Posted in Building Evacuation, Disaster Preparedness, Earthquakes, Emergency Evacuations

Hard Learned Lessons from Haiti

Rebuilding in Haiti

Another serious topic today!

The recent earthquake disaster in Haiti will require extensive rebuilding of the country’s emergency response systems and infrastructure. Unfortunately, as a poor nation, many Haitians did not have the proper resources to ensure emergency preparedness. The only positive thing about the catastrophe is that it has given the country the opportunity to focus on ways to ensure better response times for future disasters.

But the application doesn’t stop in Haiti. Some of the hard-learned lessons of the Haiti earthquake can be applied to emergency planning for your buildings. These include the importance of following code standards, maintaining the infrastructure of the building, and making sure that communications procedures are established and followed. Disasters can and will happen, and proper preparation can minimize losses and quicken the pace of rebuilding.

Several aspects of emergency management will need to be rebuilt in Haiti:

Earthquake Codes:

  • Focus will be on implementing new building codes
  • Some studies focus on minimizing population densities and overcrowding
  • Authorities and aid organizations will need to provide assistance to lower income families who cannot afford to meet code regulations which would eliminate unregulated and unsafe structures
  • Scientists say that future earthquakes are likely and Haiti should be prepared
  • New codes are especially important for multi-story buildings such as offices or hotels
  • Many homes in Haiti were built in stages, which led to inconsistent foundation standards

Emergency Planning:

  • Seismologists warned of the threat of earthquake potential, but most warnings went unheeded
  • Proper planning includes distribution of emergency kits to residents, designated relief zones, and equipment for the clearing of debris from roads

Infrastructure Needs:

  • Prior to the disaster, Haiti’s airport, ports and road systems were in need of repair. Strengthening of the infrastructure will allow for faster emergency response.
  • Bringing water and sanitation up to modern standards will improve the distribution of emergency supplies and information
  • Veterinary teams to enter Haiti – which is good news for my feline and canine friends


  • Secure communications are a key to coordinating relief in times of a disaster
  • Telephone and Internet systems need to be improved
  • Communication systems allow individuals to quickly get needed information in terms of where food or medical relief can be located, or where to find temporary shelters

We encourage all of our readers to donate to Haiti Relief by visiting the American Red Cross.

I would also like to give a special thank you to all of the rescue dogs that searched for survivors. Here’s a story about a Tampa-based rescue team. The dogs are named Party Girl, Cinder, Powder, and Doak. This kind of contribution makes me proud to be an animal.

Visit for information about our emergency training program. BE SAFE.


RJ the Fire Dog is the mascot for Allied Universal, the premiere provider for e-based fire life safety training for residents and workers in high-rise buildings. His young son, JR, sometimes takes over writing his posts. RJ also maintains an active Twitter account, which he posts to when he isn’t working in the firehouse. The Allied Universal Fire Life Safety Training System 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). Choosing our service cuts property management training related workloads by 90% and saves you over 50%