Posted in BE SAFE, Disaster Preparedness, Earthquakes, FEMA, Health & Welfare, Social Media, Uncategorized

Tech & Disaster Management

Press conference presentation.It wasn’t long ago that disaster management professionals handled crises primarily through landlines and press conferences. In fact, I still use the Twilight Bark. Thankfully, over the past 10 years, technology has redefined global emergency management and disaster communications. One of the first national disasters to heavily rely on technology, according to Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), was Hurricane Sandy, as users sent more than 20 million Sandy-related tweets. I was tweeting like crazy during Hurricane Sandy. Social tablet

Since people have embraced mobile technologies, it’s increasingly important for disaster management professionals to adopt a social media strategy as well as the ability to use multiple forms of technology to communicate and connect with an increasingly networked population. What’s more, building owners and managers, as well as members of the public, should take advantage of the many ways technology can help them prepare for, survive, and recover after a disaster.

Technology and Disasters:

  • The American Red Cross offers free mobile apps that put lifesaving information at the user’s fingertips. The apps give people instant access to more than 35 customizable emergency weather alerts, as well as safety tips and preparedness information for 14 different types of emergencies and disasters. The Emergency App contains an “I’m Safe” feature, which helps people use social media to let loved ones know they are okay following an emergency. These apps have been downloaded over seven million times and have been credited with saving lives in Oklahoma, Texas and other states. Other Red Cross apps include Blood Donor, Earthquakes, First Aid, Flood, Hero Care, Hurricane, Pet First Aid – which is my personal favorite, Radio Cruz Roja, Swim, Tornadoes, Transfusion Practice Guidelines and Wildfires.Graphic: Download the FEMA App
  • Disaster Apps. While it would be virtually impossible to list every available disaster app, here are a few noteworthy options, available on Google Play as well as the Apple App Store: Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), FEMA, My Hurricane Tracker, National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), QuakeFeed, Storm Distance Tracker, and WeatherCaster. Another good one is put out by the ASPCA Mobile App. NOAA-1030x496
  • Facebook offers a natural disaster page, which is set up so that people can check on loved ones, get updates about the developing situation, and look for information about how to help. Disaster Response on Facebook highlights tips, news, and information on how to prepare for, respond to and recover from natural disasters. Facebook users who like and follow the page can stay up to date and connected with affected communities around the world. They can also donate with the “Donate Now” call-to-action button, so nonprofits can connect with people who care about their causes and encourage them to contribute. safetycheckmobielcarousel
  • Twitter has emerged as a legitimate means of emergency communication for coordinating disaster relief. A 2015 study, What to Expect When the Unexpected Happens: Social Media Communications Across Crises, focused on 26 different crisis situations (such as earthquakes, floods, bombings, derailments and wildfires) for two years. The event which obtained the most Twitter attention at the time of the study was the Boston Marathon bombings, with 157,500 tweets. What’s more, Twitter Alerts provide trusted sources with a platform to disseminate accurate information to concerned parties in real time, and for those people to offer immediate feedback about the impact and hierarchy of needs relative to the associated disaster. My Twitter handle is @RjtheFireDog.Screen Shot 2017-04-24 at 3.44.27 PM.png
  • OneEvent is an algorithm developed by a small startup in Wisconsin. For a monthly subscription fee, OneEvent detects household disasters like fires and floods up to 20 minutes before they happen. The software-based approach uses sensors to monitor things like heat and humidity in key areas of the subscriber’s home. I wonder if it would work in our doghouse? If things start to deviate from the norm due to a leaky pipe or a hot oven, the system will catch it, let the user know, and learnfrom the situation. Online learning.
  • Online Fire Life Training systems, which provide subscribers with access to information about emergency and disaster prevention, management and recovery. A leader in the field is Allied Universal Fire Life Safety Training Systems. The fully-automated system allows property management companies to manage one site or an entire portfolio, with all users in the same system. Subscribers get access to training for building occupants, floor wardens, and fire safety directors. All user training and testing is recorded. Building-specific information is sent to first responders for immediate access during emergencies. Our mission is to save lives through training, with the motto “Be Safe!”

Remember that safety is important for everyone across continents. A convenient and affordable way to make sure you are prepared for disasters and emergencies of virtually every kind is to subscribe to the Allied Universal Fire Life Training System, which has been designed to help improve and save lives. For more information about the best system out there, or to subscribe, click here.

Posted in be prepared for emergencies, BE SAFE, Disaster Preparedness, Earthquakes, Health & Welfare, High-Rise Buildings, Uncategorized

The Great Shakeout 2016

shakeout_global_getready_300x250Drop, Cover, and Hold On at 10:20 a.m. on October 20, 2016 during The Great California ShakeOut. Participating in the annual event is a great way to make sure you are prepared to survive and recover quickly from substantial earthquakes – whether you are at home, at work or traveling. Personally, I think Shake-n-Bake pork chops would be a great way to mark the occasion.

To help mark the occasion and call attention to earthquake preparedness, we want to take this opportunity to educate our subscribers and friends about earthquake preparedness in high-rise buildings. We would like to extend our thanks to Safe-T-Proof, which provided their “Quake Cottage” for a Pre-Great California Shakeout event. They offer superior earthquake fasteners and straps for offices as well as survival kits and additional earthquake-safety supplies.quakeshack

The latest and greatest in earthquake-resilient design is currently being implemented to build the Wilshire Grand Center in Los Angeles, which, at 1,100 feet, will make it the tallest building on the Pacific coast. The building’s massive foundation is so robust that its construction is noted in the Guinness Book of World Records for the “longest continuous concrete pour.” I wonder who holds the record for the longest bacon feast?

