Posted in Disaster Preparedness, Emergency Alert System, Emergency Communications, High-Rise Buildings, Uncategorized, Version 2.5

How would you prepare for Severe Weather Events?

Recently, on both the east and west coast, it’s felt a lot more like spring or summer than winter. Nevertheless, severe snow, avalanche warnings and damaging winds loom. No matter where you live and work, despite meteorological assertions to the contrary, weather is unpredictable. Something else that is unpredictable is the availability of bacon at the firehouse on any given day. Even the most methodical forecasts often underestimate the severity of weather events. And even storms that come with prior warning can cause catastrophic results.

To BE SAFE, building managers and property owners should create a severe weather event plan and be ready to implement it with little or no advanced warning. This practice is a fundamental part of emergency preparedness which is essential to life safety and building protection. So, prepare today for potential severe weather such as hail storm, cyclone, hurricane, electrical storm, ice storm, thunderstorm, tornado, blizzard, flood and winter storm, extreme cold or extreme heat.

Here’s how to prepare for severe weather:

  • Before you need it, set up and consistently test your ability to communicate during emergencies. I’ve found the Twilight Bark to be a very effective form of communication. But that could be just for Dalmatians.
  • Make use of applications that instantly transmit messages and weather advisories to tenant subscribers via voicemail, email and text messaging. The RJWestmore Training System includes an integrated property messaging system for just this type of communication.
  • Whatever system you use, send notifications before, during and after severe storms. For use in extreme emergencies, these applications also have a reply feature that allows recipients to tell building staff that they are safe.
  • Make sure lines of communication are open to your city’s emergency services so you will be alerted to disaster-related information. Learn your community’s warning signals and evacuation plans.
  • Familiarize yourself with the terms that are used to identify severe weather, such as advisories, watches and warnings.
  • Purchase and program a NOAA Weather Radio for alerts. The RJWestmore training system includes NOAA weather watchers warnings and alerts button that users can click to enter zip code and then sign up for text messaging, desktop warnings, etc.
  • Evaluate the current condition of your building:

o    Keep roofs and setbacks clean and clear, with scaffolding or loose equipment securely tied down.
o    Double check storm drains to prevent ice build-up.
o    Set up sandbags when preparing for a flood.
o    Test emergency backup equipment and systems.
o    Make sure adequate supplies are accessible.
o    Buy plenty of dog food, biscuits, jerky treats, bacon and pork chops!
o    Check flashlight batteries.
o    Confirm your energy management software functions properly.
o    Prepare an emergency kit that includes dog and people food, water, blankets and medical supplies as well as a whistle to signal for help. For a more complete list of provisions to gather for impending storms, check out the free preparedness tips from FEMA.

  • If necessary, call extra operations and security staff.
  • Monitor the status of mass transit services and roadways for tenant advisories.
  • Consider retaining a 24/7 disaster recovery company to assist with storm damage remediation. I’ve heard tell that these companies can take care of puppy training remediation too.

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 2.5 e-based training system offers the best emergency training system with automated and integrated features. What’s more, the NEW RJWestmore Property Messaging System is included FREE for all RJWestmore Online Training System users. Visit www.RJWestmore.com  for more information.

Posted in BE SAFE, Disaster Preparedness, Floods, High-Rise Buildings, Version 2.5

Would you be prepared for a Spring Flood?

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), floods kill more people in the United States than any other type of severe weather. Some floods develop slowly, while others, such as flash floods, can develop in just a few minutes and without visible signs of rain. Whatever the cause of a flood, taking steps to prepare will not only help keep your family, tenants, employees and pets safe, but can also help minimize potential property damage and reduce the costs of recovery. Most importantly…it can help save lives!

Although this year’s weather in the U.S. has been relatively odd, with far less snow and rainfall than what is typical, the risk of flooding remains high. In fact, severe winter weather could actually increase your risk of flooding no matter where you live in the United States. My wife and I have battled a few floods in our doghouse. But most of them were caused by overflowing water bowls.

