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.

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.

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”

Posted in BE SAFE, Disaster Preparedness, Uncategorized

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”

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”

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”

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”

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”

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, Children in Crisis, dehydration, Disaster Preparedness, Health & Welfare, How to stay healthy, Uncategorized

Extreme Heat: Severe Weather Disasters

Extreme Weather Disasters

Part 1 in a Series

Extreme weather causes some of the most devastating natural disasters known to man and beast. Already this year, the United States has faced six weather and climate-related major disaster events, which the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reports have resulted in 36 deaths and economic losses exceeding one billion dollars. The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) breaks these disasters into eight major categories: extreme heat, floods, hurricanes, landslides and mudslides, lightning, tornadoes, tsunamis, and winter weather. I’m not sure why cats aren’t included on the list, since they’re the number one cause of disasters in my world. This week, we will discuss extreme heat. Check back for future posts, which will conclude our series about extreme weather-related disasters. Continue reading “Extreme Heat: Severe Weather Disasters”