Posted in BE SAFE, Disaster Preparedness, Terrorism, Travel

Spring Break Travel Safety

airport checkpoint 3d renderA series of bomb explosions at Brussels Airport and a metro station in the city this week have led to heightened travel alerts across the world. Based on these events, as well as numerous other recent terrorist attacks, it is imperative that travelers exercise caution this spring. Our hearts go out to everyone whose life was affected by the Brussels’ attacks.

According to Orbitz, each March, 55 percent of college students travel by plane to celebrate Spring Break, with the most popular destinations including Las Vegas, Cancun and Punta Cana, Mexico. I wonder if they bring their pets. But young adults are not the only springtime wanderers. To wit, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is reportedly preparing to screen more than 65.1 million travelers over the 2016 Spring Break travel season. With the ever-present threat of terrorism, airline passengers can rest assured that safety is the top priority for TSA. Safety is also the top priority for all of us at the RJWestmore Training System by Universal Fire/Life Safety Services.Passengers passes x-ray check at airport. Airport transport security scan tape portal. Officer computer monitoring baggage.

“Our dedicated officers do their absolute best to screen passengers both effectively and efficiently, with a primary focus on traveler security,” said Peter V. Neffenger, TSA administrator. “We want to ensure that everyone arrives at their destination safely, while at all times providing the highest standards of security screening possible.”

But don’t trust your safety entirely to others. Here are five common sense steps you can take to guarantee your own safe travels this spring break season (and always):

  1. Remain alert. The less you have to do while at the airport, the more focused and prepared you will be to remain alert about your surroundings. If possible, print boarding passes prior to arriving at the airport. Arrive early, to allow enough time to park, print your boarding pass, or go paperless by downloading the appropriate boarding pass app, check baggage, and proceed through the checkpoint. In dog terms, I would say to keep your nose up. phone online booking concept illustration
  2. Keep calm. Passengers who violate rules will cause delays for themselves and everyone behind them. So do your part to keep a lid on traveler rage. Pack liquids, aerosols, gels, creams, and pastes in compliance with the 3-1-1 liquids rule. And avoid wearing large metal jewelry or clothing with large metal embellishments to reduce the possibility of alarming the screening machine. And we don’t want to alarm the scream machine!
  3. Watch your stuff. Thieves often case populated places like airports, looking for easy marks. Make sure your purse and carry-on bag are zipped and that your wallet is out of site. This is why I travel light. Without baggage, I am able to stay focused on the wonderful sights and smells of an airport. If you appear to know what you are doing, you won’t appeal to opportunistic muggers and pickpockets, who will move on to easier prey. Also, if you pay attention to your own belongings, you will be prepared to quickly identify unmanned baggage. If you see an unattended suitcase, report it immediately to airline security.Full suitcase of a traveler with travel stickers
  4. Blend in. Refrain from carrying large quantities of cash. With the prevalence of ATM’s in virtually every location, you don’t need to carry large sums of cash. Bring small amounts and keep your credit and debit cards close at hand, to protect yourself from unauthorized purchases as well as identity theft. Also, try to blend in with locals. Pull your camera out only when you’re ready to use it. Watch your footing when taking selfies. And refrain from looking at maps while you are standing in the middle of a crowded public square. I prefer to sniff my way around new places instead of using maps.
  5. Stay informed. If you are traveling internationally, in advance of your flight, check on travel security warnings and alerts released by the state department. Examples of reasons for issuing a travel warning might include unstable government, civil war, ongoing intense crime or violence, or frequent terrorist attacks. Alerts might include an election season that is bound to have many strikes, demonstrations, or disturbances; a health alert like an outbreak of H1N1; or evidence of an elevated risk of terrorist attacks. For domestic travel, check with your airline carrier for flight delays and other updates.

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

Posted in Disaster Preparedness, Travel, Uncategorized

How to Safely Travel by Air

Unexpected vacation disasters can strike whether you travel by ship, airplane or horse and buggy. That’s why I prefer to use my own four paws to get around. In the coming weeks, we will examine the best way to BE SAFE by preparing for travel-related emergencies. Last week, we covered safety in road trips. This week, we will focus on air travel.

The good news is that, according to CNN writer Brett Snyder, 2011 was an incredibly safe year for commercial air travel. In fact, Snyder reports, “There were only 373 fatalities on 18 scheduled passenger flights worldwide.” Considering that there are roughly 10 million flights per year in the U.S. alone, this is a remarkable feat. The bad news is that most dogs are still required to travel in the cold under belly of the plane with the baggage. Where’s the justice in that?

More good news is the anticipated installation of surveillance equipment in 81 markets by a major player in the public safety and professional communication market (HRS). This is significant because many airplane accidents are said to be related to insufficient aircraft surveillance equipment, particularly in remote areas. That’s why I recommend canine intervention. We make great alarms because most of us are nosy and loud.

These moves, along with stringent TSA training guidelines, have once again made air travel the one of the safest ways to get from Point A to Point B. In fact, according to a report in Forbes, commercial airline builder Boeing says that it is 22 times safer to fly than it is to drive on a per-mile basis. Boeing officials report: “Fewer people have died in commercial airplane accidents over the past 60 years than are killed in U.S. auto accidents over a typical three-month period.” Nothing was mentioned about canines and felines, who suffer through non-climate controlled conditions!

Unfortunately, however, as one TSA administrator admitted at an air transport security conference, “If we try to apply the reliable, predictable-world principles of safety to the non-linear, inherently unpredictable world of terrorism, it may lead to the worst kind of disaster: where calamity occurs because we think we are following all the rules, doing it ‘right.”

So, while we ultimately have little choice but to leave the big picture of airline safety to Department of Homeland Security officials, as consumers, what steps can we take to make sure the skies we travel this summer remain friendly? Here are a few helpful hints for you to follow so you can BE SAFE:

  1. Remember the 3-1-1 rule. TSA and private security partners have conducted extensive explosives testing since 2006 and determined that liquids, aerosols and gels, in limited quantities, are safe to bring aboard an aircraft. However, the one-bag limit per traveler limits the total amount each traveler can bring. Consolidating the bottles into one bag and X-raying them separately from the carry-on bag enables security officers to quickly clear the items. For more specifics, check out the TSA website.
  2. Don’t agree to watch someone’s bag while they use the restroom or step out of line. The luxury of leaving anything unattended in the airport ended on 9/11. What’s more, don’t make the mistake of leaving your own bags unattended while at the airport.
  3. Don’t joke about airport security while you’re at the airport. Although you might enjoy poking fun of the rules relative to removing shoes and jackets, if you make the mistake of cracking a joke about terrorism while at the airport, you will likely find yourself escorted to a hidden room for questioning by TSA officials. Admittedly, this is difficult for me. I get annoyed by all of the rules and like to lighten the mood. Not a good course of action in this case.
  4. Cooperate with officials. Although you might often find yourself the subject of “random searches” at the airport, try to grin and bear it. Try to remember that airport security screening is tight for your protection and not just because the TSA officials like to torture you. And the more cooperative you are, the swifter the boarding process will be for everyone.
  5. Don’t attempt to bring anything on board that is forbidden by the FAA or TSA. For instance, the FAA forbids the carriage of hazardous materials on commercial aircraft. Likewise, the TSA forbids the carriage of certain items for security reasons. To follow these rules, you need to be familiar with them. So click on the links for specifics.

When a disaster of any kind strikes, prior planning and clear decisive action can help save lives. For the latest emergency management training for facility/building managers, contact RJWestmore, Inc. Our new Version 3.0 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 RJWestmore.com for more information.