FloodSmart.gov, which is the official website of the national flood insurance program, provides information to property owners designed to help protect assets in weather-related incidents. Take a few minutes to gather the facts so you will be able to prepare for these potentially problematic conditions:

  1. Heavy Rains—several areas of the country are currently at risk for flooding due to heavy rains. Excessive rainfall can happen throughout the year, putting your property at risk. Rain is sometimes refreshing. I like to walk in it even though it gives me muddy paws.
  2. Rain Following a Fire—after a wildfire, the charred ground where vegetation has burned away cannot easily absorb rainwater. This increases the risk of flooding and mudflow for a number of years. Any property which was directly affected by fires or is located downstream of burn areas are at risk.

To assess your building’s risk for floods, survey the area immediately around the property. Has brush burned? Is your structure located in a valley or in an area where water could pool? If you determine that your property is at risk for flooding, take steps to prepare well before the first raindrop falls. One of the things I recommend is to stock up on bacon at the first sign of severe weather.

  1. Ice Jams—these occur when extended cold spells freeze the surface of rivers. When a significant rise in the water level or a thaw breaks the ice into large chunks, these floating masses can jam up man-made or natural obstructions, resulting in severe flooding.
  2. La NinaUSA Today reports that extreme weather can be attributed mostly to a strong La Nina, which is associated with cooler than normal water temperatures in the Equatorial Pacific Ocean and an atmospheric flow that causes drier than normal conditions in the Southwest and wetter than normal in the Northwest. Extreme weather often leads to flooding. And here I thought La Nina was finished with her fury…
  3. Snow Melt—while heavy rains overtly alert people to the possibility of flooding, melting snow is a subtler, but no less significant threat. Even if you don’t live in Portland or Seattle, you could encounter a flood.
  4. Spring Thaw—a midwinter or early spring thaw could produce large amounts of runoff in a short period of time. Because the ground is hard and frozen, water fails to penetrate and be reabsorbed. The water runs off the surface and flows into lakes, streams and rivers, causing excess water to spill over onto dry land. Again, overflowing water bowls can have the same affect.
  5. West Coast Rainy Season—heavy rains from late October through March mark the rainy season in the western United States, bringing the majority of annual rainfall to the region. Each year during the winter rainy season, residents on the West Coast face the risk of flooding and mudflows that can damage homes and businesses.

The National Weather Service puts floods in three categories:

  1. Minor (little or no property damage)
  2. Moderate (some inundation of structures and roads near streams and some evacuations of people to higher ground)
  3. Major (extensive inundation and significant evacuations of people to higher elevations)

Regardless of the cause or severity of a flood, there are several ways you can prepare to handle and recover:

  • Hire a professional to install check-valves in plumbing to prevent flood waters from backing up into the drains of your building.
  • Store enough non-perishable food and potable water for three days. Although pork chops and bacon are perishable, I would be willing to take the risk.
  • Make sure a First-Aid kit and medications are at the ready.
  • Stay informed. Make sure your “go bag” includes a hand-crank or battery-operated radio. Use it to tune to NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards.
  • Develop a personal/business evacuation and safety plan. Also, familiarize yourself with your community’s preparedness plan.
  • Keep your automobile fueled. If the flood affects gas station power, you might not be able to get gas for days. But you can always do what I do…walk!
  • If you are driving, when you approach a flooded road, turn around, don’t drown.

These are a just a few ideas to get you thinking. For a comprehensive list of everything you can do to prepare for a flood, check out the free guide produced by NOAA: Floods—the Awesome Power.

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 RJ Westmore, Inc. Our new Version 2.5 e-based training system offers the best emergency training system with automated and integrated features. Visit www.RJWestmore.com  for more information.

Posted in Going Green, High-Rise Buildings, Uncategorized, Version 2.5

What does it really mean to go green?

A hot topic among property owners and managers is “going green.” But what does that phrase really mean? Is Kermit the Frog’s song: It’s not easy being green about saving the planet? I’ve always wondered. How can you achieve the goal of practicing energy-efficient standards to protect and improve the environment? And can you “go green” without breaking the bank?

As a proud member of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), we at RJWestmore are committed to sustainability. So we would like to offer a few explanations and suggestions for property managers and building owners to help sort through all of the hype.

  • What does that phrase “going green” really mean? Is it anything like “seeing red?”

