In every kind of weather, we are committed to your safety. Our training helps with compliance to fire life safety codes and instantly issues a certificate to building occupants who complete the course! It’s a convenient and affordable solution designed to fit the training needs of your facility. Click here for more information or to subscribe.

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Posted in BE SAFE, CDC, Dept of Health & Human Services, Health & Welfare, Highly Infectious diseases, How to stay healthy, Uncategorized

6 Ways to Avoid the Flu

flu germ 2019The 2019 flu season is well underway. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) estimates that six to seven million people have suffered one strain of influenza or another already this season. DogFlu.com reports two strains of dog influenza appearing in virtually every state. The CDC puts the number of (human strains) of flu-related hospitalizations, nationwide, between 69,000 and 84,000 people. With flu activity expected to continue in the coming weeks and months, we are focusing this week’s blog post on the preemptive measures you can take to stay healthy and avoid this unwelcome harbinger of winter. flu bug influenza

What is the Flu?

The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by various strains of influenza viruses. Symptoms range from mild to severe, with serious outcomes resulting in hospitalization or even death. Certain people groups, such as the elderly, young children or anyone who has a compromised immune system face an increased risk of serious flu-related complications. Even relatively healthy people prefer to skip the virus altogether. Yeah, the flu (canine or the human variety) isn’t fun.

Flu & Cold Virus InfluenzaSymptoms include:

cold-or-flu-large
How the Flu Differs from a Common Cold

Although the flu and colds are respiratory illnesses, they are brought on by different viruses. Both viruses impact the upper respiratory system and share similar symptoms.  As a result, suffers often struggle to tell the difference between the two. Most of the time, when it’s a cold, people are able to suffer through a runny or stuffy nose and rebound in a week. With the flu, symptoms are typically more intense and have the potential to lead to serious complications, such as pneumonia, bacterial infections or hospitalizations.

handwashing flu germsHow to Avoid Catching the Flu:

  1. Avoid close contact with sick people or puppies. If you must share airspace with them, wear a mask, whichmay help block airborne germs and prevent the transmission of germs from your hands to your mouth or nose. This seems wise for preventing the spread of other illnesses, too. Just a thought.
  2. Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. After using a tissue, throw it in the trash and wash your hands. If you don’t have access to a tissue, sneeze into your sleeve to limit the spread of germs.
  3. Frequently wash your hands with soap and hot water. If neither is available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. I’m not a fan of hand sanitizer because it makes my fur wet.
  4. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth to limit the spread of germs.
  5. Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated.
  6. The CDC recommends getting the flu shot. Although several strains of flu exist, the injection combats many. online fire safety training

About the Allied Universal Fire Life Safety Training System
All year long we are committed to your safety. Our training helps with compliance to fire life safety codes and instantly issues a certificate to building occupants who complete the course! It’s a convenient and affordable solution designed to fit the training needs of your facility. Click here for more information or to subscribe.

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Posted in be prepared for emergencies, BE SAFE, Disaster Preparedness, Emergency Evacuations, Uncategorized

National Get Organized Month to Be Safe

Hand Holding Get Organized Sticky NoteStudies show that individuals waste up to an hour each day searching for misplaced items. But disorganization sucks more than just valuable time if disaster strikes. When chaos breaks loose, every second matters, leaving you with precious little time to search for important stuff. I always forget where I buried my bones. I guess I should work on that. Organizing today will enable you quickly locate what you need at critical times, leading to more satisfactory outcomes during a crisis.

Studies show that individuals waste up to an hour each day searching for misplaced items. But disorganization sucks more than just valuable time if disaster strikes. When chaos breaks loose, every second matters, leaving you with precious little time to search for important stuff. Organizing today will enable you quickly locate what you need at critical times, leading to more satisfactory outcomes during a crisis.dog-2744223__480

The Association of Professional Coordinators (APC) founded National Get Organized Month in 2005 in an effort to increase awareness about the significance of organization. As the leader in training commercial building tenants for fire safety and emergency certification, we use this month-long observance to focus on providing best practices and organization strategies that improve outcomes for building occupants in the event of an emergency.

While no one wants to think about disaster, being prepared helps to reduce negative outcomes.  Preparing “Go Bags” and emergency kits in advance of an emergency sets you up to respond efficiently and keep a cool head during an emergency. For 2019, to help you stay safe and be prepared, we have put together guidelines to prepping and organizing Go Bags and emergency kits. I don’t have much room for storage space in my doghouse. Maybe a fanny pack?

go bagGo Bag Ideas

A Go Bag is filled with personal emergency items which are self-contained and easy to grab-on-the-go in the event a fireman, police officer or other first responder instructs you to evacuate. Bags usually include items such as prescriptions, food, water and extra clothing to get you through the first few critical days following a disaster.

A backpack or other easy-to-carry case or bags make an ideal a Go Bag since there is the potential you might have to carry it. Keep “portable” and “lightweight” in mind and when selecting the necessary contents. Additionally, remember to label your bag with your name and address in case you and your necessities get separated.

