Posted in be prepared for emergencies, Disaster Preparedness, FEMA, Workplace Safety

The Red Cross Offers ReadyRating

RedCrossReadyRating 2At the RJWestmore Training System by Universal Fire/Life Safety Services, we frequently work side-by-side, with an iconic disaster relief agency – the Red Cross. Although the agency is always at the front lines of a disaster and is best known in that regard, its mission extends beyond immediate relief into disaster preparedness and education, much like our own. Well, my mission includes attacking those things that pop-up on the lawn and spray water. What is going on with those things? Where do they go when the water stops!!?

Why is disaster planning so important for business owners? According to FEMA, 40% of small businesses will not reopen following a disaster, a sobering (that’s a big word!) statistic, which illustrates both the challenge in managing a small business and the severe impact disasters can have on otherwise potentially successful companies.

The American Red Cross Rating Program

ReadyRating is designed to help schools, companies, and other organizations prepare for disasters. This free service provides members with access to information about how to both evaluate and improve their disaster planning procedures and save lives… something that we strive to do through our own training modules. I saved a squirrel once. Whiskers and Mr. Tubbington had cornered the little guy, so I swooped in to save the day. Squirrels are nuts.

Photo provided courtesy of the Red Cross. All rights reserved. 2015

The ReadyRating is promoted by agencies such as the Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD), an agency with whom we are proud to partner. We are pleased to join agencies such as LAFD to encourage businesses to participate in the Red Cross’ program, in order to gauge and improve their disaster readiness. Free membership into ReadyRating provides users with a dashboard that helps them evaluate their level of preparedness. Customized feedback is based on assessment scores, as well as the ability to create an “Organization Manager” with linked member-accounts. The steps and recommendations found within ReadyRating are adopted from scientific research and expert opinions from noted industry professionals. This means they know their stuff!

ReadyRating features a three-step process for participating members:

  1. Conduct an Assessment

Organizations can choose either a “ReadyGo” assessment or a “ReadyAdvance” assessment to determine preparedness. The ReadyGo 25-question version is basic, designed to help companies see the most critical steps they should undertake to best manage disasters. The ReadyAdvance plan is more in-depth, with 60 questions. More comprehensive in nature, ReadyAdvance results effectively measure the merits of an organization’s existing preparedness plan, and provides users with roadmaps for improving their existing plans. Before another pooch can hang with me, I ask them to complete an in-depth assessment to gauge their willingness to chase rabbits and chew shoes.

The assessment contains five sections that score the preparedness level of the company, including level of current emergency planning, commitment to preparedness, knowledge of hazards, love of bacon, implementation of the plan, and resiliency of the community.

  1. Create a Well-Informed Emergency Plan

ReadyRating features a template generator that utilizes the company’s assessment information to create an Emergency Action Plan (EAP), specific to the company. The plans are OSHA-compliant, which is a primary concern for businesses required to meet OSHA regulations.

  1. Leverage Expert Resources

The final component of the plan is to encourage businesses to utilize Red Cross resources such as emergency preparedness guides, checklists, and other tools. For example, the resource center on the Red Cross website include disaster drill forms, emergency contact card templates, and a step-by-step guide for organizing a blood drive. I told you these people know what they are doing! The resources, including videos and guides, are designed to be actionable – offering clear advice to companies that want to strengthen their disaster planning.

Remember that safety is a daily priority, so be sure to think about disaster planning all of the time. 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 BE SAFE, Disaster Preparedness, Version 3.0

Are you ready for a Zombie Apocalypse?

(This is a light-hearted take on a fictional event. There is actually no such thing as a Zombie Apocalypse. (Yet!)

The threat of a zombie apocalypse could be closer than you think. If zombies attack, would you be ready? As the CDC explains, if you are ready for a zombie apocalypse, you are ready for anything.

First, consider how easily a zombie apocalypse could begin:

  1. A genetically altered, infected flea from a mad scientist’s flea circus lab hyper-jumps out of its jar onto a mad scientist’s pet vampire werewolf.
  2. Doing his best coyote imitation, the werewolf comes into your neighborhood in search of food, stray cats, etc. (Not that I’m saying this is a bad thing, mind you.)
  3. Your cat narrowly escapes the life or death encounter but picks up the now fast multiplying mutant vampire fleas. Leave it to a cat to spread disease.
  4. Scared to death, your cat screams into your house, over the kitchen counter, across the couch, up the stairs into your bedroom and under your covers–leaving a trail of hungry mutant vampire fleas everywhere.
  5. While you’re sleeping, the hungry mutant fleas spread out and find you and your family and dig in.
  6. By morning, your whole family is infected but don’t notice in your excited rush to get to the airport to go to the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
  7. What you don’t realize is that these mutant fleas don’t just bite. They eat their way under your skin and infect your bloodstream with mind-eating parasites that turn you and your whole family into Zombies while simultaneously germinating the geometrically growing millions of new mutant vampire Zombie fleas that are hungry for new hosts. I hate fleas…even if they aren’t mutants.
  8. To save money, you have booked connecting flights from Hawaii to California to Atlanta, to New York to London with layovers at each stop. So you are spreading fleas everywhere you go and infecting hundreds and hundreds of people in every airport who are now taking the mutant vampire Zombie flea parasites all over the world.
  9. By the time to get to London, you realize that something is not right when you can’t stop yourself from dancing like you’re an extra in the Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” video or listening to Warren Zevon’s song “Werewolves of London.” But it’s too late now– ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE!!!!!!