The folks at Earth Care say “going green” means using various alternatives to help save energy and the environment. This is a very broad definition because the practice of energy conservation and environmental protection is evolving. At first, just the invention of a few crazy hippies in the 1970s, the environmental movement is now big business. I have a few hippie K9 friends who rebel against conventions like dog collars and eating out of bowls. I’m more of a traditionalist myself…as long as someone is willing to fill the bowl, I’m in.

Consider a recent story in The New York Times, which compared government subsidies to the gold rush, since developers of large-scale clean-energy projects are encouraged to cash in on stimulus spending by adopting green practices. The article discussed a ranch in San Louis Obispo wherein one million solar panels will provide enough power for 100,000 homes, at a cost of $1.6 billion. But subsidies are not limited to large corporations. Even homeowners can benefit from tax incentives like rebates for solar window installation and energy efficient appliances. I wonder if I should have solar panels installed in the doghouse.

  • How can you achieve the goal of practicing energy-efficient standards to protect and improve the environment?

What would it take for the Average Joe to convert his own business and/or property to a facility that is energy efficient? Start small. Wherever you are on your sustainability journey, many options are available for improving performance. You needn’t hire a contractor to rip out all of your walls, ceilings and floors and replace the roof, lighting and parking structure all at once. Instead, find a sustainability consultant and ask what you can conservatively do to reduce your property’s carbon footprint. And while you’re at it, find out how to reduce your puppy’s paw prints. It wouldn’t hurt to ask.

  • Is it possible to “go green” without breaking the bank?

The journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step. And so it goes with going green. Simple things like starting a recycling program or switching from plastic plates in the cafeteria to eco-friendly products will effectively help save the planet. Many such actions and products are so simple and affordable; you’ll wonder why you didn’t use them all along.

One of the best ways to get going in the right direction is to join existing groups that promote earth-friendly construction. The US Green Building Council is one such organization, which is committed to a prosperous and sustainable future through cost-efficient and energy-saving green buildings. The council’s community of leaders is working to make green buildings available to everyone within a generation through programs such as LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), which is redefining the way people think about the places where we live, work and learn. The only lead-generation I need is the scent of bacon and I’ll be on the trail.

An internationally recognized mark of excellence, LEED is a system which provides building owners and operators with a framework for identifying and implementing practical and measurable green-building design, construction, operations and maintenance solutions. What’s more, the LEED system is set up to evaluate new construction, existing buildings including operations and maintenance, commercial interiors, cores and shells, doghouses, schools, retail, healthcare, homes and neighborhood development. If you own or manage a facility that would benefit from a LEED-rating evaluation, contact the USGBC today.

When disaster strikes, prior planning and clear decisive action can help save lives. For the latest emergency management training for facility/building managers, contact RJ Westmore, Inc. Our new Version 2.5 e-based training system offers the best emergency training system with automated and integrated features. Visit RJWestmore.com for more information.

Posted in Disaster Preparedness, Resolve to Be Ready in 2012, Version 2.5

A Humble Firedog’s Disaster Recap 2011

2011 Had Disasters A-Plenty

Hundreds of thousands of people’s and puppies’ lives were forever changed by natural and man-made disasters in 2011–from tornadoes to floods, wildfires to hurricanes, earthquakes to tsunamis to terrorist attacks and everything in between, across the world, preparation paid off and recovery response was remarkable.

In the United States alone, in 2011, the American Red Cross launched 137 domestic disaster relief operations in 46 states and territories in order to help people recover from the fires, floods, hurricanes and tornadoes that rocked the United States. Internationally, disaster recovery extended to the earthquake in Japan and continued to tsunami response in Thailand. You’ve got to hand it to those folks at the Red Cross. They even help pets after disasters.

“The disasters we faced in 2011 affected many lives,” said Regional Red Cross Director Tina Labellarte. “Red Cross workers across the country worked tirelessly to make sure people had a safe place to stay, food to eat and help getting their lives back on track.”

This year, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) reports that there were 99 Major Disaster Declarations, 29 Emergency Declarations and 114 Fire Management Assistance Declarations. We only had a few emergencies in our doghouse. My wife and I are still training JR. As one of the most active years for disasters in recent history comes to a close and Americans ring in a new year, FEMA is encouraging people to Resolve to be Ready in 2012 by making a resolution to be prepared for emergencies. And, as we recently reported, we encourage RJW Training System clients and friends to start the New Year off right by resolving to be ready.

