In Santa Ana, California, corporate headquarters for the Allied Universal Fire Life Safety Training System, heavy rains have fallen. Winds have gusted. Mud has slid. And temps have dipped below freezing. To Southern Californians, this weather feels extreme. In contrast, those who live in the Midwest and East Coast are facing frigid temps on an entirely different level. In fact, at least 21 people have died as a result of bitter Arctic weather known as the Polar Vortex. This weather takes cold to the ultimate extreme, much like bacon takes pork products to new heights.
What is a Polar Vortex
The media coined the term Polar Vortex in 2014 during a particularly frigid storm system. I think I’ll coin the term “cat vortex” to describe feline activity year round. It refers to a large pocket of very cold air (typically the coldest air in the Northern Hemisphere) which sits over the polar region during the winter season. Located six miles up in the atmosphere, the 2019 system has blasted much of the American Midwest and Northeast with temperatures cold enough to bring on frostbite within minutes.
How to Be Safe in Cold Weather
Whether you are impacted by the Polar Vortex or not, you should take steps to be safe in cold weather by following these tips:
- Stay Inside
One of the most important things you can do isstay inside as much as possible. Also, bring pets inside. We fare better because of our coats, freezing temps can be dangerous for us, too. Pay attention to weather service warnings. The coldest part of the day is typically early morning. So, whenever possible, stay home.
- Prepare Your Car
Don’t let cold weather catch you off guard. In advance of storms or approaching cold fronts, get your car ready for cold weather use.
- Service the radiator.
- Maintain antifreeze level.
- Check tire tread. And, if necessary, replace tires with all-weather or snow tires.
- Keep gas tank full to avoid ice in the tank and fuel lines.
- Use a wintertime formula in your windshield washer.
- Prepare a winter emergency kit to keep in your car in case you become stranded. If applicable, include items for pets in your kit.
- Stay Warm
- If you must go outside, cover hands with mittens to keep fingers together. If you have paws, you probably don’t need mittens. But some owners use booties. I’m not a fan. This also traps additional heat more effectively than gloves, which separate fingers.
- Layer loose-fitting and lightweight clothing under outer clothing. Select tightly woven knits and water-repellent material. Wool, silk or polypropylene inner layers hold body heat better than cotton.
- Avoid activities that would lead to perspiration. The combination of wet clothing and cold weather can cause the body to quickly lose heat. Generally, I love activities that make me sweat. But I am a dog.
- Watch for Frostbite
This dangerous condition occurs when the tissue just below the skin freeze. The extremities such as fingers, toes, nose, ears and paws are most likely to be affected, but any exposed area skin is susceptible. If skin turns blue or gray, is very swollen, blistered or feels hard and numb, seek immediate medical attention immediately.
- Identify Hypothermia
This occurs when the body loses heat faster than it is able to produce heat. This leads to dangerously low body temperature. Normal body temperature is 98.6 degrees. Hypothermia can occur when a person or animal’s body temperature falls below 95 degrees.Symptoms of hypothermia include shivering, slurred speech or difficulty speaking, confusion or memory loss, sleepiness, stiff muscles,slow and shallow breathing, weak pulse and clumsiness, or lack of coordination. In infants, you may also spot bright red and cold skin.
About the Allied Universal Fire Life Safety Training System
In every kind of weather, we are committed to your safety. Our training helps with compliance to fire life safety codes and instantly issues a certificate to building occupants who complete the course! It’s a convenient and affordable solution designed to fit the training needs of your facility. Click here for more information or to subscribe.
The 2019 flu season is well underway. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) estimates that six to seven million people have suffered one strain of influenza or another already this season. DogFlu.com reports two strains of dog influenza appearing in virtually every state. The CDC puts the number of (human strains) of flu-related hospitalizations, nationwide, between 69,000 and 84,000 people. With flu activity expected to continue in the coming weeks and months, we are focusing this week’s blog post on the preemptive measures you can take to stay healthy and avoid this unwelcome harbinger of winter.
What is the Flu?
The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by various strains of influenza viruses. Symptoms range from mild to severe, with serious outcomes resulting in hospitalization or even death. Certain people groups, such as the elderly, young children or anyone who has a compromised immune system face an increased risk of serious flu-related complications. Even relatively healthy people prefer to skip the virus altogether. Yeah, the flu (canine or the human variety) isn’t fun.
How the Flu Differs from a Common Cold
Although the flu and colds are respiratory illnesses, they are brought on by different viruses. Both viruses impact the upper respiratory system and share similar symptoms. As a result, suffers often struggle to tell the difference between the two. Most of the time, when it’s a cold, people are able to suffer through a runny or stuffy nose and rebound in a week. With the flu, symptoms are typically more intense and have the potential to lead to serious complications, such as pneumonia, bacterial infections or hospitalizations.
