Posted in be prepared for emergencies, safety plans and procedures

Celebrating National Preparedness Month

Black PrepWhy is September National Preparedness Month? The month was chosen, in part, to honor the victims of the September 11 attacks and, also, because it is the start of hurricane season. Sponsored by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), National Preparedness Month is intended to promote individual and business safety preparedness to effectively manage man-made threats such as terrorism as well as natural disasters. If I had my way, it would be “Devouring Pork Chops Best Practices Month,” but I suppose safety readiness is more important. While safety should be of utmost concern every month, it’s useful for companies to designate a month for review and adjustment of safety plans and procedures.

Here are some initiatives that property managers can take during National Preparedness Month:

Use Available Resources

My pal, Ready Wrigley, has some great visual tips for reminding folks to be prepared.
My pal, Ready Wrigley, has some great visual tips for reminding folks to be prepared.

The Ready.gov website has a wealth of free safety resources:

  • Information about becoming a safety leader, with classes offered through FEMA, Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT) and other organizations.
  • Disaster-specific information and appropriate responses are offered for power outages, chemical hazards, severe weather, floods, and dozens of other scenarios.
  • Information about disaster kits, including wise food choices (pork chops, sausage, baby carrots are my suggestions) and management of water resources is crucial for waiting out a major emergency.

Revisit Disaster Plans

National Preparedness Month is an ideal time to take a critical look at your building’s disaster plan. Learn about best practices for disaster management and make sure that your plan matches up to the latest advice. Perhaps your building has changed since the creation of the last plan, with a new addition or additional parking structure, or an influx of new tenants? I added a wing to the doghouse, and it’s easy to get lost in the place. You thought the Palace of Versailles was imposing…

Walk through every part of the plan to be sure it still makes logical sense for current conditions. You should also talk to tenants to ensure they have copies of the plan and to address questions and concerns. Work with the tenants to nominate floor wardens and other volunteers who can aid others. Offices that allow pets are more common, so there should be notes in the plan about helping four-legged visitors.

The disaster plan should not only cover ways to safely evacuate or handle dangerous situations, but should also provide a roadmap for getting back to normal operations. Tenants will want to return to work as soon as possible following a disaster, so retain the services of various construction/plumbing/ electrical contractors that might be needed for repairs or inspections following a disaster.

Focus on Communication

The official motto of the 2015 National Preparedness Month is “Don’t wait. Communicate.” My motto when it comes to table scraps: food on the floor, and new shoes is “Don’t wait. Obliterate.” The focus of the theme is to encourage proactivity among individuals to create and talk about disaster plans. For building managers and owners, communication is crucial to disaster planning:

  • Alert tenants and other parties about how to access disaster plans and keep them updated about any changes.
  • Use social media and other channels, such as mobile apps, to send crucial information about upcoming disaster threats or distribute communications after an emergency occurs.
  • My communication technique is simpler. I bark at the mail carrier and whine when I don’t get ground chuck freshly prepared for dinner.

By simply communicating what is being done, property management shows they care about the wellbeing of tenants and understand the importance of transparency of communication.

Review the Details

fema-stan_mediumIn addition to reviewing your disaster plan, take time in September to check other areas of your preparedness. One of the keys to being prepared is to be proactive, which means checking to make sure you and your tenants have the tools, supplies, and information they need to best handle an emergency.

Here are some areas to check during National Preparedness Month:

  • Check fire extinguishers for expiration dates.
  • Perform routine maintenance and inspection of sprinkler systems.
  • Review insurance coverages.
  • Restock emergency kits with flashlight batteries.
  • Review food and water expiration dates.
  • Review evacuation plans with staff members.
  • Mandate that “bring your pet to work day” becomes an entire month…and that it coincides with the food truck visits.
  • Make sure designated “safe spot” meeting areas remain ideal.
  • Monitor property management staff members’ knowledge about emergency procedures, including how to shut off water or gas lines, if necessary.

Remember that safety is a daily priority, 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.