Despite how odd it feels to stand in a tall building that sways during an earthquake, modern California high-rises provide safer refuge during earthquakes than most shorter facilities. This is because architectural plans and construction for high-rise California structures built after the Sylmar quake in 1971 are required to follow stringent seismic codes. You can further improve your high-rise earthquake survival odds by taking preparedness steps.

shakeout_global_joinus_160x600Safety Tips for High-Rise Earthquakes

  • Stay put. Sitting down under a desk or doorway is the safest way to “ride out” a quake while it’s happening. Most earthquakes are relatively short. So it is safer to patiently wait a quake out instead of trying to exit the building as it moves. Even with four legs, I find it difficult to maneuver during earthquakes.
  • Stay alert. After exiting a building, tenants should move under cover in order to avoid falling debris such as panes of glass. Also, pay attention to warnings of fires or tsunamis which can follow any quake.
  • Stay informed. Tenants in high rises should be familiar with evacuation protocols for their building. A speedy yet orderly evacuation is crucial for ensuring building occupant safety. The National Fire Protection Association offers an evacuation plan video that encourages individuals to take ownership of their safety while following safety procedures.

Allied Universal offers these earthquake safety tips for anyone who may not be in a high-rise to follow:

Indoors

  • Drop to the ground. Take cover by getting under a sturdy table and hold on. Stay inside until the shaking stops.
  • Stay away from glass or anything that can fall, like light fixtures and furniture.
  • Stay in bed if you are there when the earthquake strikes.

In a Fire…R-A-C-E to Safety!

  • Rescue—Remove any employees or visitors from immediate danger.
  • Alarm—Pull the nearest Fire Alarm and call the proper emergency phone number.
  • Contain—Contain all smoke and toxic fumes by closing all doors and windows.
  • Extinguish and Evacuate—Follow all posted and verbal procedures.

Outdoorsshakeout_global_dontfreak_728x90

  • Stay where you are if you are not near any buildings, streetlights or utility wires.
  • Do not move from the area you are in until the shaking stops. Remember that aftershocks can be just as bad as the earthquake itself.

In a Moving Vehicle

  • Stop as quickly as possible, but stay in the vehicle. Avoid stopping near or under buildings, trees, overpasses and utility wires.
  • Proceed cautiously once the shaking has stopped. Avoid roads, bridges, or ramps that have been damaged.

Built to Withstand QuakesTerremoto en una ciudad

Modern high rises, such as the Wilshire Grand Center, undergo considerable earthquake modeling and testing before they are complete. Taller buildings must withstand massive amounts of force from earthquakes and wind, so engineers make sure construction will withstand the “worst case scenario.” To me, any worst case scenario involves cats.

High-Rise Earthquake Safety Features

  • Tuned mass dampers. These are massive weights that are mounted within a building and designed to move opposite to the oscillations of the structure. For example, the massive Taipei 101 skyscraper damper weighs 660 tons.
  • Simple roller bearing. This is a type of “base isolation” where the movement of the building is mitigated by bearings, which absorb some of the energy, thereby minimizing the building’s lateral movement. This is a common technique that essentially removes the structure from the ground, so it “floats” freely.
  • Sway. Engineers build the structure to withstand a certain amount of sway, knowing that there is a direct relationship between the height of the building and seconds of associated, safe side-to-side movement.

Low and extremely wide angle view of Office BuildingsBuilding design is always dynamic, with new materials and procedures explored that can make buildings safer and more aesthetically pleasing. For instance, the growing use of cross-laminated timber (CLT) is pushing architects to consider high-rise wood buildings in Seattle and other areas. Sounds like a good idea to me!

Remember that safety is a daily priority for everyone, not only those working or living in high-rise buildings. A convenient and affordable way to make sure you are prepared for disasters and emergencies of virtually every kind is to subscribe to the RJWestmore Training System by Allied Universal Fire/Life Safety Services, which has been designed to help improve and save lives. For more information about the best system out there, or to subscribe, click here.

Posted in be prepared for emergencies, Building Evacuation, Earthquakes, High-Rise Buildings

Recent Earthquakes Highlight Need for Disaster Prep

The ring of fire hit hard by recent earthquakes is not the one Johnny Cash sang about.
The ring of fire hit hard by recent earthquakes is not the one Johnny Cash sang about.

The recent earthquakes in the Ring of Fire focus attention on the importance of earthquake preparedness throughout the western United States. I guess this Ring of Fire is a different one than Johnny Cash sung about? Important components for lowering the incidences of loss of life and property are to follow construction guidelines and retrofit structures while making sure tenants understand the need to follow safety procedures.