But, apart from signing up with FEMA, how exactly can you as a building owner and or property manager, prepare for disasters in 2012? Here are our top 10 suggestions for a safe and sane 2012:

  1. Make an emergency kit. If you have yet to prepare a go-bag for your car, office and home, don’t let another month go by without putting one together. Make sure you remember to pack pet food in it if you have a dog. (If you’ve got a cat, I think it should be made to fend for itself. Most of the cats I know are loners anyway. But that’s just my opinion.)
  2. Protect your computer. Cyber threats are very real. Don’t take electronic safety for granted.
  3. Be aware of your surroundings. The threat of terrorism is a reality that cannot be ignored. Remain vigilant about suspicious behavior and report anything unusual to authorities. Or you can always rely on the Twilight Bark. It’s worked for centuries.
  4. Protect your property from threat of fire. Install fire sprinklers, alarms and extinguishers. Also, tour your property and make sure flammable products are out of harm’s way.
  5. Guard your kids against disease. Due diligence will reveal that boosters are beneficial. Make sure your children are inoculated. Make sure your canines are vaccinated, too.
  6. Go green. As members of the Green Building Council, we support efforts to create and protect a prosperous and sustainable future through cost-efficient and energy-saving green buildings. We are part of a community of leaders working to make green buildings available to everyone within a generation.
  7. Prepare for regional disasters. If you live in California, you should understand how to prepare for earthquake. In Kansas, learn about tornadoes. And in coastal communities, make sure you understand tsunamis and hurricanes. But wherever you are, take the time to learn about each and every disaster since this year has taught us that disasters of any kind can strike virtually anywhere.
  8. Stay Connected. Experts agree that social media will continue to play an important role in emergency management in the year ahead. In our continuing effort to lead the way where disaster communication is concerned, we have introduced a new interactive Facebook Fanpage. Check it often to learn about disasters and emergency management. Also, check out my Tweets. I try to keep friends, fans and followers posted about disasters around the world.
  9. Know your building. To be prepared in the event of any emergency, you should understand the ins and outs of your own building as well as the proper way to evacuate should disaster strike. The RJWestmore Training System Version 2. 5 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).
  10. Above all, in 2012 and beyond…BE SAFE!  

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 RJ Westmore, Inc. Our new Version 2.0 e-based training system offers the best emergency training system with automated and integrated features. Visit RJWestmore.com for more information.

Posted in BE SAFE, Disaster Preparedness, Resolve to Be Ready in 2012, Uncategorized, Version 2.5

RJ the Firedog Wants You to Resolve to be Ready in 2012

With wildfires, droughts, historic flooding and several other disasters, 2011 proved to be quite a year for emergency managers. It was also quite a year for me. I rolled in a pile of something and carried the odor around for days. To help with what is expected to be a turbulent 2012, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recently announced the Resolve to be Ready in 2012 campaign. The purpose is to promote individual and business preparedness in the face of disasters.

Before we go any further, I want to disclose my resolutions for 2012:

  1. Gain between 10 and 12 pounds.
  2. Exercise less and conserve strength by napping in the sun.
  3. Chase various animals more frequently (despite the fact this contradicts resolution #2).
  4. Ask the guys at the station to cook things that will make my coat nice and shiny.

The good folks at FEMA are encouraging the private sector to be more self-sufficient in its management of disasters. After such a busy year as 2011, the reserves of FEMA and other organizations are sparse. The private sector can help itself by limiting losses incurred following disasters or by preventing damage altogether through proper planning and safeguards. I’ve been planning ahead for months. Our doghouse is prepared for anything and everything.