Posted in BE SAFE, Disaster Preparedness

Don’t Trip Yourself Up!

Businessman slipping and falling from a banana peel

According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, two million broken bones occur every year in the U.S. due to osteoporosis. What’s more, most people proceed with fracture repair without ever realizing they have osteoporosis or low bone mass. Join us in celebrating National Osteoporosis Month this May by taking action to Break Free from Osteoporosis. The Break Free from Osteoporosis campaign encourages everyone to get to know their risk factors for osteoporosis and make the lifestyle changes needed to build strong bones for life.

At the RJWestmore Training System by Universal Fire/Life Safety Services, our first priority is the safety of our employees, clients and the general public. As a company, it is our goal to make every attempt to eliminate the potential for accidents. Slips, trips and falls represent a serious hazard to workers in the security industry and are responsible for well over half of the nonfatal injuries that result in days away from work. In honor of National Osteoporosis Month, we have devoted this week’s blog post to an important part of bone health—preventing slips, trips and falls.

The following post was written by Angela Burrell, manager of public relations for our corporate company, Universal Services of America, (with “Firedogisms” by me—RJ the Firedog, noted by italics).

First and foremost, stay focused and alert for hazards that may cause a slip, trip or fall. Good housekeeping, quality of walking surfaces (flooring), proper footwear and preparing facilities are all critical for preventing accidents that could result from wet surfaces, occasional spills, loose mats or other hazards. I trip myself up regularly, probably because I have twice as many legs as humans.

By partnering with clients, security teams can help prevent slips, trips and falls to reduce serious injuries that could lead to customer civil liability lawsuits and expensive worker compensation claims.

Here are some tips to follow and recommendations that you could make:

Reduce the risk of slipping on wet flooring by:

  • Encouraging the use of slip-resistant footwear.
  • Taking your time, paying attention and making wide turns at corners while walking.
  • Protecting entrances to employee areas with matting designed to absorb water.
  • Placing paper towel holders, trash cans and umbrella bags near entrances to reduce wet floors.
  • Providing slip-resistant stair treads on permanent stairs.
  • Recommending installation of grab bars or railing in doorways and stairwells. Although I can’t use railings myself, they seem like a very good idea.

Report or correct the following housekeeping conditions:

  • Debris, spills or wet areas on floors, stairs or walkways
  • Mats, rugs and carpets that may become obstacles themselves
  • File cabinet or storage drawers left open, especially on top levels
  • Exposed cables or bulky power cords that are not properly secured or protected
  • Burned out lights in work areas, parking structures or walkways
  • Bacon on the floor (not really a hazard, but important information, nonetheless!)

Be proactive

  • Mark hazardous areas whenever necessary. Use temporary signs, cones, barricades or floor stand signs to warn people passing by.
  • Block off areas during floor cleaning. Remove all signs once the floor is clean and dry so they do not become commonplace and ignored.

For more information about National Osteoporosis Month, check out the National Osteoporosis Foundation website. We hope that this blog post will motivate you to begin or maintain a regular physical fitness routine for optimal health and aspire to prevent accidents. 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. Visit RJWestmore.com to read about the many ways proper planning can make a difference in numerous aspects of your professional and personal life.

Posted in CERT, Disaster Preparedness, FEMA

Have you considered taking CERT Training?

CERT 6Following major disasters, it is entirely possible that first responders, who are first on scene to provide fire and medical services, will not be able to immediately meet the demand for services. Factors contributing to a potential backup of emergency workers and the public’s inability to successfully reach 911 could include: the number of victims, communication failures, and road blockages. A reason dogs might not be able to reach 911 operators is because we don’t have opposable thumbs. For all these reasons, it is likely that in virtually any major emergency, people will need to rely on each other to meet immediate life-saving and life-sustaining needs.