The recent earthquakes in Ecuador and Japan highlight the need for proper building codes and preparedness for individuals. These quakes unfortunately caused loss of life as well as property damage, but there are lessons to learn from each disaster, which could potentially limit damage associated with future earthquakes. And we are all about learning at the RJWestmore Training System by Universal Fire/Life Safety Services!Fotolia_76149984_XS (1)

Ecuador Earthquake

On April 16, 2016, a 7.8 magnitude quake hit Ecuador, causing extensive damage and leading to the deaths of at least 587 people. The deadliest disaster in the country since a quake that hit in 1949, it leveled several towns. Due to the upheaval, officials have raised alerts about the associated increased risk of spreading Zika virus and dengue fever among displaced residents. The earthquake destroyed more than 805 buildings and damaged 600 more. Building code enforcement in the country varies by region, and rural homes likely collapsed due to inferior construction materials.

Japan Earthquake

Fotolia_54095366_XSAfter the horrific quake and tsunami in 2011, Japanese residents are understandably concerned about earthquake safety and loss of life prevention. Earthquakes hit Japan on April 16 – five years, exactly, to the day as the Ecuador quakes. The main shock registered a 7.0 on the Richter scale. Whoever this Richter guy is, he was pretty smart to be able to invent an earthquake scale.

Despite the terrible losses from the 2011 earthquake, Japan’s strict building code improvements helped limit the damage this time around. The country made a concerted effort to improve codes after the 1995 Kobe earthquake and has emerged as a global leader in earthquake construction and retrofitting.

FEMA and Local Agency Involvement

In some areas of the United States, funds are available through individual states or federally, through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for several projects, including the completion of retrofitting. For example, an early 2016 California initiative through the California Residential Mitigation Program offered homeowners in select areas a $3,000 credit for proper crawlspace bolting and bracing of older homes. FEMA also offers programs and educational documents for commercial buildings. In Los Angeles, property owners are pushing for residential tenants to shoulder much of the costs of the county-mandated retrofitting due for completion within coming years. There are several viable options available to property managers and owners relative to mandatory retrofits. That’s a relief!

Building Codes Save Lives

In most earthquakes, the loss of life occurs from building collapse (and tsunamis) instead of shaking associated with the trembler. This underscores the need for countries in the Ring of Fire earthquake zone to follow recommended earthquake building codes for new construction and to properly retrofit older structures, when possible.Property market. Stamp sale of real estate. 3D.

Retrofitting buildings for earthquake safety involves several procedures for commercial and residential buildings. Commercial buildings might need external bracing of parking garages to prevent floors from “pancaking” due to stress, as well as supplementary dampers that convert motion into heat. I love pancakes, but not when they are made up of smashed buildings.

Prepare Building Occupants for Earthquakes

While the integrity of residential and commercial buildings is vitally important, the onus for earthquake survival and safety is shared by building occupants. Here are tips to observe for optimal earthquake preparedness:

  • Secure pictures on walls with approved adhesives, and anchor tall furniture to the wall.
  • Understand and follow the evacuation plan. Know when the situation (or building-wide alerts) call for evacuation versus sheltering in place.
  • Know how to turn off gas lines to the stove and hot water heater as well as proper fire extinguisher operation. This seems like important info even for people who don’t live in earthquake-prone zones.
  • Recognize the importance of listening to floor wardens and follow their directions.

Remember that safety is a daily priority. So be sure to think about ways to #BeSafe all of the time, whether or not you live in an earthquake-prone region. A convenient and affordable way to make sure you are prepared for disasters and emergencies of virtually every kind is to subscribe to the RJWestmore Training System by Universal Fire/Life Safety Services, which has been designed to help improve and save lives. For more information about the best system out there, or to subscribe, click here.

 

 

Posted in BE SAFE, Disaster Preparedness, Earthquakes, Emergency Evacuations, Fire Safety, High-Rise Buildings, Workplace Safety

Seven Safety Resolutions for 2016

Goals 2016According to StatisticBrain.com, 45 percent of Americans make New Year’s resolutions, but only eight percent actually succeed in achieving them. (Does this include dogs?) So maybe the first resolution you should make this year is to keep the resolutions you make! Our idea for ensuring success? Buck the trend of focusing your goals on popular resolutions involving weight, money and relationships in favor of resolving to be safe. I’ve never understand humans’ focus on weight goals! So you have a few extra pounds; it’s a badge of honor! Want to know my resolutions list?

  1. Take more naps. Easily attainable and lots of fun.
  2. Eat more food. I will resolve to learn the magic ways of the refrigerator and figure out how to help myself to leftovers.
  3. Guilt people into giving me more belly rubs. My “puppy dog eyes” still work magic.

Seven Safety Resolutions (for Humans) in 2016:

  1. Mr.Simple in SWOT AnalysisReview recent history. Where safety is concerned, consider the steps you took to be safe in 2015 as well as the emergencies that arose, so you can identify emergency strengths and weaknesses. For example, did anyone slip or fall at one of your properties in 2015? If so, how was the incident handled? What steps can be taken to prevent future accidents? The National Safety Council offers several ideas for reducing the risk of slips and falls. I remember slipping in a puddle once. It was glorious!
  1. Plan for earthquakes. Review your earthquake preparedness plan, making sure that evacuation routes are clear and furniture, boilers and water heaters are secure. If your building is located in an earthquake-prone area such as Southern California, use this interactive map to see if your building is located on an active fault line. Understanding the severity of the risk can aid in earthquake planning.
  1. Remove clutter throughout the building. Hallways that are littered with boxes impede safe passage. So make sure stairwells remain accessible and that exits are clearly marked. Cats are another impediment! Who needs them? For suggestions about preparing exit routes and creating a fire prevention plan, check out the emergency evacuation factsheet on the OSHA website.
  2. Reduce fire risks. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), cooking equipment is the leading cause of fires that start at home. As for nonresidential buildings, the most recent available data from FEMA (for 2013) suggests the leading reported causes of fires are cooking, followed by arson, carelessness and heating equipment. Prominently display safety guidelines for heating food (might I suggest bacon or bratwurst?), reporting suspicious behavior and carefully dealing with electricity and open flames. While I love people to cook up great meals such as bacon and burgers, I always want the cooking to be done safely!
  1. Assemble a “Go-kit”. After any emergency, building occupants might need to shelter in place or move to a safe location on your property, potentially for days. The important components of a go-kit are one gallon of water per person, for three days, non-perishable food, flashlights, medications, first-aid kit, whistle, hand-crank or battery-operated radio (and extra batteries) and emergency blankets. And don’t forget to pack stuff for pets. Learn more about assembling an effective go-kit from the Red Cross.
  1. Emphasize cybersecurity. IT security experts predict 2016 will bring an increase in cybersecurity threats such as ransoming, cloud infiltrations, identity theft, and advanced phishing. The damages from a hacking attempt and possible leak of electronic data can be enormous. Learn best practices to prevent cybersecurity breaches, such as using strong passwords, limiting access to key employees, and regularly installing software updates and patches that can plug security holes.
  1. Subscribe to the RJWestmore Training System by Universal Fire/Life Safety Services. I love promoting our system because it helps commercial, residential, educational, institutional, government, retail and industrial buildings with compliance to fire/life safety codes. Our interactive, building-specific e-learning training system motivates and rewards building occupants instantly! It’s a convenient and affordable solution to all of the training needs of your facility, cuts property management training related workloads by 90% and saves building owners and managers over 50% compared to conventional training! Most importantly, IT SAVES LIVES! For more information about the best system out there, or to subscribe, click here.
Posted in BE SAFE, Building Evacuation, Disaster Preparedness, Earthquakes, Emergency Evacuations, Fire Life Safety Training, Fire Safety, Fires, Health & Welfare, High-Rise Buildings, Workplace Safety

Workplace Safety in High Rises 

Fotolia_66830031_XSThis week, we are covering several threats to workplace safety in high-rise buildings: earthquakes, fire, accidents, and running out of kibble. High-rise buildings pose specific risks for occupants as well as property owners and managers, due to their large size and the sheer number of potential affected tenants, visitors and on-site staff. September is National Pork Chop Appreciation Month. (Every month is pork month, according to National Hog Farmer.) But I should probably focus on the fact that it’s also National Preparedness Month, which makes it the perfect time to review workplace safety procedures.

Earthquakes

Sitting in even a well-built, earthquake-prepared high-rise during an earthquake can be a harrowing experience. The worst part for pooches is that we can sense earthquakes before they strike. Check out this great clip of one of my canine buddies reacting to a quake seconds before it hits!

Buildings caught in an earthquake can sway and move ever so slightly (which is intentional). I sway a little after a giant meal. Sometimes, it’s hard to stay upright when my tummy is full! Shaking can cause light nausea and movement of light fixtures, blinds, and ceiling panels. Building managers and owners can help tenants manage the risk of earthquakes and feel relatively secure during them by:

  • Encouraging tenants to stay seated during an actual earthquake (the dog in that video didn’t listen!). Most quakes are quite short in duration. In fact, most last less than one minute. So it is highly recommended that people refrain from using elevators while the earth shakes. It’s better to simply sit down (away from built-in cabinets and artwork) and wait for the quake to stop. I’m great at sitting. Someone just needs to say the word, and I go right down.

Fire

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reports that fires cost stores and businesses upwards of 708 million dollars. This is a staggering sum of money, and can be reduced if building occupants closely follow fire prevention best practices. In high rises, the damages caused by fires can be severe, as fires can rise quickly to upper floors. What’s more — it can be logistically challenging to evacuate large numbers of people unless those people have been properly trained about emergency evacuation procedures.

The Yellow HelmetTo prevent high-rise fires:

  • Remove combustible materials and eliminate walkway obstructions. Talk to tenants about the importance of maintaining clutter-free offices. Mounds of paper can fuel fires, and cluttered pathways could impede evacuation, and block the entrance to firefighting crews. Stairways should always be clear of debris.
  • Locate and check fire extinguishers. Consider creating and posting a video instructing tenants about the proper use of fire extinguishers. Selecting and installing the right type of extinguisher for any given area is also important. High rise buildings can contain thousands of extinguishers, so it’s important to monitor their locations and expiration dates. I have an extinguisher in the doghouse. Sometimes it gets a little smoky when I’m making a rack of ribs.
  • Plan and practice evacuation plans. Property owners and building managers should work closely with tenants to explain and practice evacuation procedures in the event of fire. Moving a large number of people through stairwells can prove challenging, particularly for the disabled and elderly individuals. Fire drills can help identify evacuation roadblocks and educate residents about safe evacuation routes. Fido and Whiskers must be safely escorted out of the building, too, if applicable.

Accidents

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 4,679 individuals were killed on the job in 2014, with tens of thousands of deaths attributable to occupational diseases. Although great strides have been made over the decades to improve worker safety, companies and property managers and their tenants will benefit when the safest possible workplace environment is provided.

