Arthritis 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”
Parkinson’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”
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. 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.
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 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.
- Extra batteries
- 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 items
- Prescription medications
- Toothbrush and toothpaste
- Extra keys to your house and car
- Special-needs items for children, seniors or disabled family members
Don’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
- 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.
Earthquakes in the News
With two powerful earthquakes striking Mexico last month, now is a good time for the 46th annual International ShakeOut Day, to be held October 19, 2017. Millions of people worldwide will practice how to Drop, Cover, and Hold On this month. In California, where Allied Universal Services Corporate Headquarters is located, Great Shakeout Drills will occur on the 19th, at precisely 10:19 a.m. Continue reading “Are you ready to Shake?”
Earlier this month, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) added a noteworthy new feature to their free smartphone app, which pushes notifications to users’ devices to remind them to take important steps to prepare their homes and families for disasters. I think someone should come up with an app to remind dog owners to feed their pets.
The FEMA app reminds users about:
- Pre-scheduled safety and preparedness tips
- Routine smoke alarm testing
- Fire escape plan drills
- Emergency kit updates
- Smoke alarm battery replacement
“In just two minutes, a home fire can become life-threatening,” said U.S. Fire Administrator Ernest Mitchell Jr. “Remembering to take small steps to prepare, such as ensuring your smoke alarm is properly maintained and practicing your home fire escape plan, will reduce fire fatalities and ensure our communities are safer. We hope this new feature to FEMA’s app will help save lives by encouraging more families to be prepared.”
At the RJWestmore Training System by Universal Fire/Life Safety Services, we are committed to pointing our subscribers to helpful disaster preparedness information from a variety of reputable sources, including FEMA. What’s more, we have recently tweaked our own offerings, so our subscribers can e-train at their convenience, on desktop computer, laptop or iPad. Those are great options for millennials, since they spend a lot of time on their devices.
For their part, FEMA officials tout their new app reminder feature, saying it provides a customizable checklist of emergency supplies, maps of open shelters and open recovery centers, and offers tips for surviving natural and manmade disasters. The app also incorporates push notifications of weather alerts from the National Weather Service. Through the feature, users can stay on top of weather patterns for up to five national locations.
Other key features of the app:
- Weather Alerts: Users can elect to receive alerts on severe weather happenings in specific areas, so users can follow potential weather-related threats to family and friends.
- Safety Tips: Includes tips about how to stay safe before, during, and after more than 20 types of hazards, including floods, hurricanes, tornadoes and earthquakes.
- Disaster Reporter: Users can upload and share disaster-related photos.
- Maps of Disaster Resources: Users can locate and receive driving directions for open shelters and disaster recovery centers.
- Apply for Assistance: The app provides easy access to federal disaster assistance applications.
- Information in Spanish: The app defaults to Spanish-language content for smartphones set to Spanish as the default language.
- Dog Treat Reminders. Okay, I admit this isn’t one of their features, but I think it would be a great addition.
The latest version of the FEMA app is available for free in the App Store for Apple devices and Google Play for Android devices. Users who already have the app downloaded on their device should download the latest update for the reminder alerts feature to take effect. The reminders are available in English and Spanish. To learn more, visit: The FEMA App: Helping Your Family Weather the Storm.
Remember that safety is a daily priority. So be sure to think about ways to #BeSafe all of the time. 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.
Tornadoes present a significant weather-related risk across much of the country. Last week, we began a two-part series about how to prepare for and recover from tornadoes, which is particularly important in 2016, thanks to El Niño. I sure hope El Niño won’t affect bacon production. That’s at the top of my emergency supply list.
As noted in last week’s post, the RJWestmore Training System has recently added a tornado module to further enhance our comprehensive training program. Last week, our post covered what to do to prepare for a tornado. The following post will wrap up our two-week series, focusing on what to do during and after a tornado.
During a Tornado
Many cities use an undulating, wailing warning system that sounds for three to four minutes to alert the public about tornadoes. I know a lot of dogs who use a similar system to warn their masters of impending doom. If you hear this signal or are otherwise notified that a tornado is imminent:
- Remain calm.
- At home or work, go to the pre-determined safe zone or basement as quickly as possible.
- If you are in a high-rise building, don’t stay in a large, open area that has windows. Instead, seek out a closet or interior hallway to take cover.
- Do not leave the building.
- If you cannot get to a safe zone or basement, seek shelter under a large, sturdy piece of furniture. I find that desks and chairs provide comfort as well as protection.
- Steer clear of windows and avoid being hit by flying objects.
- Listen to NOAA weather conditions.