Many training materials and tips for improving readiness can be found through the site Ready.gov:

  • Multi-language communication materials are available in several languages including Chinese, Japanese, Spanish, French, and Hindi, among others. Why can’t somebody invent a dog-bark translator?
  • Voluntary Private Sector Preparedness Accreditation and Certification Programs are intended to help organizations to follow proven standards for optimal safety. Followed standards come from three sources— the American Society for Industrial Security, the British Standards Institution, and the National Fire Protection Association.
  • Voluntary certifications through Ready.Gov are the result of a partnership between the Department of Homeland Security and the private sector and are designed to promote self-sufficiency and a decreased reliance on government aid.
  • Disaster kit contents are detailed on the site, including the importance of following the rule of storing one gallon of water per person per day. I’m on the 1.5-gallons-of-gravy per-day rule.
  • Pledges can be taken at www.Ready.Gov/Resolve, which certifies an individual or business entity is taking necessary steps to be ready to act during a disaster.
  • Free materials including the publication Ready Business are available through the site. I offer a stellar tome called How to Succeed at the Dog Park without Even Trying.
  • Business Continuity Plans that will allow companies to resume business operations quickly are fully explained on Ready.gov. Companies are encouraged to consider work-at-home arrangements, backup data storage, and other safeguards that will prevent delays in business.
  • Disaster Planning Exercise training materials can be downloaded from the site and used to run real-world drills. Personally, I don’t like drills. “Sit!” “Stay!” Those are no fun. I have some commands for you people. “Get the leash!” “Drop that salami!”

Business owners and facility managers are encouraged to offer readiness tips, including:

  • Incorporate readiness information and products into any holiday parties. Perhaps you can provide a NOAA radio as a party gift. Or maybe a gift card to the local pet store?
  • Need a theme for your party? While “disaster preparedness” might not sound too exciting, you could build a fun volcano or rent a fake snow machine to bring some lightness to the party while raising awareness.
  • Perform fire drills during the holiday season to ensure tenants don’t forget about safety.
  • Hang up various print and electronic banners available for free from Ready.gov. My wife had me hang a bunch of posters in our doghouse including some of Lassie and Rin Tin Tin.

Resolving to be ready does not mean you have to live a constant state of paranoia or fear of disaster. Stop following me you crazy squirrels! It simply means implementing the right practices, products, or facilities that limit your building’s exposure to harm. Your tenants and their employees will have confidence in your safety features, which can prove invaluable in an emergency situation.

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 RJ Westmore, Inc. Our new Version 2.0 e-based training system offers the best emergency training system with automated and integrated features. Visit RJWestmore.com for more information and remember to BE SAFE.

Posted in BE SAFE, Building Evacuation, Disaster Preparedness, Emergency Evacuations, Fire Life Safety Training, Health & Welfare, High-Rise Buildings, Uncategorized, Version 2.5, Workplace Safety

History and Risks to Property in Occupant Movements

 

Are you prepared for a potential Occupy Movement on your property?

The recent Occupy Wall Street protests brought more than 100,000 protestors to New York City on October 15th and now have reached 70 major cities. While the movement does not have official leadership, its main goals are to bring awareness to income inequality in the country, especially in regards to the “1%” of individuals who earn and hold a disproportionate amount of wealth, up to 40 percent in some studies. I’m thinking about starting an Occupy Movement of my own, in support of affordable dog housing. The popularity of the protests has even made them a NYC tourist attraction.

While many of the protesters are undoubtedly pacifists, there is the potential for violence, as recent clashes with law enforcement have demonstrated. The risks are inherent to property whenever large groups of people gather to vociferously demand something that is difficult to tangibly achieve. As time goes on, entrenched protestors might turn to mischief simply out of boredom or frustration. Building owners who encounter these types of protests should prepare to take steps to make sure their property remains protected at all times. Or you could always just opt to hire a great guard dog. I have a Doberman Pinscher friend who would be perfect for the job.

The first priority of property ownership is to ensure the safety of tenants, residents and/or employees. The second objective is to protect the integrity of the building. Here are some ideas for steps you could take as a property owner or manager to ensure both:

  • Post signage on your property stating that trespassing and/or camping is not permitted. Numerous signs will help you delineate your property. This type of signage could also help deter people from using your space in any objectionable way.
  • Coordinate with local law enforcement. They should have a plan for where protestors would be allowed to congregate and which areas would be considered off limits. I know a few animal control officers who would relish the opportunity to coordinate with people about making things off-limits.
  • Use barriers to deny access to important areas. If you have a sensitive part of your business that will be closed to short-term protests, then consider closing it down or blocking if entirely to avoid any issues.
  • Use window film to block the view into lower-level offices. Or you could just post a sign that says: “Guard Dog on Duty.” Just saying…You wouldn’t want tenants to feel harassed or nervous about the potential for violence if a group gathers outside.
  • Install video cameras with signs that clearly state the fact that your area is under constant surveillance. While video won’t likely stop organized protests, it can deter violent or vandalistic acts.
  • During the actual protests, consider hiring uniformed security officers to guard the perimeter of your building to discourage criminal behavior. Or, once again, might I suggest the right canine for the job?