Workplace Safety Best Practices:

  • Eliminate slippery floors. Falls are one of the most common causes of workplace accidents. This is why I use four stable legs. Property managers can arrange to have floors cleaned at night, to allow surfaces to dry properly before workers arrive. In snowy climates, melting ice and snow could leave slick surfaces. Non-slip mats and salt can also reduce this risk.
  • Uneven floors can also lead to falls. Look closely at cracked sidewalks and entryways, as well as the transitions between different types of flooring. For example, if tenants are allowed to make office or residence improvements and choose their own flooring, examine the area between hallways and tenant entrances to make sure the height of the surfaces match.

Remember that safety is an ever-present priority, at home and at work. So be sure to think about disaster planning all of the time–not just during September. A convenient and affordable way to make sure you are prepared for disasters and emergencies of virtually every kind is to subscribe to the RJWestmore Training System by Universal Fire/Life Safety Services, which has been designed to help improve and save lives. For more information about our system, or to subscribe, click here.

Posted in BE SAFE, Disaster Preparedness, Earthquakes, Health & Welfare

Happy National Preparedness Month

PrepareAthon firedogThe recent newsworthy earthquakes in Napa, California, in Chile, and off the coast of northern Japan, earlier this month are sobering reminders that it is always prudent to prepare for major shakers. Since September is National Preparedness Month, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is partnering with communities in Arizona, California, Nevada and Hawaii to encourage families, individuals and businesses to act now to increase preparedness for emergencies of every type throughout the U.S. We, at RJWestmore Training System by Universal Fire/Life Safety Services, join with FEMA to encourage preparedness throughout the month of September and beyond. After all, our goal is to “save lives through training” with the motto, #BESAFE.

Nancy Ward, FEMA Region IX Administrator said, “Preparedness is a shared responsibility. It takes a whole community and this is why you see federal, state, and county government agencies partnering with local municipalities, non-profits, and private businesses to spread the message about the importance of being prepared for emergency situations.”

National Preparedness Month is a nationwide, month-long effort hosted annually by the Ready Campaign and Citizen Corps, which encourages households, businesses and communities to prepare and plan for emergencies. One of the key messages is to be prepared in the event of an emergency, which includes making plans to be self-reliant for three days without utilities and electricity, water service, access to a supermarket or local services. People are further encouraged to prepare for the possibility of the unavailability of immediate response from agencies such as police, fire or rescue. According to FEMA, preparing for such disaster realities starts with five important steps:

  1. Stay informed about emergencies that could happen in your community. This year’s campaign will focus on “Family Connection,” encouraging families to prepare.

Identify sources of information in your community that will be helpful before, during and after an emergency. If you are aware of the potential emergencies that could strike your region, you will be better prepared during and after such an event. In other words, if you live in an area where tornadoes strike, take steps to prepare for tornadoes. If you live near a fault line, make sure you understand how to prepare for an earthquake, etc. Or, maybe consider moving somewhere where the earth doesn’t shake? Just a suggestion…Also, ask officials about your community’s disaster plans.

  1. Ask Questions:
  • What hazards are most likely?
  • How will I get alerts and warnings? Again, I recommend the Twilight Bark.
  • What is the advice and plans for sheltering and evacuation for the hazards that may impact the community?
  • Are there emergency contact numbers I should have for different situations?
  • Are there opportunities for preparedness education and training? There are ample opportunities for online training through the RJWestmore Training System!
  • Does my community have a plan? If so, can I obtain a copy?
  • What does the plan contain?
  • How often are plans updated?
  • What should I know about this plan?
  • What hazards does it cover?
  1. Make a plan for what to do in an emergency. Include the kids and pets in your plan. For business, make sure you include your employees. If you own or manage a facility, don’t forget your tenants or building occupants.
  2. Build an Emergency Supply Kit. Your kit should include a collection of basic items your household members (including pets) would need in the event of an emergency.

Be Disaster Aware 2014 corpTry to assemble your kit well in advance of an emergency. Since you may have to evacuate at a moment’s notice, be prepared to take essentials with you since you probably won’t have time to search for and/or shop for the supplies you need.

Set aside 3-day-per-person-(and dog) supply-of foodwater and other essentials. Local officials and relief workers will be on the scene after a disaster but they cannot reach everyone immediately. Help could arrive in hours or it could take days for relief workers to get to you.

Additionally, basic services such as electricity, gas, water, sewage treatment and telephones may be cut off for days or even a week, or longer. But you can always drink from the toilet. Works for me! Your supplies kit should contain items to help you manage during these outages.

  1. Get involved. A variety of activities and events are planned each year to commemorate National Preparedness Month. If you own a business, make sure you get everyone in your firm involved in the effort to prepare. An ideal way to do this is to subscribe to the RJWestmore Training System by Universal Fire/Life Safety Services. Our system allows property management companies to manage one site or an entire portfolio, with all users in the same system. You can train occupants, floor wardens, and fire safety directors; all user training and testing is recorded. Get quick access to building specific Emergency Responder information and other resources.

This year’s National Preparedness Month focuses on establishing family connections in any emergency preparedness plan. For information about preparedness events, check out FEMA’s Ready.Gov website. When a disaster of any kind strikes, prior planning and clear decisive action can help save lives. Our system offers a convenient and affordable solution to all of the training needs of your building(s). Choosing our service cuts property management training-related costs by 90% and saves you over 50% compared to conventional training! More importantly, it saves lives.

