Each area of the United States is susceptible to certain types of natural disasters. Whether they morph into full-blown catastrophes depends on what we do now to prepare, survive and recover. One potential disaster that threatens millions of Americans each year is earthquakes. To help people prepare, FEMA sponsors an annual campaign designed to inspire ShakeOut drills each October. Continue reading “International ShakeOut Day October 18”
National Fire Prevention Week: “Look. Listen. Learn.”
In 1920, President Woodrow Wilson announced the first ever event to commemorate the Great Chicago Fire, which occurred in October of 1874. Each October since 1924, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has led the annual charge to implement National Fire Prevention Week™. This year’s observance takes place this week, with the theme, “Look. Listen. Learn. Be aware. Fire can happen anywhere™.” I guess that includes doghouses! Continue reading “Happy National Fire Prevention Week”
This week, as we remember our emergency first responders who lost their lives in the 9/11 tragedy, we ramp up to honor some additional unsung heroes — security professionals. Don’t forget about guard dogs!
Security officers, who strive to help maintain safe and secure workplaces, schools, shopping malls and communities, deserve heartfelt appreciation. Hard-working, highly trained men and women, security officers are counted among our country’s first responders. These individuals deter crime, lead evacuations, provide information, work closely with local law enforcement and are constantly vigilant in their efforts to keep us safe. Continue reading “Security Guard Appreciation”
Each year, government organizations such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), nonprofit agencies, such as the American Red Cross and private enterprise, including Allied Universal, to mark September as the official month to observe national emergency preparedness. I wonder why this lasts for 30 days, when National Dog Day comes but one day a year? Continue reading “Emergency Preparedness Month 2018”
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 3 in a 3-Part Series about Severe Weather
Weather-related disasters lead to devastating loss of life and cost billions of dollars each year. The first post in our three-part series about severe weather disasters focused on extreme heat. The second entry discussed floods. This last post will tackle landslides and mudslides, since they so often accompany other severe-weather events. My son, JR, likes slides at the park but these slides don’t sound like fun. Continue reading “Landslides and Mudslides”
Part 2 in a 3-Part Series
Weather-related disasters across the world lead to devastating loss of life and cost billions of dollars each year. Our last post about severe weather disasters focused on extreme heat. The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) breaks weather-related disasters into eight major categories. We’re working on a flood of upcoming blog posts! This week, we will tackle one such designation, floods. Check back, as the final post in this series will focus hurricanes, landslides and mudslides.
A flood is a temporary overflow of water onto land that is normally dry. According to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), floods are the most common natural disaster in the United States. Recent floods in Charleston, and Texas are taxing resources, destroying property, injuring hundreds and resulting in troubling associated issues such as mosquito-borne disease and infrastructure damage.
Continue reading “Severe Weather: Floods”
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”
According to AAA, nearly 37 million Americans (88 percent of travelers), will drive to their destinations this summer – which represents an increase of 4.7 percent over 2017. Another three million will take to the skies, increasing air travel by 6.8 percent over last summer. Other modes of transportation will include cruises, trains and buses, which will be used by nearly two million travelers. Reminds me of that movie, Planes, Trains & Automobiles. It’s a good film, even though there aren’t any dogs in it. If you plan to join the ranks of summer travelers sometime between now and Labor Day, heed necessary precautions and take these steps to avoid travel-related scams to ensure your journey is safe.
If you opt to take a cab, you could fall victim to the case of the broken meter. If the driver says he can’t use the meter for some odd reason, but promises to give you “the best rate,” find another mode of transportation. Or avoid this altogether by negotiating rates before starting the journey. That is why I prefer traveling on all fours!
More serious issues could put you at risk of bodily harm. If you’re traveling via cab, Uber or Lyft and sense that something isn’t right, ask to be dropped off ASAP. In the meantime, pull up the number for emergency services (911 in the U.S., 999 in Europe and Latin America) for easy access. Click here to see emergency numbers throughout the world. Uber has also recently launched a high-powered emergency button for use with its app. Did you know they also have a smartphone app that barks?
Active air travel scamsusually involve the offer of free tickets, available online via several major airlines. These amount to elaborate phishing schemes, designed to steal and resell credit card and other personal information. Also, the fine print on the so-called “free tickets” offer states that in agreeing to the terms, the user opts to volunteer to receive telemarketing phone calls and text messages from a variety of different companies. Good rule of thumb—if something seems too good to be true, it probably is. This tip is good even if you’re like me and don’t have thumbs!