- If you are away from home, find a small, interior room or hallway and protect your head and neck with your arms and a coat or blanket. And if you’re a canine, tuck in your tail.
- If you are in a vehicle, do not attempt to outdrive the tornado. But do not stay in the car, as tornadoes can significantly damage automobiles. Park the car as quickly as possible, well away from traffic. If possible, find shelter in a sturdy building or underground. If you are not near a building, seek shelter in a spot that is at the lowest level possible. It is a myth that an overpass would provide shelter from a tornado. It is far safer to literally lie low and cover your head and neck with your arms and a coat or blanket. But make sure you are far from trees and vehicles.
After a Tornado
Studies have shown that a great deal of tornado-related injuries occur after a tornado when people are walking among the debris and enter damaged buildings. Injuries can also occur during rescue attempts, cleanup and other post-tornado activities. So be careful and follow these tips:
- Unless you are facing a life-threatening situation, do not leave the safe zone until the warning has officially been lifted.
- Listen for emergency information and instructions as well as weather updates and the “all clear” signal.
- Do a quick survey of the damage to determine major hazards, looking for fires, leaks and electrical shorts.
- Anticipate power outages and use the flashlight in your emergency kit to light the way as you check interior spaces and during evacuation.
- Take time to have a snack. (Okay…I added that suggestion. But I think that snacks are always a good idea.)
- Do not use an open flame or turn on electrical switches, especially if you smell gas.
- Establish a safe location to use for triage. Do not move seriously injured people unless they are in immediate danger of further injury.
- When it is safe to do so, use telephones for emergency calls, only.
- Avoid unnecessary movement, which could stir up debris and affect breathing.
- If you are trapped, tap on metal or another loud surface or, better yet, use a whistle to alert emergency responders. Shout only as a last resort. Bark, if applicable.
- When evacuation routes are determined to be safe and you are instructed to do so:
- Remain calm
- Do not use elevators
- Proceed to the safest exit, using the most continuous handrail
- Before opening any doors, feel the door with the back of your hand (or paw), to check for heat.
- Proceed to your designated safe refuge area and check in.
- Do not reenter the building until you are told it is safe to do so by building management and emergency responders.
Remember that safety is a daily priority, so be sure to think safety all of the time. 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.
According 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?
- Take more naps. Easily attainable and lots of fun.
- Eat more food. I will resolve to learn the magic ways of the refrigerator and figure out how to help myself to leftovers.
- Guilt people into giving me more belly rubs. My “puppy dog eyes” still work magic.
Seven Safety Resolutions (for Humans) in 2016:
- Review 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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Shortly before publishing this lighthearted blog post about disaster preparation relative to a fictional Zombie Apocalypse, we learned of a real life active-shooter incident at ZombiCon in Fort Meyers, Florida. As a result of the event, one person was killed and five were injured. Our hearts go out to all of those affected by the shooting. For helpful information about how to prepare for, and survive an active shooter incident, see our Active Shooter blog posts.
With The Walking Dead back on television, and Halloween right around the corner, it’s time to consider whether you have a sufficient Zombie Apocalypse plan. While I would rather ask the mail carrier and the vacuum cleaner to tea and biscuits than deal with zombies, we are taking a cue from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), to use the season to prepare our subscribers and friends for disasters of any kind…including those of the zombie variety. After all, although the chances of encountering such an attack might be rare, prepping for “walkers” is a good way to get serious about disaster planning.
The series of blog posts and posters that the CDC recently released emphasizes preparedness, discussed protocols for quarantine as well as relevant medical procedures which would be implemented in the case of any disaster…including a zombie attack. The point of the CDC’s campaign is that disasters can happen entirely out of the blue. So plan for the worst-case scenario–which, in this case, would be hungry zombies. As terrible as it was, the great bacon shortage of 1999 would probably pale in comparison to an actual Zombie Apocalypse.
Build Your Zombie Kit
Planning in advance is the best way to survive any disaster. Zombie attacks happen quickly and without warning, so create a zombie defense kit to avoid becoming part of the brain-sucking horde. This post reminds me of the Will Smith movie I Am Legend. Dogs in the film turned into vampire/zombies. That was a scary scene!
Key pieces of your zombie kit should include:
- A First Aid Kit. If a zombie takes a nibble instead of a huge bite, you might be able to ward off infection with antibiotic ointment and a bandage.
- Emergency Flares. Use these to either spotlight or repel zombies (depending on your game plan) and to signal first responders. Unfortunately, for me and my canine companions, use of a flare gun is impossible without opposable thumbs. So, with a little luck, I’m hoping we would survive without them.