Since a zombie apocalypse is obviously inevitable, we thought it worthwhile to take this week’s RJWestmore Training System blog post help you prepare. After all, planning for a zombie apocalypse isn’t much different from planning for a disaster of any kind. Just remember to Get a Kit, Make a Plan, and Be Informed:

Get a Kit

As with any emergency, the first step in preparation is to put together an emergency preparedness kit or “go bag.” Although you might want to include a few extra items to ward off zombies, most disaster kits include the same basic items, each of which should be placed into an easy-to-carry kit for use at home or to take with you if you need to evacuate:

  • Water—one gallon per person, per day (3­-day supply for evacuation, 2­-week supply for use at home.) If you are bitten by a zombie, you will probably become very thirsty and be glad you have plenty of water on hand. Don’t forget to include a dog bowl if you’ve got a pet.
  • Food—non­perishable items (3-­day supply for evacuation, 2-­week supply for use at home) Don’t forget the dog bowl and dog food.
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • Battery­-powered or hand-­crank radio (The best choice would be a NOAA Weather Radio.)
  • First aid kit and medications (including OTC and prescriptions)
  • Multi­purpose tool which you could use to cut off any zombie-bite infected limbs
  • Personal hygiene items
  • Hand sanitizer in case the zombie gets blood on you when he attacks
  • Copies of personal documents (medication requirements, pertinent medical information, proof of address, deed/lease to home, passports, birth certificates and insurance policies, family and emergency contact information)
  • Cell phone with chargers so you can text your friends about zombie movement
  • Map(s) of the immediate area so you know where to flee from zombies
  • Medical supplies to help in the treatment of zombie bites
  • Baby supplies (bottles, formula, baby food, diapers)
  • Games and activities for children
  • Pet supplies (collar, leash, ID, food, carrier, bowl) This category is super important!
  • Extra set of car keys and house keys
  • Can opener so you can try to bribe the zombie with food
  • Whistle to alert others in your area about zombie threats
  • N95 or surgical masks in case of environmental pathogens
  • Matches so you can light zombies on fire or start a fire to keep yourself warm
  • Rain gear and plastic sheeting to keep dry and hide from wandering zombies
  • Towels, which can be used for bedding, to wipe up messes and as bandages or tourniquets which will be needed if zombies bite
  • Work gloves so you can remove dead zombies from the area
  • Extra clothing, hat and sturdy shoes
  • Duct tape (which you can try to use to bind the zombies’ hands, feet and mouth). You could also use it to restrain unruly cats. Just a suggestion…
  • Scissors (which will double as a helpful tool and anti-zombie weapon)
  • Household bleach (possibly good for pouring onto zombies so they melt, if they behave like the Wicked Witch of the West in The Wizard of Oz)
  • Blankets or sleeping bags to hide from the zombies
  • Extra cash to pay off the head zombie, so he and his cohorts will leave you alone

Make a Plan

  • Make sure you have a plan for contacting family and friends in the event of a zombie attack.
  • Develop an evacuation plan and practice it so you will be able to move quickly in the event of an actual zombie attack.
  • Decide before an actual zombie attack how you and loved ones will connect in case communication and transportation is compromised.

Be Informed

Zombie-related emergencies could range from severe headaches, dry eye, the heartbreak of psoriasis. Not to mention major clothing malfunctions and dirty mouth health issues. And remember Zombies can’t get affordable medical and dental care so you will be on your own. Even Obamacare won’t be able to help you.

To make sure you are updated about disasters, tune into radio stations, and sign up for mobile-phone updates. If your television is working, watch the news as well as reruns of The Walking Dead, where you will undoubtedly learn more about zombie activity than you ever cared to ask.

So what exactly is the point of the CDC’s “Zombie Apocalypse” campaign? For any type of disaster, preparation is the key. If you over-prepare for the worst case scenario (And, let’s face it; it doesn’t get worse than flesh-eating zombies), then you will be able to handle an emergency of any kind. The good news is that the CDC assures us that there is actually no basis for a real zombie apocalypse. We have provided these tips as a light-hearted way to remind you to prepare for disasters of any kind.

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 3.0 e-based training system offers the best emergency training system.