First, unless you win a sweepstakes prize, you have probably not won a free cruise, no matter what a telemarketer says. Popular cruise-related scams include:
- Free Cruise
Once you select the offer, you receive a combination of fees and taxes (including those imposed by the cruise line in addition to government fees), a requirement to sit through a high-pressure timeshare presentation, in exchange for a dingy cabin in an obsolete ship without air-conditioning, sub-par land accommodations in a run-down resort; and (5) pressure to “upgrade” ship or land accommodations.
- Online Scams
A potentially dangerous cruise scam can compromise your identity, files, or both. A cruise line emails you with instructions to click a link for more information about your upcoming cruise. This “click-bait” originates with someone who has hacked the cruise line’s or operator’s data, to obtain a list of current and prospective customers. The mail itself or the link contains malware. Be careful when you’re online, people!
- Ridiculous Discounts
The promise of “75 percent off” sounds like a great deal. But the truth is that the “base price” is fiction. Compare deals by searching for similar cruises and checking objective review websites.
Always be aware when traveling by train or railway, which is a very popular mode of transportation.
- In New York City, subway crimes occur daily.
- Groping and other sexual assaults are so common on that the Tokyo Metropolitan Police and the JR Railway Company worked together to establish Women-only carriages.
- In Mumbai, groups of men posed as “railway police” to rob unsuspecting travelers.
- In London, 457 railway-related crimes were reported over a 12-month period at King’s Cross Station.
Be on alert for these schemes:
o “Overbooked” Train Scam
Versions occur around the world, but are particularly common in Asia. Scammers target travelers who look confused, telling them their train was overbooked. The scammer ushers unsuspecting passengers towards a bus stand, where they must purchase a ticket. Scammers do this to earn a commission from bus drivers.
o Bag Assistance
Another common scam train travelers face occurs when someone offers to carry their bags. If someone approaches you offering to carry your bags, politely refuse. If you agree, you may never see your luggage again. Carry your own baggage. Great advice in life as well as travel!
o Ticket-Machine Trick
Refuse help if you are trying to buy tickets from a machine. If you accept the help, the scammer will cancel the transaction and grab the money that has fallen into the change tray. Also, pickpockets hover around these machines, waiting for unwary travelers to be distracted.
- Fierce competition between bus companies forces owners to lower their advertised fares to attract travelers. They make up for the shortfall in other ways. For example, agents upsell “VIP bus” tickets to tourists for a higher price. Then, when the bus arrives, passengers who have paid for VIP seats are ushered onto a regular bus. They are told that the VIP bus broke down, but that the driver is not able to issue refunds. And if you return to the booking office, you will miss the bus.Don’t miss the bus!!!
- Another bus-related scam involves drivers purposely driving slowly, so passengers miss their pre-paid reservations and are forced to stay at other hotels, for which the driver receives commission.
- If you travel by bus, keep your personal belongings close to you. In some countries, the bus company staff steal from passengers while they sleep. This sounds like good advice however you travel.
Final Travel Hints
- If you plan to travel overseas, check the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Travel Alerts & Warnings to make sure you are good to go.
- Pay attention to your surroundings. If you see something, say something.
- Keep your personal items close to you, always.
- Leave your itinerary and emergency contact information with a trusted friend or family member.
- In a hotel, review your escape route.
- Scan a copy of your passport and email it to yourself or save the image to your smartphone. This step will save you hassle if you need to replace the actual document.
- Don’t flash cash or valuables. And if you’re around dogs, don’t flash bacon.
- Record emergency numbers so you can easily access them while you are away.
About the Allied Universal Fire Life Safety Services System
During your travels this summer, take steps to make sure you are safe. Whether you are traveling or staying local, our interactive, building-specific e-learning program helps commercial, residential, educational, institutional, government, retail and industrial buildings with compliance to fire life safety codes and rewards building occupants instantly! It’s a convenient and affordable solution to the training needs of your facility. Click here for more information or to subscribe.
Although it’s a great way to exercise and stay cool during the hot summer weather, participating in water sports is not without risk. In fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) reports that 360,000 people drown each year. The good news is that most water-related fatalities and injuries can be prevented when safety steps are taken. These tips should help you #BeSafe this summer!