In emergencies of all kinds, family members, friends, fellow employees, neighbors, and tenants spontaneously help each other. Dogs are also quite eager to be of assistance, whether or not we’ve been formally trained. Thankfully, history has shown that people and pets usually rise to the occasion when major disasters strike. Such was the case recently, in the Mexico City earthquake, where untrained volunteers heroically stepped up to save 800 people. As the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) notes, unfortunately, 100 of those people lost their lives in so doing. The good news is that many accidental deaths and injuries are preventable, through proper emergency training.

Cert 4For the above reasons, in 1985, the L.A. County City Fire Department developed and implemented a formal program for emergency citizen training they called the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT). I guess this is different than the breath mint with a similar name…Certs? The Whittier Narrows earthquake in 1987 underscored the area-wide potential for a major disaster in California. It further confirmed the need to train civilians to meet immediate emergency-associated needs.certs-spearmints

Later adopted by public agencies across the country, CERT training benefit those citizens who take it, as it prepares them to respond to and cope with the aftermath of disasters. Since 1993, CERT training has been made available nationally by FEMA, and is now offered in communities in 28 states and Puerto Rico. Many communities tap graduates of the program to form teams of individuals who can be recruited and further trained as volunteer auxiliary responders. I love being part of a team…especially one that’s designed to help save lives!

CERT members receive 17 ½ hours (one day a week for seven weeks) of initial training. The seven-week course is followed by full-day biannual refresher drills, and an opportunity to assist the LAFD at local incidents. In Los Angeles, CERT is provided free of charge to anyone 18 or over. Sounds like a great deal!

CERT Training is divided into the following seven sessions:

  • Session 1: Disaster Preparedness
  • Session 2: Disaster Fire Suppression
  • Session 3: Disaster Medical Operations Part 1
  • Session 4: Disaster Medical Operations Part 2
  • Session 5: Light Search & Rescue Operations
  • Session 6: Disaster Psychology and Team Organization
  • Session 7: Course Review and Disaster Simulation

Cert 2After completing the program, CERT graduates will be able to safely:

  • Search for and rescue victims.
  • Provide basic medical aid, by treating the three main threats to life: opening airways, controlling bleeding, and treating for shock.
  • Manage utilities and put out small fires.
  • Organize themselves and spontaneous volunteers to be effective.
  • Collect disaster intelligence to support first responder efforts.
  • Assist professional responders with prioritization and allocation of resources following a disaster.
  • Find lots of bacon. Okay—I’ll admit they don’t train for this in a CERT program. But I suggest they start offering it as part of the curriculum.

To find a team and/or begin CERT training in your area:

  1. Complete a CERT program, take advantage of an interactive web-based class or search the FEMA website by zip code for classes taught on location.
  2. Complete a CERT Train-the-Trainer (TTT) course conducted by a State Training Office for Emergency Management or the Emergency Management Institute, in order to learn the training techniques used by the LAFD.
  3. Identify the program goals that CERT would meet and the resources necessary to conduct the program in your area.
  4. Seek approval from appointed and elected officials to use CERT as a means to prepare citizens to care for themselves during a disaster, when services may not be adequate.
  5. Identify and recruit potential participants. Naturals for CERT are community groups, business and industry workers and local government workers.
  6. Train CERT instructors.
  7. Conduct CERT sessions.
  8. Conduct refresher training and exercises with CERTs.

In recognition for training completion, CERT members should receive ID cards, vests and helmets. Graduates should also regularly practice their skills. To this end, trainers should offer periodic refresher sessions to reinforce basic training. CERT teams can also sponsor events such as drills, picnics, neighborhood clean-ups, and disaster education fairs.

We hope that this blog post will help you take steps to prepare yourself for potential disasters, and that you might consider starting or joining a CERT in your area. To find a team or pursue CERT training, enter your zip code in the Citizen Corps section of the FEMA website. Another convenient and affordable way to make sure you are prepared for emergencies is to subscribe to the RJWestmore Training System by Universal Fire/Life Safety Services, which has been designed to help improve and save lives. Visit RJWestmore.com to read about the many ways proper planning can make a difference in numerous aspects of your professional and personal life.