Posted in Building Evacuation, Disaster Preparedness, Earthquakes, Emergency Evacuations, High-Rise Buildings, Workplace Safety

Are you prepared for an earthquake?

Earthquake cracked ground floorWithin the past week, several significant earthquakes remind us that quakes strike without notice:

  • 4.4 earthquake near Westwood in LA
  • 6.9 shaker that struck just off the coast in northern California
  • 6.7-magnitude quake which shook Chile’s northern Pacific shore
  • 6.1 magnitude earthquake struck in the sea, about 100 miles southwest of Hiroshima

In the event a noteworthy earthquake hits and emergency personnel are unable to immediately respond to you and your colleagues, employees, family and/or friends. In fact, where earthquakes are concerned in prone geographical locations, “it’s not if, but when.” Bear in mind all regions carry risk of one type of disaster or another. So avoiding locations that have earthquakes won’t keep you from the risk of disaster. And since earthquakes happen without warning, well in advance, you have to identify the hazards around you. In other words, prepare! Where have I heard that before? Maybe in every post on my blog and tweet!

Before a Quake: Evaluate your work and home environment and diligently strive to eliminate all potential hazards.

  • Know your specific emergency plan and your role in it.
  • Familiarize yourself with a primary and secondary escape routes.
  • Make every effort to ensure your workplace is safe.
  • Study what to do before, during and after an earthquake.
  • Acquaint yourself with safe areas and stairwell exits
  • Identify and practice moving to your closest safe, drop, cover and hold locations.
  • Lower Heavy Objects
  • Install Safety Latches on Cabinets
  • Secure Tall Furniture
  • Consider what you would do if an earthquake led to power outages, fires and water leaks.
  • Maintain at least a three-day emergency supply kit at work, home and in your car.
    • Water
    • High-calorie, long-shelf life snack bars
    • First Aid Kit, including prescriptions and glasses (and don’t forget medications for your pets)
    • Solar blankets
    • Hat
    • Gloves
    • Sturdy tennis shoes
    • Whistle
    • Emergency out-of-state contact information (since family and friends in your location may also have experienced the quake and so could be unavailable)
    • Hand-crank flashlight and radio (so you aren’t dependent on batteries)
    • Dog food and treats
    • For a complete list of emergency supplies, check out subscriber information on the RJWestmore Training System by Universal Fire/Life Safety Services or Ready.Gov.

If a Quake Hits

Inside

  • Stay calm and remember that life safety is always the first priority.
  • Act quickly to protect yourself and your peeps and pups.
  • If you’re in an elevator, sit on the floor, against the wall, and wait for the shaking to stop. In the event of an earthquake, the elevator should temporarily stop and then move to the nearest floor, where the doors will open.
  • If you are inside a building, move away from windows, pictures, and glass partitions to keep yourself out of reach of flying glass. I didn’t know glass could fly. Seems like an unstable form of transportation.
  • Drop to the ground and duck under a safe, sturdy desk, table or other sturdy object so you are safe from falling debris.
  • Lean forward and cover the back of your head and neck. This would take gymnastics moves for a canine.
  • Hold on and be prepared to move along with the furniture, which could be jostled during the shaking.
  • If you can’t find anything to quickly duck under, sit with your back against an interior wall.
  • Stay put until you are certain the shaking has stopped.
  • Since most people are killed and injured in earthquakes because they are hit with falling objects outside, DO NOT RUN OUTSIDE!
  • If you are in a high-rise building, floor wardens will be surveying damage, setting up a triage area and collecting resources, listening to emergency radio reports for instructions and dealing with associated debris that could interfere with safe evacuation.
  • Be aware that fires can break out as a result of an earthquake.
  • Keep your eyes open for post-earthquake fires, water leaks and electrical shorts.
  • Anticipate possible power outages.

Outside

  • If you are outside when the quake hits, find a clear area away from anything that could potentially fall.
  • If you’re outside, on a sidewalk—near buildings, duck into a doorway.
  • If you’re driving, pull over and stop.
  • When the shaking stops, be prepared for aftershocks, which are likely.

After the Earthquake

  • Stay calm.
  • If you are trapped in debris, tap on metal or anything that will attract search parties.
  • Use a flashlight to signal rescuers. Shout only as a last resort.
  • Quickly survey the area to make sure you are far away from major hazards.
  • Listen to your emergency radio for relevant information.
  • Use your cell phone for emergencies only. Would ordering pizza count?
  • Be prepared to function in the dark, in the event power is lost.
  • Avoid unnecessary movements, which could stir up dust and make breathing difficult.
  • DO NOT USE AN OPEN FLAME (In other words—don’t smoke!)
  • DO NOT turn on electrical switches, which could produce sparks and lead to a fire. This is particularly important if you smell gas.
  • Do not move seriously injured people or provide medical care beyond your level of training, unless their location puts them in immediate danger. If possible, wait for emergency personnel to arrive on scene.
  • Do not evacuate until the shaking stops and it is safe to do so.
  • Widespread damage may make traveling more hazardous than sheltering in place.
  • If you are unsure whether you should stay or go, wait to evacuate until you have been instructed to do so by emergency personnel.
  • Once you are sure it is safe to evacuate or you have been told to do so by officials, remain calm; avoid elevators; and use handrails to guide you down stairwells.
  • Before opening any doors, use the back of your hand to check for signs of fire-such as heat emanating from doors.
  • Proceed to your designated safe area and check in.
  • DO NOT attempt to reenter the building until officials tell you it is safe to do so by facility personnel or emergency responders.