Go Bag

  • Flashlight
  • Extra batterieswhistle in go bag
  • Small first-aid kit
  • Cellphone with chargers
  • Whistle, to signal for help
  • Pocket knife
  • Emergency cash in small denominations (quarters for phone calls and a prepaid phone card in case cell towers are down)
  • Sturdy shoes and a change of clothes for different weather contingencies and a warm hat
  • Local and regional maps (you may not have access to online versions)
  • Water and food (snacks and a few bottles of water) Don’t forget pet food!
  • Recent photos of each family member for identification purposes
  • List of emergency point-of-contact phone numbers
  • List of allergies to drugs (especially antibiotics) and/or food
  • Copy of health insurance and identification cards
  • Extra prescription eye glasses, hearing aids or other vital health-related itemspuppy-476800__480
  • Prescription medications
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Extra keys to your house and car
  • Special-needs items for children, seniors or disabled family members

cat-24477__480Don’t forget about your pets! They need a Go Bag too.

  • Sturdy leashes and pet carriers
  • One-week supply of their food
  • Potable water and medicine for at least one week
  • Non-spill bowls, manual can opener and plastic lid
  • Plastic bags, litter box and litter
  • Recent photo of each pet
  • Names and phone numbers of your emergency contact, emergency veterinary hospitals and animal shelters
  • Copy of your pet’s vaccination and medical history

Emergency Supplies Kit Ideas

While a Go Bag is typically meant for you if you need to “bug out,” an emergency kit is designed to use while you are on the scene of a disaster and in the event you need to Shelter in Place (SIP). Although many of the recommended items overlap, an emergency kit is not necessarily as portable. Designed to sustain you until help can arrive, an emergency kit will typically include more first-aid related items as well as larger quantities of food and water. Since a first-aid kit is so much larger than a Go Bag, contents should be stored in a large, clean, unused trash can or covered plastic container. I also recommend keeping dog food in these.

The following are recommended items to include in your emergency kit:

  • Nonperishable food
  • If you have an infant or young child (or puppy), be sure to include diapers, formula and child-specific medication.
  • Water, enough to sustain your family for at least three days.
  • Mess kits, paper cups, plates and plastic utensils, paper towels
  • Battery-operated or hand-crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert
  • Dust mask to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape for using during certain types of SIP contingencies.
  • Moist towelettes, garbage bags, plastic ties and personal toiletries
  • Permanent marker, paper, pencils or pens and tape
  • Books, games, puzzles or other activities for children

    clothes-2041864__480
    Don’t forget about a change of clothes!
  • Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
  • Butane lighter and matches (stored in a waterproof container)
  • A well-stocked first-aid kit. At a minimum you need wound cleansing and dressing supplies, eyewash and burn treatment bandages.
  • Emergency reference material such as a first-aid book or information
  • Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person and appropriate to your climate.
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Identification and bank account records kept in a waterproof, portable container
  • Bacon (I admit it won’t store well. But what could be better in an emergency?)

About the Allied Universal Fire Life Safety Training System

All year long we are committed to your safety. Our training helps with compliance to fire life safety codes and instantly issues a certificate to building occupants who complete the course! It’s a convenient and affordable solution designed to fit the training needs of your facility. Click here for more information or to subscribe.

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Posted in be prepared for emergencies, BE SAFE, Disaster Preparedness, Holiday Safety, Travel, Uncategorized

Holiday Travel Safety

Christmas Holiday TravelIf your holiday plans include travel, you aren’t alone. Auto Club reports that 54 million people travel between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. And the word on the street is that many people plan to travel with their pets! The most popular mode of transportation? Hitting the open road. But millions opt to fly the friendly skies. Whatever method you plan to use to get from Point A to Point B, make sure you take steps to be safe:

Continue reading “Holiday Travel Safety”

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Shopping Safely Online & In Real Life

Online Shopping SafetyAlthough Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2018 are over, the holiday shopping frenzy is far from done. In fact, Nielsen projects that seasonal sales will top $923 billion, with $106 billion in purchases expected to originate online. Unfortunately, holiday shopping breeds crime. In fact, a recent survey reveals that most scams and package theft, worldwide, occur during the period between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. So, how can you shut down the Grinch? Follow these tips for a safe holiday shopping season. Continue reading “Shopping Safely Online & In Real Life”

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Posted in be prepared for emergencies, BE SAFE, Building Evacuation, Fires, Holiday Safety, Uncategorized, Workplace Safety

Holiday Office Safety Tips

Holiday Office SafetyThe holidays are upon us, and with them, opportunities abound to enjoy celebrations with family, neighbors, colleagues, canines and friends. As you plan your 2018 holiday season, please consider these office safety tips, designed to help you safely make the most of this festive time of the year. Continue reading “Holiday Office Safety Tips”

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Posted in BE SAFE, Disaster Preparedness, Holiday Safety, How to stay healthy, Uncategorized

Holiday Food Safety

Holiday Food SafetyThe holidays are a wonderful time to celebrate with family and friends over delicious food and drinks (make mine water). But be careful to incorporate safety precautions into your meal prep to help keep everyone you love in good health. According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), 48 million people get sick; 128,000 are hospitalized; and 3,000 people die from foodborne diseases each year in the United States. Continue reading “Holiday Food Safety”