Posted in cancer screening, mammograms

Happy Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Breast cancer graphicEach October, our nation observes Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Based on data prepared by BreastCancer.org, within the next 12 months, some 230,000 women and 2,000 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer in America. During National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we recognize all those who have experienced the anguish associated with breast cancer and amplify ongoing efforts to improve care and bring attention to this disease. I’ve read that dogs don’t get breast cancer but we can contract tumors in our mammary glands.

According to the American Cancer Society, “Cancer starts when cells in a part of the body start to grow out of control. Cancer cell growth is different from normal cell growth. Instead of dying, cancer cells continue to grow and form new, abnormal cells. Cancer cells can also invade (grow into) other tissues, something that normal cells can’t do. Growing out of control and invading other tissues are what makes a cell a cancer cell.”

The American Cancer Society defines breast cancer as, “a malignant tumor that starts in the cells of the breast. A malignant tumor is a group of cancer cells that can grow into (invade) surrounding tissues or spread (metastasize) to distant areas of the body. The disease occurs almost entirely in women, but men can get it, too.”

BREAST+CANCER+AWARENESS+16X9Statistics about Breast Cancer:

Fortunately, there is good news. (Whew. I was beginning to wonder!) There are currently more than 2.8 million breast cancer survivors in the United States, including women currently being treated as well as those who have completed treatment. When breast cancer is caught early, treatments are highly successful and survival rates increase. That IS good news. In fact, death rates from breast cancer have been declining since 1989, with the most significant statistical decreases in women who are younger than 50. These decreases are believed to be the result of early detection through screening, increased awareness, and improved treatment.

10 Steps to take to reduce your risk of breast cancer

  1. Maintain a healthy weight. Seems like a good idea even aside from cancer risk.
  2. Stay physically active. I can always get behind this!
  3. Limit how much alcohol you drink. Water is always a healthy choice. I like mine in a bowl.
  4. Follow a healthy diet. I think healthy diets can include lots of bacon.
  5. Seek alternative methods for hormone replacement therapy.
  6. If you smoke, quit. If you don’t smoke, don’t start.
  7. Breastfeed your baby.
  8. Consider taking part in clinical trials.
  9. Find out if you have genetic risk factors. (The most common cause of hereditary breast cancer is an inherited mutation in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes.) If you have inherited a mutated copy of either gene from a parent, you have an increased risk of developing breast cancer during your lifetime. Discuss possible genetic testing, which can identify mutations, with your physician.
  10. Schedule regular mammograms. Ask your doctor about recommended frequency

Whether you or someone you know has breast cancer, or if you would just like to support the effort to increase awareness about the disease, we hope you will find a way to “go pink on purpose for breast cancer” this month. To support the cause, we have “gone pink on purpose” on the RJW social media networks.

The RJWestmore Training System by Universal Fire/Life Safety Services is a convenient and affordable solution to helping improve and save lives. Visit our website for ways proper planning can make a difference in numerous aspects of your professional and personal life.

Posted in BE SAFE, Biological Warfare, Disaster Preparedness, High-Rise Buildings, Resolve to Be Ready in 2012

National Preparedness Month September 2012

Based on all of the natural and man-made disasters that have been taking place lately, it seems particularly fitting that September is National Preparedness Month. This year marks the ninth annual National Preparedness Month, sponsored by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

Here is a sampling of significant world events over just the past seven days, in case you aren’t convinced that it is worth your time to prepare for disaster: (By the way…my run-in with Felix the Cat isn’t even listed. I’ll spare you the details. But suffice to say it was definitely a disaster for him.)

 

Bomb Threats:

USA North Dakota

USA Texas

 

Cyclones:

Antilles

Newfoundland

Philippines

 

Earthquakes:

Argentina

China

Costa Rica

Fiji

Greece

Indonesia

Japan

Kyrgyzstan

Papua New Guinea

Philippines

USA Alaska

USA Maine

Venezuela

 

Fires & Wildfires(These just happen to be my specialty.)