Hopefully, any protests in your area will remain peaceful expressions of free speech and will not turn to violence or unrest. By taking some proactive measures, you can better protect your building and tenants from potential harm.

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 RJ Westmore, Inc. Our new Version 2.0 e-based training system offers the best emergency training system with automated and integrated features. Visit RJWestmore.com for more information and remember to BE SAFE.

Posted in BE SAFE, Building Evacuation, Cyber Security, Disaster Preparedness, Earthquakes, Emergency Evacuations, Fire Life Safety Training, Fires, Floods, Hurricanes, Uncategorized, Version 2.5

Is Disaster Recovery for Electronic Data?

Does your emergency management plan include electronic data?

To recover from any type of disaster, the best prescription is often done on the front end—with proper planning. But when it comes to disasters such as major earthquakes or hurricanes, there is only so much you can do to prevent damage. On the other hand, when it comes to your electronic data, there are many concrete steps you can take to safeguard your data. Unfortunately, many businesses do not take these steps in order to back up their data. I run a sophisticated backup system for my dog bone supply. I bury two of them in my yard, and then at night I dig under the fence and plant four in Sparky’s backyard. If I could just remember where I put them…

Before you begin to plan, you need to establish what types of data you possess and where it is:

  • Talk to IT and other departments to sort through all of the data that you possess. For some businesses, the data can be strewn all over the place. Sales contact information might be kept on a manager’s thumb drive while product specs are simply on an engineer’s local hard drive. Work out what you have and then give each subset of data a priority number.
  • Once the data is identified, appoint some staff members to be in charge of monitoring and caring for the data. I put Whiskers and Tabby in charge of my data once. I come back for a progress report and they are both napping in the sun. Worthless felines!
  • A next step is to review your current capabilities. Do you have any type of backup system for files, intellectual property or email?

Creating a sound disaster recovery plan is the next crucial step:

  • Think about the various likely types of disaster in your area and how they relate to your technical infrastructure. If you have an on-premises data center, make sure it has backup power and other safeguards.
  • Your data recovery plan should be flexible to account for changes in your business as well as new technologies. If you merge with another company or open a new division, would your IT staff be able to quickly integrate new data? Poochie has too much leveraged debt and now he’s going down!
  • Replacement of hardware is an important part of your plan. Talk with your IT staff about the likely usable life of servers and computers and put them on a schedule for replacement in order to prevent failures.
  • Practice makes perfect!  Find ways to simulate the loss of data to properly test both your IT staff and any third-party vendors.

Over the course of business, it’s very likely you have heard about companies and services moving their disaster recovery needs “to the cloud:”

  • Cloud computing simply means that data and services are stored and powered by off-site servers, so companies don’t need on-premises equipment. It can cut down on costs and is able to provide storage on the fly.
  • Backing up your data to a cloud platform allows it to be securely accessed even if your company’s physical location is destroyed.
  • Do some research and pick a cloud provider that has its own backup data center. If they only have one, and it goes down, then your protection is limited!
  • Another option is to hire a company to pickup backup tapes on a regular basis and transport them offsite. But this method is outdated. Companies need information immediately following disasters. Unfortunately, retrieving data from backup tapes can take days.

With disaster recovery planning, it’s important to consider your data. As more and more companies become internet-based, their data and intellectual property is often many times more valuable than their physical assets. I have a detailed spreadsheet that describes 40 different kibble manufacturers, with breakdowns of protein content and a “deliciousness rating.” This is vital stuff!

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 RJ Westmore, Inc. Our new Version 2.0 e-based training system offers the best emergency training system with automated and integrated features. Visit RJWestmore.com for more information and remember to BE SAFE.