When a disaster strikes, prior planning and clear decisive action can help save lives. The best way to prepare for severe weather is to be aware. The RJWestmore Training System by Universal Fire/Life Safety Services is a convenient and affordable solution to all of the training needs of your building(s). Choosing our service cuts property management training-related costs by 90% and saves you over 50% compared to conventional training! More importantly, IT SAVES LIVES.

Posted in Building Evacuation, Disaster Preparedness, Earthquakes, High-Rise Buildings, Workplace Safety

Prepare for Earthquakes at the 2013 Great American ShakeOut

Global shakeout 2013Great American ShakeOut Drills are scheduled across the country in earthquake-vulnerable areas throughout the entire month of October. With 23.2 million people in America scheduled to participate, the events encourage people and their pets to be well prepared so they know what to do if they ever experience an earthquake. If you’re ever in an earthquake, remember to drop, cover and hold on. Doing so could save your life!

“Earthquakes are unpredictable. They can occur at any time on any day. (We) encourage people to be ready and know how to stay safe if a quake occurs,” said Chris Harmon, Regional Disaster Program Officer for the Southern Missouri Region of the American Red Cross.

Organized by the American Red Cross, the official Great ShakeOut Earthquake Drill will be held on Thursday, October 17 at 10:17a.m. I was going for a walk then, but maybe I’ll free up my schedule. Seems pretty important to be prepared! If you and/or your organization would like to take part, register at ShakeOut.org. Whether you participate in one of the Shakeout earthquake drills or not, if you live or travel to an earthquake-prone region, it’s important to familiarize yourself with what to do before, during and after an earthquake:

If you are inside when the shaking starts

  • Drop to the ground, take cover and hold on.
  • Move as little as possible.
  • Try to protect your head and torso.
  • If you are sitting at a desk or table, seek refuge under it and hold on until the shaking stops. Otherwise, drop wherever you are, as long as it isn’t on top of your dog.
  • If you are in bed, stay there, curl up and hold on. Protect your head with a pillow.
  • Stay inside until the shaking stops and it is safe to exit.
  • Use stairs rather than an elevator to exit the building.
  • Be aware that fire alarms and sprinkler systems frequently go off in buildings during an earthquake, even if there is no fire.
  • If you leave the building, don’t stop to grab things on your way out…even the bacon!

If you are outside when the shaking starts

  • Move as little as possible.
  • Find a clear spot away from buildings, power lines, trees and streetlights and drop to the ground until the shaking stops.
  • If in a vehicle, pull over to a clear location and stop.
  • Avoid bridges, overpasses and power lines if possible.
  • Stay inside your car with the seatbelt fastened until the shaking stops.
  • If a power line falls on the vehicle, do not get out. Wait for assistance.
  • If you are in a mountainous area or near unstable slopes or cliffs, be alert for falling rocks and other debris. Landslides are often triggered by earthquakes.
  • No matter how tempting it might be, don’t go back inside to grab beef jerky.

How to protect yourself if you are disabled

The Red Cross has prepared a detailed booklet to help you take special precautions to protect yourself during an earthquake. Click here for that free resource. The RJWestmore Training System by Universal Fire/Life Safety Services takes people with disabilities into consideration by providing lots of helpful resources available to subscribers.

Download the American Red Cross Earthquake App
The free American Red Cross Earthquake App for iPhone and Android and provides instant access to local and real-time information, which is crucial for emergency decision-making. View the app in English or Spanish based on user settings.

Features of the app include:

  • Simple steps and checklists people and pets can use to create a family emergency plan;
  • Earthquake epicenter location, impact magnitude and local geographical impact data provided by the U.S. Geological Survey;
  • One touch “I’m safe” messaging that allows users to broadcast reassurance to family and friends via social media outlets that they are out of harm’s way;
  • Toolkit with flashlight, strobe light and audible alarm; and
  • Locations of open Red Cross shelters.
  • I’d like to suggest they add a bacon locator. Just a thought…

The Earthquake App can be found in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store for Android. Whether you opt to register for a ShakeOut event in your region or take steps to prepare your tenants, family or employees, take steps to make sure you are prepared to survive and recover quickly from the next big earthquake!

When a disaster strikes, prior planning and clear decisive action can help save lives. The RJWestmore Training System by Universal Fire/Life Safety Services is 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% compared to conventional training! More importantly, IT SAVES LIVES.

Posted in Building Evacuation, Disaster Preparedness, Earthquakes, Fire Safety, High-Rise Buildings, Hurricanes

This week’s theme for Building Safety Month — Disaster Safety & Mitigation

家族で自主防災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:

 

  1. Develop a Family Action Plan.
  2. Create a Disaster Supply Kit.
  3. Stay tuned to Radio or TV news.
  4. 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!
  5. In high wind or hurricane-prone areas, make sure windows and shutters are code-compliant.
  6. Secure lawn furniture and any loose outdoor items.
  7. If you live in an affected area, build or retrofit a tornado-safe room.
  8. Use surge protectors in home and offices.
  9. In wildfire prone areas, clear debris within 30 feet of the exterior of any structure.
  10. 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).