Bulgaria

Canada

France

Italy

Siberia

USA California

USA Oklahoma

USA Oregon

USA Washington

USA West Virginia

USA Wyoming

 

Flash Flood & Landslides:

China

Costa Rica

Fiji

India

Pakistan

Philippines

Thailand

USA California

USA Louisiana

USA Utah

West Africa

 

Hazardous Materials:

USA New Mexico

 

Terrorist Attacks:

British Embassy in Sudan

German Embassy in Sudan

US Embassy in Egypt
US Embassy in Libya

US Embassy in Sudan

US Embassy in Tunis

US Embassy in Yemen
Tornadoes: (I think we should have included Toto’s trip to Oz in this category, even though it didn’t happen within the past 7 days.)

USA Florida

USA New York

USA Texas

 

Transportation Incident:

USA Nebraska

 

Volcanoes:

Guatemala

Indonesia

Japan

Obviously, the above list is far from comprehensive. Disasters of all kinds occur virtually everywhere, every second of every hour of every day. Not to be Debbie Downer. If you would like to check out up-to-the minute disasters, you can download apps for your phone or mobile device, or check out free online resources from the CDC, FEMA and Ready.Gov. To receive free monthly preparedness tips from FEMA, text PREPARE to 43362.  More important than learning about every single disaster is to prepare for any and every kind of disaster.

The RJWestmore Online Training System provides emergency preparedness to tenants of high rise commercial buildings across the country. Online modules such as fire, earthquakes and bomb threats equip building occupants so they know how to quickly and safely respond to virtually any disaster…be it manmade or natural. So, if you own or manage commercial property, you can take advantage of the RJW system and enjoy peace of mind about emergency preparation and recovery for everyone who lives or works in your building.

To make sure you and your family are prepared for disasters; heed the advice of FEMA, whose new campaign is: “Today is the day before. Are you ready for tomorrow?” In other words, we don’t know what type disaster might occur tomorrow. But the best we can do is to prepare for it today. Would you be ready for a disaster? In short:

  1. Make sure you are informed about what to do before, during and after a disaster.
  2. Make a plan. Prepare, plan and stay informed about emergencies.
  3. Build a kit for disasters so you are prepared. Make sure the kit includes lots of dog treats and food for Fido.
  4. Get involved—find opportunities to support community preparedness.
  5. Plan to protect your business. Maybe Man’s Best Friend could help you here.

Over the years, we have devoted 169 RJ the Firedog blog posts to the topic of disaster preparation. To celebrate National Preparedness Month, why not read through a few to refresh your memory and motivate you to take action? 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 3.0 system offers the best emergency training system.

Posted in BE SAFE, Disaster Preparedness, Health & Welfare, Hurricanes, Travel, Tsunamis, Uncategorized, Winter Weather Hazards

Are you prepared to survive outdoors in the elements?

feet poking out of a pup tent, under the sun and a small tree
Outdoor Survival: Are You prepared?

 

While we typically discuss disasters as they relate to office buildings and other structures, our lessons about emergency preparedness also apply to survival outside.

Today we tackle some basic winter survival skills to help you prepare for unexpected winter weather whether you are trapped in your car or if you get lost while you’re hiking. Recent severe snowstorms on the East Coast tested both emergency responders and numerous individuals who were affected by the stormy conditions.

Motorists in New Jersey were stranded for some 30 hours—stuck in their cars, surviving on snack food like beef jerky and crackers. That really doesn’t sound so bad to me. But that’s beside the point. Some of the storm victims used common sense, which is vital when trapped in the elements (not to mention in other circumstances, as well). These wise folks conserved fuel resources when running the car’s heater and, above all, they didn’t panic. I reserve panic for real emergencies, like when “Lassie” reruns were taken off of the air.