- Fresh water. Quickly moving from place to place makes you thirsty. And when adrenaline is pumping, hydration is vital. In fact, people can only survive a few days without water. So store enough to allow one gallon per person per day, and make sure you have a three-day supply. Dogs are lucky. Give us a puddle of rainwater and we have instant drinking water.
- A multi-function tool, with a knife, screwdriver, can opener, and other handy accessories. A knife is useful for dispatching zombies as well as cutting rope, and an opener is helpful if you need to open a can of tuna.
- Sturdy work gloves, which will come in handy in potentially sticky situations. Zombie guts will slip out of your hands unless you have a secure grasp on them.
- Battery-powered or hand-cranked radio for important alerts. You will want to make sure to stay up on where “the walkers” are headed. In the event that the zombie invasion leads to an Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP), the only way to stay connected will be with a hand-cranked or battery-operated radio.
- Copies of personal documents such as passports, birth certificates and contact information. You should also have your rabies shots on file. You don’t want a little froth to be confused for zombie drool. The zombies will likely have to pass through customs. So have your ID on hand in case you need to cross international borders.
Establish Safe Zones
Pick a safe place to meet in the event of the Zombie Apocalypse–preferably someplace where you won’t have to climb over lots of obstacles, which would make escape more difficult.
- If applicable, practice the evacuation plan for your high-rise building, setting alternate meeting locations (in case the zombies decide to host a party in your first location). Be sure to grab puppies on your way out, as well, in case you’re awesome and bring your pet to work.
- Discuss communication methods beforehand, so you know how to contact people who fail to show up on time. Walkie-talkies with fresh batteries are essential.
If you’ve seen The Walking Dead or any of the dozens of zombie movies, then you can glean some advice, which is prudent during any disaster:
- Stick together. Work with a group to best manage a disaster. Going solo is typically not a good idea. I might talk tough, but when it comes to zombies, I’m staying in a big group!
- Don’t make rash decisions. Think about various options before rashly choosing the one that would put you in danger. I made a decision to eat a squirrel once. Not a wise move.
- Use resources wisely. Ration water and food and keep track of necessary equipment in case the disaster continues for an extended period of time.
While this post is meant to be “tongue-in-cheek,” it is serious in that we want to remind our subscribers and friends about the very real need for proactive disaster planning. If you are prepared for the Zombie Apocalypse, you will also be ready to face the unexpected, which is the right mindset to adopt during any type of disaster.
Remember that safety is a daily priority, so be sure to think about disaster planning all of the time. 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.
This 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.
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:
- Providing education about building safety, including instruction about how the design of high-rise buildings is intended to mitigate the movement of earthquakes. For this reason, most tall buildings are actually considered safer than low-rise buildings during a quake. This has me thinking. Has anyone ever built a 20-story doghouse?
- 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.
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.
- 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.
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.
Investigators are trying to determine the cause of a fire that broke out early Monday morning, May 19, at a Memphis-area apartment complex. A woman was reportedly inside the unit where the fire originated. She was treated on the scene for minor smoke inhalation. Smoke inhalation is gross. That’s why I can’t understand how anyone can smoke. Fortunately, most of the damage from this fire was contained to the one where it began — although other units sustained associated water and smoke damage. Would your tenants know how to respond if a similar incident occurred in your high-rise building?
When fires break out in high-rise structures, the potential for loss of high if occupants are untrained and proper fire life safety systems are not utilized. The reasons for this are many, including the fact that fires can burn for extended periods of time before occupants even become aware of the burn. I guess I should be glad my doghouse is relatively small. Smoke and deadly gases from the fire are just as deadly as the fire and are major cause of injury and death during a fire situation. What’s more, the sheer size of tall structures increases the amount of time it takes for firefighters to reach flames.
According to the US Fire Administration (USFA), it is not uncommon for 15 minutes to elapse from the start of a fire to the time when first responders reach the blaze. And a lot of damage can be done in a quarter of an hour. Just look at what cats do when their step out. So the best way to manage high-rise fires is to provide training so occupants will immediately know what to do when they hear an alarm, smell smoke or discover a fire.
Did you know that federal, state, and local laws require annual training for every commercial building occupant? That’s a good thing. Unfortunately, despite this fact, studies show that less than 20% of occupants have ever trained or know what to do in an emergency. That’s a bad thing! That means 80% of your occupants are at risk and could represent a liability to both themselves and you.
We believe that every occupant should have the ability to be trained anytime, at their convenience, as often as they want to learn. We also believe that most dogs can be trained, too. Our mission is to create a safer, more informed occupant who understands their responsibilities and may be capable of helping others.