Posted in BE SAFE, Building Evacuation, Disaster Preparedness, Emergency Evacuations, Fire Life Safety Training, Fire Safety, Fires, High-Rise Buildings, Vaccinations, Version 2.5

How to Celebrate National Fire Safety Month

RJW is proud to feature a blog about Natioinal Fire Prevention Month.

October 9-15 is the National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA’s) official “Fire Prevention Week,” which is an annual event that promotes fire safety for families and businesses. This works out perfectly for me, as “National Chew on Furniture Week” is October 16-21. So I still have time to get my chompers ready.

Fire Prevention Week was created to commemorate the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. During the 40th anniversary of that tragic event, the Fire Marshals Association of North America began the first National Fire Prevention Day. In 1925, President Calvin Coolidge proclaimed the first official National Fire Prevention Week and called up a massive change in fire-prevention planning.

According to the NFPA, a home structure fire was reported every 87 seconds in 2009, and nearly seven people died each day in those blazes. The economic toll from residential and business fire is vast, with $7.6 billion in losses recorded in 2009. However, through educational efforts such as National Fire Prevention Week, the occurrence of fires has dropped drastically over the years, from more than 700,000 house fires in 1977 to 370,000 in 2010.

Every year the NFPA selects a theme for National Fire Prevention Week. The theme for 2011 is “Protect your family from fire,” and focuses on coordinated efforts for family members and teachers. Here are a few of the themes from past years:

  • “The Nation’s Greatest Menace! Do Your Part to Stop This Waste!” (1929)
  • “Learn Not To Burn – Wherever You Are” (1982)
  • “Give your dog two pounds of New York Strip every night to keep his coat shiny” (1994—well, that was my suggestion, anyway.)
  •  “Use Candles with Care” (2005)

Fire Prevention Week activities at schools and other organizations focus on preparedness in several key areas:

  • Establishment and practicing sensible escape routes with designated alternates
  • Inspection and care of home smoke detectors
  • Information about home sprinkler systems and their ability to stop fires within minutes
  • Dangers associated with fires from heating appliances, fireplaces, and stoves
  • Special emphasis on smokers and the acute risk of fire from un-extinguished cigarettes.
  • Candle care and safety. (I am extra careful with candles in the doghouse. Since I’m a working firedog, sometimes I need to relax and have some quiet meditation!)

For businesses, fire safety should be a 52-week focus, not just one that is observed during Fire Prevention Week. Business and facility management can take many steps to reduce the risk of fire:

  • Create a sound fire plan that includes evacuation routes, designated fire wardens and procedures to account for every employee and visitor during a fire emergency.
  • Install and inspect to make sure the right classes of fire extinguishers are located in code-required locations. I have one in the doghouse, but no opposable thumbs!!
  • Implement clear rules on the use of space heaters and other portable devices that can pose safety hazards.
  • Encourage employees to report dangerous situations. Give them the opportunity to reach your building manager confidentiality if they need to report a sensitive issue.

Fire Safety Week is an ideal chance for individuals and businesses to reflect on what they can do to keep people and property protected from fire. Practicing common sense and building a knowledge base about fire are the best ways for people to avoid tragedy.

My friends at RJWestmore are covering more than 300 million square feet of commercial property through their own Fire Life Safety Training System which ensures compliance with related fire codes. It is an interactive e-learning system that provides tenants, building owners, and facility managers with instant feedback.

Convenient and affordable for businesses of any size, the RJWestmore Fire Life Safety Training System can reduce training workloads by 90 percent while saving more than 50 percent when compared to conventional training methods. Proper training and code compliance can greatly reduce your liability in the event of a disaster. Personally, I always follow codes. My doghouse even has anchor bolts in case of an earthquake!