Here are safety tips to remember if you are stuck in your vehicle in the elements:

  • Before any emergency, take steps so you are prepared. Make sure your car is packed with reflective blankets, extra hats and gloves, a small shovel, food and water and flares or other signaling device.
  • Keep your gas tank full. You will need gas to run the heater (or the air conditioner, if you’re stuck in the desert). Experts recommend running the heat for 10 minutes every hour. That is a similar timeframe to my eating schedule. Every hour, I like to munch for at least 10 minutes. It keeps my metabolism going!
  • Stay in your car! Unless you can clearly see rescuers or a better alternative for shelter, staying in the security of your car is the best option. This is particularly important if you are stranded on a busy roadway or have limited visibility. While your first impulse might be to abandon your vehicle and search for shelter, you risk being hit by other cars on a highway or freezing to death in winter or getting heat stroke in summer if you walk, unprotected, in the elements. So stay with your vehicle.
  • Don’t drink alcohol to warm up. Although that big St. Bernard with a barrel flask is a lovable pooch, you are better off asking him to bring Gatorade instead of liquor. Ignore those who recommend taking a sip of brandy to knock off the chill. Blood rises to the surface of the skin when you drink, which causes rapid heat loss. Also especially important in an emergency situation—you don’t want to risk impairing your judgment.
  • Watch out for carbon monoxide poisoning. In big snow drifts, it’s likely your car’s tailpipe may be covered with snow. Crack the window when running the heat and use a shovel or other tool to clear some space for exhaust to escape.

If you are out in the elements when a storm breaks, you might get stuck in the snow. If so, take these basic steps to ensure your survival:

  • If you are going for a hike or cross country skiing, tell people where you are going and when you will be back. Search teams won’t come looking if they don’t know you are lost.
  • Make sure you know how to start a fire. Simply carrying a box of matches on your hike won’t help if you get stuck in the rain. Even waterproof matches can fail. Although dogs are very handy to have around, we aren’t much help starting fires. So bring alternative fire-making sources such as magnesium fire starters to create sparks.
  • Staying dry and warm are essentials, regardless of weather. Wear more layers than you think is necessary. This way, you will be able to remove unnecessary layers. Use the three-layer system to stay warm and toasty. Even though I have fur, I still get chilly when wet. So you might consider buying one of those nifty doggie raincoats, as well.
  • Shelter in place. Build a debris hut. When you are certain you are far from traffic, find a pole or log about one and a half times your own height. Prop it about three to four feet up with a boulder or stump. Then, take smaller branches and lay them diagonally on the main beam. Place leaves, grass or any other debris in between the branches and put at least one foot of similar material inside the hut. It might not win any design awards. But it will keep you relatively warm and dry. Man’s best friend can definitely help gathering sticks for the hut!

Unlike disasters such as earthquakes or hurricanes, getting caught out in winter weather is largely avoidable. If there is a blizzard outside, you probably don’t have any urgent need to be in the car. Paying an extra $1 to return that Red Box movie isn’t going to hurt you! And you can probably skip our afternoon walk. We would rather stay inside by the fireplace. If you are skiing or backcountry-hiking, use a portable radio to stay informed. Consider joining an outdoor survival school to learn the latest techniques for safety.  As always, staying safe comes down to advanced preparation and cool-headed thinking during an emergency.

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, Earthquakes, Emergency Evacuations, Fire Life Safety Training, Fire Safety, Fires, Going Green, Health & Welfare, High-Rise Buildings, Hurricanes, Identity Theft, Influenza, Swine Flu, Travel, Tsunamis, Uncategorized, Version 2.0, Winter Weather Hazards