How to Avoid Catching the Flu:
- Avoid close contact with sick people or puppies. If you must share airspace with them, wear a mask, whichmay help block airborne germs and prevent the transmission of germs from your hands to your mouth or nose. This seems wise for preventing the spread of other illnesses, too. Just a thought.
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. After using a tissue, throw it in the trash and wash your hands. If you don’t have access to a tissue, sneeze into your sleeve to limit the spread of germs.
- Frequently wash your hands with soap and hot water. If neither is available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. I’m not a fan of hand sanitizer because it makes my fur wet.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth to limit the spread of germs.
- Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated.
- The CDC recommends getting the flu shot. Although several strains of flu exist, the injection combats many.
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.
The following is provided for informational purposes only. Allied Universal is not a medical expert. Consult your healthcare provider before pursuing any vaccines or taking any medication.
It’s that time of year again. Leaves are turning, football has begun, the weather is cooling off, and it’s time to fill backpacks with school necessities—pens and pencils, notebooks, laptops and bacon. But when you check that all important “to-do list” this year for your student, make sure to include the most important item on the list—inoculations. Continue reading “Back-to-School Safety: College Vaccinations”
Part 1 in a Series
Extreme weather causes some of the most devastating natural disasters known to man and beast. Already this year, the United States has faced six weather and climate-related major disaster events, which the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reports have resulted in 36 deaths and economic losses exceeding one billion dollars. The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) breaks these disasters into eight major categories: extreme heat, floods, hurricanes, landslides and mudslides, lightning, tornadoes, tsunamis, and winter weather. I’m not sure why cats aren’t included on the list, since they’re the number one cause of disasters in my world. This week, we will discuss extreme heat. Check back for future posts, which will conclude our series about extreme weather-related disasters. Continue reading “Extreme Heat: Severe Weather Disasters”
With sudden onset of congestion, body aches, fever and chills, over the past few months, millions of Americans have been battling Influenza, aka the flu. Worse yet, the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) reports that, worldwide, somewhere between 300,000 and 646,000 people die each year from seasonal flu-related respiratory illnesses.
Continue reading “Flu Impacts American Business”
Out of concern for everyone who was directly or indirectly affected by recent traumatic events, for this week’s post, I will dispense with my usual “firedog-isms.” Check back next week to read my unique “canine take.”
The term “Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder” (PTSD) was originally coined to refer to veterans of war. Now, doctors diagnose PTSD in anyone who has experienced a shocking, scary or dangerous event and suffers associated long-term physical and/or psychological symptoms. With the recent prevalence of earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, wildfires, active shooting events and other manmade and natural disasters, 13 million people worldwide are believed to suffer from the malady. Continue reading “PTSD & Mental Health”
Part 2 in a 3-Part Series
As teachers and administrators across the country are welcoming students to a new school year, we want to help make sure your child starts 2017-2018 off right. Follow these simple safety steps, adapted from the National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC), which are important whether your student is just beginning his educational journey or is close to earning a degree. Not to brag, but our son, J.R., recently graduated from puppy kindergarten. School safety is of paramount importance since children spend more hours at school than anywhere besides their own homes. Facing myriad obstacles, such as bullying and peer pressure, and natural or manmade disasters, students now more than ever need to proactively take steps to #BeSafe. Continue reading “How to Be Safe at School: Bullying”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) classify more than two dozen diseases as “vaccine preventable or potentially preventable.” Unfortunately, however, the incidence of these diseases has been rising recently, even in countries with a high standard of living and universal access to health care. WHO officials contend there is arguably no single preventive health intervention more cost-effective than immunization. Immunization averts an estimated two to three million deaths every year from diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), and measles. However, an additional 1.5 million deaths could be avoided, provided global vaccination coverage improves. I was glad to read that cases of rabies have decreased thanks to those vaccines. Continue reading “National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM)”
Observed each June, National Safety Month is an educational effort organized by the National Safety Council (NSC), which focuses on reducing leading causes of injury and death at work, on the road and in our homes and communities. With the hashtag #KeepEachOtherSafe, the campaign concentrates on one aspect of safety each week. My personal favorite hashtag is #BeSafe. NSC efforts align with the Allied Universal Fire Life Safety Training goal to save lives through preparation. To increase awareness, we are offering the following blog post, to help promote week three of the campaign: “Prepare for Active Shooters.”
Continue reading “Active Shooter Safety”
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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 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.