Posted in Building Evacuation, Disaster Preparedness, Earthquakes, High-Rise Buildings

Get Ready for the 2012 Great California ShakeOut

Although hundreds of earthquakes strike the world at any given moment, we are all aware that, one day, the “Big One” may hit. If it did, would you be ready? Registration has reached nine million participants for this year’s Great California ShakeOut, to be held across the state of California on Oct. 18 at 10:18 a.m. This will be the fifth annual earthquake drill, which is designed to inspire people to “DROP, COVER & HOLD ON in case of earthquake. By the way, there is no need to hold on if you drop bacon on the floor. There is still time to register if you have not yet done so.

Kids, adults and pooches from schools, businesses, professional organizations, government agencies, neighborhoods and households all across California will take part in what is the largest earthquake drill in the world, designed to train people and pups how to safely react and recover quickly in case a major earthquake strikes California.

ShakeOut founder Mark Benthien is Director of Communication, Education, and Outreach for the Southern California Earthquake Center (SCEC) at the University of Southern California, and Executive Director of the Earthquake Country Alliance (ECA). The ECA coordinates the California ShakeOut and SCEC coordinates with ShakeOut regions across the U.S. and around the world.

ShakeOut press conferences and activities will take place on October 18th at various venues throughout the entire state of California:

  • Los Angeles at Union Station will host the Traveling Red Table, which was created by the California Earthquake Authority (CEA) and American Red Cross (Red Cross) will highlight the Seven Steps to Earthquake Safety, with emphasis on ShakeOut registration to run-through’s of the fifth step – how to “Drop, Cover, and Hold On” when the ground shakes. Union Station will also be the primary media venue on the Great California ShakeOut day. I like hanging out at Union Station because people often drop scraps from their uneaten lunches. But that’s off of the subject.
  • The CSUN ShakeOut Festival including a Preparedness Fair, will be held from 9 am – 1 pm, at the NE corner of Sierra Quad in Los Angeles County.
  • Orange Tree Lane in San Bernardino County — From 9 a.m. until noon, there will be a Preparedness Fair at 2024. The epicenter of ShakeOut-related activities will be held at the San Bernardino County Museum in Redlands and will feature emergency equipment, emergency responders and earthquake preparedness educational activities. Orange Tree Lane is also where they hold the annual fair. Fairs are great because they are full of food. But, sorry…off subject, again!
  • Earthquake preparedness fair held from 9 am to 1 pm on CSUN’s Sierra Quad complete with informative booths, demonstrations, handouts, and prizes.
  • San Diego’s Santa Fe Station, which will focus on what to do if you are on public transportation when a major earthquake strikes.
  • In San Francisco, a Union Square ShakeOut press event will feature a choreographed ShakeOut flash dance, culminating in a mass Drop, Cover and Hold On demonstration.
  • Throughout the state, ShakeOut drills educate people at schools, work and home about how to prepare for, survive, and recover from the next damaging earthquake. And this is serious business, folks. Like we always say at RJWestmore…we save lives through training. And preparing for an earthquake could save your life!
  • Preparation messages remind Californians to secure their space, create disaster and communications plans, collect and organize disaster supplies, and take steps to safeguard their finances by strengthening their property and considering earthquake insurance. I tried to get earthquake insurance on my doghouse. But Snoopy ruined it for everyone with that whole Red Baron routine.
  • Survival messages provide correct techniques for immediate Drop, Cover and Hold On responses when the earth starts shaking – and what to do when the shaking stops to improve safety by helping the injured, preventing further damage, and evacuating from tsunami zones.
  • Recovery strategies include how to restore daily live by reconnecting with others, repairing damage and rebuilding our communities.

ShakeOut participation is free and takes only a few minutes. Information about how to register and participate is found at http://www.shakeout.org/california. “Don’t be left out of the ShakeOut!”

ShakeOut began as a Southern California drill, quickly spread statewide, throughout the West, and then to the Central and Southeast U.S., as well as to several U.S. Territories, Canada, New Zealand, Japan, and Italy. Additional people and organizations in many other states and countries are also registering independent drills.

“It’s amazing to see how quickly this has become a worldwide movement,” said Benthien. “ShakeOut is a fun and easy way for people, organizations and communities in many regions to get prepared now, together, before major earthquakes.”

According to ShakeOut organizers, 4.5 million people across the U.S. have participated in Great ShakeOut events already this year—in the Central U.S., Utah, and even in New Zealand. In total, more than 15 million people will practice earthquake safety in 2012 as part of the various ShakeOut drills. For more details about events or to register to participate in any of the drills visit www.shakeout.org.

ShakeOut is organized by the Earthquake Country Alliance, a partnership of the Southern California Earthquake Center, California Emergency Management Agency, USGS, California Earthquake Authority, the American Red Cross, and many others. Extensive information is available for the public and media at http://www.ShakeOut.org/California. Event details are available at www.shakeout.org/california/news.

When a disaster strikes, prior planning and clear decisive action can help save lives. For the latest emergency management training for facility/building managers, contact RJWestmore, Inc. Our new Version 3.0 system offers the best emergency training system.