11 Safety Tips for 2011: How to BE SAFE in the Coming Year

 

road sign with with "2010" red-lined and "2011" with an arrow
BE SAFE in 2011
  1. Be prepared…for everything and anything! At home and at work, the most important step you can take to ensure your own safety as well as the safety of coworkers, employees, family and friends, is to prepare. For ideas, look to FEMA’s recently announced “Resolve to be Ready in 2011” campaign, which features several suggestions for disaster preparedness. What’s more, our own blog posts provide food for fodder. And, as everyone knows, I love food of any kind…fodder or otherwise.
  2. Drill. A timely example of how preparation is critical for saving lives occurred at a San Antonio CPS office building which caught fire on December 20.  According to news’ reports, all 400 of the building’s occupants were forced to evacuate the building before 9 a.m., at which point the company’s emergency evacuation plans were put into effect. No doubt benefiting from the safety plan and associated regular fire drills, preparation paid off as every employee escaped without injury. I’m a big fan of drills, myself. But the guys at the firehouse didn’t appreciate the Chinese Fire Drill I started when we were on a recent call.
  3. Protect yourself from cyber-terrorism. As we rely more and more on all things electronic, we must be diligent to guard ourselves against identity theft. Four out of five victims of Identity Theft encounter serious issues as a result of the crime, such as lowered credit scores, bankruptcy, foreclosure, or even prison time. So protect your Internet passwords by creating them randomly and changing them frequently. This isn’t a huge risk for me, personally, since I don’t have opposable thumbs.
  4. Guard against health risks. Although the flood of sensational news’ stories about Cholera, the Swine Flu and SARS have ebbed, you still run the risk of contracting viruses and bacteria if you fail to take precautions to remain healthy. One of the easiest ways to do this is to regularly and thoroughly wash your hands (or paws, whatever the case.) Also, take advantage of vaccinations designed to protect you against illnesses such as Influenza or Respiratory Syncytial Virus.
  5. Consider your location. Since different types of disasters occur depending on your location, pay attention to geography and history when you prepare for natural or man-made disasters. If you live on the coast, for example, plan for tsunamis. If you get snow, make winterizing a priority. If you live near a fault line, make sure you are ready for earthquakes. No matter where you live, you should probably stock up on kibble and rawhide chews.
  6. Heed storm warnings. While some natural disasters, such as earthquakes, come without warning, many others are relatively easy to predict. So, if you live in an area where hurricanes or tornadoes are common, follow forecasts. And when an event is anticipated, take necessary steps to ensure your own safety as well as that of emergency workers, who might be put in harm’s way if they have to brave the elements in order to rescue you. In other words, don’t sit on your roof in a flood. This is especially true if you live in a doghouse.
  7. Do the right thing. Don’t cut corners. Take a cue from the recent Shanghai Fire, which some believe resulted from contractors who cut corners. Applicable to all areas of life, doing what’s right will help keep everyone safe in 2011 and beyond.
  8. Go green. You don’t have to be a hippie to understand the importance of protecting our planet. Today, millions of electronics are shipped to developing countries where they are dissembled, often in a crude manner, which exposes workers and the environment to contaminants such as mercury, sulfur, and lead. This practice puts us all at risk. So do your part this year to Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. You can start by sharing your leftovers instead of throwing them away. Every little bit helps! So I’ll do my part to reduce the refuse.
  9. Travel safely. Try to be patient if you fly. While it might be inconvenient to take off your belt, shoes and jewelry at the security gate, and possibly undergoing a TSA pat-down, these safety measures are in place to keep us safe.
  10. Fight fire with fire prevention. The surest way to fight fire is to prevent it. The National Fire Protection Association has sponsored Fire Prevention Week each year since the Great Chicago Fire roared through Chicago in 1871. This year’s push is to install smoke alarms. So if you haven’t installed them in your commercial property building or at home, do so today!
  11. Keep learning. Our corporate mission is to save lives through training with the motto “Be Safe!” The RJWestmore Training System 2.0 is a fully integrated system which allows property management companies to manage one site or an entire portfolio, with all users in the same system.

If you own or manage commercial property, by enrolling in the system, please consider our system, which trains occupants, floor wardens, and fire safety directors. What’s more; all user training and testing is recorded. Get quick access to building-specific Emergency Responder information and other resources. We hope you’ll allow us to do our part to help keep you safe in 2011 and beyond.

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 2.0 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.