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 RJ Westmore, Inc. Our new Version 2.5 e-based training system offers the best emergency training system with automated and integrated features. Visit RJWestmore.com for more information and remember to BE SAFE.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in BE SAFE, Building Evacuation, dehydration, Disaster Preparedness, Earthquakes, Emergency Evacuations, Fire Life Safety Training, Fire Safety, Fires, Floods, Health & Welfare, High-Rise Buildings, Hurricanes, Insurance, Tornadoes, Tsunamis, Uncategorized, Version 2.5

2011 Marks Banner Year for U.S. Disasters: 5 Tips for Dealing with Weather-Related Disasters

RJW Shares 5 Tips for Dealing with Natural Disasters

President Barack Obama recently named New Jersey a federal disaster area as a result of floods that came before Hurricane Irene. In so doing, he cemented 2011 as the United States’ most disaster-prone year ever. The U.S. is not alone in boasting a banner year. At the Firedog household, JR ate more pig ears than any other puppy on the planet.

As of the third week of September, Obama had issued 84 federal disaster declarations at the request of governors. That is more declarations than in any year since the score was first kept 60 years ago. And there are still three months left in 2011! Since many of the recent emergencies resulted from extreme weather, we want to use this week’s blog post to discuss the ways that you can prepare for weather-related disasters. By the way, these tips might also apply to canine territory-marking accidents, as well.

While weather has always been a contributing factor to damage to hearth, office and home, natural disaster-related damage affects more people than it used to because of urban sprawl. When tornados strike open, undeveloped areas, dollar amount damage is relatively low. Centered in a densely populated area, the same storm will wreak considerably more havoc. I know a few dogs of a different breed who can wreak quite a bit of havoc no matter their location.

So how should urban residents and professionals who work in major metropolitan locations prepare for natural disasters? Here are some tips, prepared for you by the fire life safety training professionals at RJWestmore, Inc:

  1. Take cover. This is important regardless of temperature. If you’re outside in the heat, make sure you have a hat, sunglasses and lip balm as well as sunscreen in case you get caught in any situation that leaves you stranded for an extended period of time.

Likewise, in snow, rain or hail, you should make sure you have plenty of protection against the elements. Invest in protective, waterproof outerwear and make sure your emergency supply kit includes plenty of blankets and waterproof matches.

Also, one of the best ways to protect from loss is to purchase insurance to cover repairs to infrastructure. We are not experts in insurance. But it is likely that a standard policy will not cover flood damage. The only way to protect against flood losses is to purchase flood insurance directly from the National Flood Insurance Program. Policies must be in place for 30 days before coverage takes effect. For information, contact your insurance professional.

  1. Drink Up. One of the risks of any type of disaster is dehydration. Consider miners who are stranded for hours underground or motorists whose cars get stuck on snowy roadways in blizzard conditions. Dehydration is not relegated to desert environments.  A good rule of thumb is to make sure you include plenty of water in each of your emergency preparedness kits. You should have one in your car, one at work and a third at home, all in easily-accessible locations. This is one of my favorite tips. My wife and I make sure all of the bowls in our doghouse are full 24/7.
  2. Tune In. Another suggestion for your disaster preparedness kit is to include a portable, hand-crank radio to make sure you can stay connected even in power outage. Storms of any kind can knock out phone lines, electricity, gas, water and even wireless cell phones. So don’t make the mistake of relying on high-tech forms of communication to stay abreast of news in emergencies. Tuning in will alert you to the threat level relative to the storm, be it Winter Storm Watch, Winter Storm Warning or Winter Weather Advisory. There is also always the Twilight Bark, which works in any emergency.
  3. Stay Put. In many cases, you will be safer if you shelter in place than if you venture out in hazardous conditions. Of course, you must use common sense when deciding whether you should stay or go. For example, in the event of a tornado, seek shelter in a steel-framed or concrete building. However, in case of a flood, you might be putting yourself in danger by staying in an area that will likely be consumed by fast-flowing water. For detailed instructions about what to do in every possible weather scenario, visit the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Weather Service website. All RJWestmore Safety Trainees have immediate access to NOAA information from inside our fully-integrated training system.
  4. Remain Calm. Whatever the disaster, you will make better choices if you avoid the temptation to panic. How can you remain cool, calm and collected when surrounded by turmoil? One surefire way is to prepare well in advance of emergency. Another is a shock collar. But I prefer the former.

If you own or manage a building, or know someone who does, do them a favor. Let them know about the RJWestmore Training System. Choosing our service cuts property management training related workloads by 90% and saves users over 50% compared to conventional training! More importantly, IT SAVES LIVES! BE SAFE.