The RJWestmore Training System by Universal Fire/Life Safety Services 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. Choosing our service cuts property management training related workloads by 90% and saves you over 50% compared to conventional training! Most importantly, IT SAVES LIVES! And that’s always a good thing.
Our fully-integrated system helps building owners and property managers:
- Manage one site or an entire portfolio
- All users are in the same system
- Train occupants, floor wardens & fire safety directors
- Keep track of user training and testing
- Monitor building specific Emergency Responder information
Our Fully Automated System provides automatic:
- Certificates to each user (instantly via email)
- Annual reminders to each user (per training module)
- Employee compliance reports to each tenant – quarterly
- Notifications to local fire departments
- Creation of real time Special Assistance and Floor Warden lists
- Notification of updates to Special Assistance list
- Regular updates to Floor Warden & Fire Safety Director lists
- Updates and maintenance notifications
Distinct levels of user access:
- Property Manager: Full rights and access to one or multiple properties. Receive automatic updates & reminders.
- Fire Department: Online access to confidential FD documents, reports and training records. Automatic emails.
- Fire Safety Director: Access to Fire Dept. documents & invites and tracks Floor Wardens.
- Floor Warden: Tracks occupant training per floor
- Tenant Manager: Add/update/delete/track employees — all reports
- Occupant/Employee: View training/tests view & print documents. Add & remove themselves from the individuals who need assistance list.
- Each level is secure and you can update the contents any time.
- Each user level has its own Resources section.
Property owners/managers and their tenant employers should make sure they train their tenants to calmly and quickly respond to emergency situations including high-rise fires. Here are a few simple fire safety steps you can take to prevent the loss of life and property in high rise fires.
Before the Emergency:
- Don’t lock fire exits or doorways, halls or stairways. Fire doors provide a way out during the fire and slow the spread of fire and smoke. So never prop stairway or other fire doors open. If your property has locking stairwell egress doors for security reasons, make sure they all automatically unlock upon alarm.
- Familiarize yourself with your building’s evacuation plan. And know your primary and secondary escape routes. Make sure everyone knows what to do if the fire alarm sounds and where their interior and exterior safe refuge areas are located.
- Plan and execute frequent drills so escape plans become second nature. You can use your RJWestmore Online Training System to conduct tabletop drills and virtual evacuation route walks using the “Map View” button on your homepage.
- If you’re in a position of leadership, lead by example. Participate in all drills, set training deadlines that include recognition for compliance. Make participation and creating a safety conscious environment part of your everyday life.
- Learn to immediately recognize the sound of your building’s fire alarm and post emergency numbers near telephones.
During the Emergency:
- Remain calm.
- Don’t assume someone else has called the fire department. It is better to over-report than run the risk of failing to contact emergency personnel. After all, early notification is critical.
- Before you try to leave the office or living space, feel the door/door knob with the back of your hand. If the door/door knob feels warm to the touch, do not attempt to open it. Move to the safest secondary escape route and evacuate.
- If the doorknob is too hot to handle, stay where you are and wait for rescue.
- Stuff cracks around the door with towels, rags, bedding or tape and cover vents to keep smoke out.
- If you have access to a telephone, call the fire department to explain exactly where you are located. Do this even if you can see can see emergency personnel outside at the scene.
- Wait at a window and signal for help by waving something bright or with a flashlight, etc. Anything to attract attention.
- As a last life safety resort, if possible in your building, open the window, but do not break it, you may need to close the window if smoke rushes in.
- Once you are sure that emergency responders are aware of your location and need to be rescued, be patient.
If the door/door knob DOES NOT feel warm, carefully open it.
- If you do attempt to open the door, brace your body against the door while staying low to the floor and slowly open it just a crack. This is the best method for detecting the presence of smoke or fire.
- If no smoke appears in hallway or stairwells, follow your building’s evacuation plan and move to your safest predetermined alternate escape route.
- If the building’s fire alarm is not sounding, pull the nearest one while safely and calmly exiting your floor.
- If you encounter smoke or flames anywhere as you exit the building, stay low to avoid hot smoke and gasses. If you cannot evacuate, move as far from the fire as possible (closing as many doors as possible between you and fire) and shelter in place. Stuff the cracks around doorways and vents to block out smoke. Call 911 and building management/security to let them know your exact location. If you are near a window DO NOT BREAK THE WINDOW. Wave something to attract attention. Breaking a window as a last resort may draw the smoke and fire closer to you. I guess I should be glad our doghouse doesn’t have any windows.
When a disaster of any kind 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 costs by 90% and saves you over 50% compared to conventional training! More importantly, IT SAVES LIVES.