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Posted in BE SAFE, Disaster Preparedness, Earthquakes, High-Rise Buildings, Uncategorized

International ShakeOut Day October 18

Great ShakeOut 2018
Each area of the United States is susceptible to certain types of natural disasters. Whether they morph into full-blown catastrophes depends on what we do now to prepare, survive and recover. One potential disaster that threatens millions of Americans each year is earthquakes. To help people prepare, FEMA sponsors an annual campaign designed to inspire ShakeOut drills each October. Continue reading “International ShakeOut Day October 18”

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Posted in be prepared for emergencies, BE SAFE, Disaster Preparedness, Fire Life Safety Training, Fire Safety, Fires, High-Rise Buildings, Uncategorized

Happy National Fire Prevention Week

Fire Prevention Week 2018

National Fire Prevention Week: “Look. Listen. Learn.”  

In 1920, President Woodrow Wilson announced the first ever event to commemorate the Great Chicago Fire, which occurred in October of 1874. Each October since 1924, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has led the annual charge to implement National Fire Prevention Great Chicago Fire Prevention Week 2018Week™. This year’s observance takes place this week, with the theme, “Look. Listen. Learn. Be aware. Fire can happen anywhere™.” I guess that includes doghouses! Continue reading “Happy National Fire Prevention Week”

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Security Guard Appreciation

Security Officer Appreciation
This week, as we remember our emergency first responders who lost their lives in the 9/11 tragedy, we ramp up to honor some additional unsung heroes — security professionals. Don’t forget about guard dogs!

Security officers, who strive to help maintain safe and secure workplaces, schools, shopping malls and communities, deserve heartfelt appreciation. Hard-working, highly trained men and women, security officers are counted among our country’s first responders. These individuals deter crime, lead evacuations, provide information, work closely with local law enforcement and are constantly vigilant in their efforts to keep us safe.  Continue reading “Security Guard Appreciation”

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Posted in be prepared for emergencies, BE SAFE, Disaster Preparedness, High-Rise Buildings, safety plans and procedures, Uncategorized

Emergency Preparedness Month 2018

National Preparedness Month 2018Each year, government organizations such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), nonprofit agencies, such as the American Red Cross and private enterprise, including Allied Universal, to mark September as the official month to observe national emergency preparedness. I wonder why this lasts for 30 days, when National Dog Day comes but one day a year?  Continue reading “Emergency Preparedness Month 2018”

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Posted in BE SAFE, CDC, Children in Crisis, Health & Welfare, Higher Education, Highly Infectious diseases, How to stay healthy, Uncategorized, Vaccinations, Vaccines

Back-to-School Safety: College Vaccinations

School Nurse Vaccination

The following is provided for informational purposes only. Allied Universal is not a medical expert. Consult your healthcare provider before pursuing any vaccines or taking any medication.

It’s that time of year again. Leaves are turning, football has begun, the weather is cooling off, and it’s time to fill backpacks with school necessities—pens and pencils, notebooks, laptops and bacon. But when you check that all important “to-do list” this year for your student, make sure to include the most important item on the list—inoculations. Continue reading “Back-to-School Safety: College Vaccinations”

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Posted in be prepared for emergencies, BE SAFE, Floods, safety plans and procedures, Uncategorized

Landslides and Mudslides

Landslide & Mudslide SafetyPart 3 in a 3-Part Series about Severe Weather

 Weather-related disasters lead to devastating loss of life and cost billions of dollars each year. The first post in our three-part series about severe weather disasters focused on extreme heat. The second entry discussed floods. This last post will tackle landslides and mudslides, since they so often accompany other severe-weather events. My son, JR, likes slides at the park but these slides don’t sound like fun. Continue reading “Landslides and Mudslides”

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Posted in BE SAFE, Building Evacuation, Disaster Preparedness, disaster recovery, Floods, High-Rise Buildings, Uncategorized

Severe Weather: Floods

Severe Weather FloodingFloods

Part 2 in a 3-Part Series

Weather-related disasters across the world lead to devastating loss of life and cost billions of dollars each year. Our last post about severe weather disasters focused on extreme heat. The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) breaks weather-related disasters into eight major categories. We’re working on a flood of upcoming blog posts! This week, we will tackle one such designation, floods. Check back, as the final post in this series will focus hurricanes, landslides and mudslides.flooded buildings

A flood is a temporary overflow of water onto land that is normally dry. According to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), floods are the most common natural disaster in the United States. Recent floods in Charleston, and Texas are taxing resources, destroying property, injuring hundreds and resulting in troubling associated issues such as mosquito-borne disease and infrastructure damage.
Continue reading “Severe Weather: Floods”

Posted in be prepared for emergencies, BE SAFE, Building Evacuation, Disaster Preparedness, Uncategorized, Workplace Safety

COVID-19 Safety for High-Rise Buildings

AdobeStock_334916310

The following information is provided for informational and educational purposes only. It does not constitute legal advice. For guidance about how to comply with Coronavirus regulations relative to your high-rise facility, please contact state and/or local government officials such as OSHA and/or facility management.

Continue reading “COVID-19 Safety for High-Rise Buildings”