Posted in be prepared for emergencies, BE SAFE, Disaster Preparedness, Earthquakes, Health & Welfare, High-Rise Buildings, Uncategorized

The Great Shakeout 2016

shakeout_global_getready_300x250Drop, Cover, and Hold On at 10:20 a.m. on October 20, 2016 during The Great California ShakeOut. Participating in the annual event is a great way to make sure you are prepared to survive and recover quickly from substantial earthquakes – whether you are at home, at work or traveling. Personally, I think Shake-n-Bake pork chops would be a great way to mark the occasion.

To help mark the occasion and call attention to earthquake preparedness, we want to take this opportunity to educate our subscribers and friends about earthquake preparedness in high-rise buildings. We would like to extend our thanks to Safe-T-Proof, which provided their “Quake Cottage” for a Pre-Great California Shakeout event. They offer superior earthquake fasteners and straps for offices as well as survival kits and additional earthquake-safety supplies.quakeshack

The latest and greatest in earthquake-resilient design is currently being implemented to build the Wilshire Grand Center in Los Angeles, which, at 1,100 feet, will make it the tallest building on the Pacific coast. The building’s massive foundation is so robust that its construction is noted in the Guinness Book of World Records for the “longest continuous concrete pour.” I wonder who holds the record for the longest bacon feast?

Despite how odd it feels to stand in a tall building that sways during an earthquake, modern California high-rises provide safer refuge during earthquakes than most shorter facilities. This is because architectural plans and construction for high-rise California structures built after the Sylmar quake in 1971 are required to follow stringent seismic codes. You can further improve your high-rise earthquake survival odds by taking preparedness steps.

shakeout_global_joinus_160x600Safety Tips for High-Rise Earthquakes

  • Stay put. Sitting down under a desk or doorway is the safest way to “ride out” a quake while it’s happening. Most earthquakes are relatively short. So it is safer to patiently wait a quake out instead of trying to exit the building as it moves. Even with four legs, I find it difficult to maneuver during earthquakes.
  • Stay alert. After exiting a building, tenants should move under cover in order to avoid falling debris such as panes of glass. Also, pay attention to warnings of fires or tsunamis which can follow any quake.
  • Stay informed. Tenants in high rises should be familiar with evacuation protocols for their building. A speedy yet orderly evacuation is crucial for ensuring building occupant safety. The National Fire Protection Association offers an evacuation plan video that encourages individuals to take ownership of their safety while following safety procedures.

Allied Universal offers these earthquake safety tips for anyone who may not be in a high-rise to follow:

Indoors

  • Drop to the ground. Take cover by getting under a sturdy table and hold on. Stay inside until the shaking stops.
  • Stay away from glass or anything that can fall, like light fixtures and furniture.
  • Stay in bed if you are there when the earthquake strikes.

In a Fire…R-A-C-E to Safety!

  • Rescue—Remove any employees or visitors from immediate danger.
  • Alarm—Pull the nearest Fire Alarm and call the proper emergency phone number.
  • Contain—Contain all smoke and toxic fumes by closing all doors and windows.
  • Extinguish and Evacuate—Follow all posted and verbal procedures.

Outdoorsshakeout_global_dontfreak_728x90

  • Stay where you are if you are not near any buildings, streetlights or utility wires.
  • Do not move from the area you are in until the shaking stops. Remember that aftershocks can be just as bad as the earthquake itself.

In a Moving Vehicle

  • Stop as quickly as possible, but stay in the vehicle. Avoid stopping near or under buildings, trees, overpasses and utility wires.
  • Proceed cautiously once the shaking has stopped. Avoid roads, bridges, or ramps that have been damaged.

Built to Withstand QuakesTerremoto en una ciudad

Modern high rises, such as the Wilshire Grand Center, undergo considerable earthquake modeling and testing before they are complete. Taller buildings must withstand massive amounts of force from earthquakes and wind, so engineers make sure construction will withstand the “worst case scenario.” To me, any worst case scenario involves cats.

High-Rise Earthquake Safety Features

  • Tuned mass dampers. These are massive weights that are mounted within a building and designed to move opposite to the oscillations of the structure. For example, the massive Taipei 101 skyscraper damper weighs 660 tons.
  • Simple roller bearing. This is a type of “base isolation” where the movement of the building is mitigated by bearings, which absorb some of the energy, thereby minimizing the building’s lateral movement. This is a common technique that essentially removes the structure from the ground, so it “floats” freely.
  • Sway. Engineers build the structure to withstand a certain amount of sway, knowing that there is a direct relationship between the height of the building and seconds of associated, safe side-to-side movement.

Low and extremely wide angle view of Office BuildingsBuilding design is always dynamic, with new materials and procedures explored that can make buildings safer and more aesthetically pleasing. For instance, the growing use of cross-laminated timber (CLT) is pushing architects to consider high-rise wood buildings in Seattle and other areas. Sounds like a good idea to me!

Remember that safety is a daily priority for everyone, not only those working or living in high-rise buildings. 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 Allied 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 Uncategorized

Shakin’ it in October

Shakeout 2015c

Each October marks another Great California Shakeout, a month-long event designed to educate people about earthquake preparedness. As an aside, the month also brings the worst holiday of the year. Imagine the horror of hearing the doorbell dozens of times in one night! Halloween is dreadful to pooches. Don’t you know we’re allergic to chocolate? What’s the point?

Held annually in California, and many other states, The Great Shakeout offers expert resources and an earthquake drill that happens at exactly the same time all across the state. This year’s Shakeout will take place on October 15 at 10:15 a.m. PST.  With more than nine million individual participants, the Shakeout will drill people from businesses, schools, museums and more.

Drop, Cover, and Hold On are the instructions for anyone participating in an earthquake drill. Lucky for us, our four legs provide us with a stable base. The exercise reinforces several actions to take during and immediately following earthquakes:

  • Cover your head with your arms and take shelter under a desk or table. Ignore the old advice about finding a doorway to stand under. Instead, move towards a desk or table (if they are close by). The next alternative is to move to the corner of a room and place your hands over your head.
  • Don’t try to go outside. It’s safer to be inside a structure, especially with the associated risk of falling glass and other debris that might shake loose during the quake. The ground during an earthquake is unstable, so you could potentially injure yourself if you move around too much. Keep your pets close by after the quake as they’ll likely be freaked out!
  • Move slowly away from large hanging pictures and heavy bookcases. I have several “dogs playing poker” paintings in the doghouse. Good thing they’re secured with epoxy-strength glue!
  • Once the shaking stops, take a minute to remember proper evacuation procedures. Leave the building in a quick and orderly fashion.
  • If you are on a sidewalk near a building, try to enter via the lobby, to avoid falling glass. If you are on a sidewalk during a regular day, then maybe keep your hands off the fire hydrants. We pooches occasionally like to “greet” the hydrants.
  • Stay alert for aftershocks which can approach the same intensity as the main quake.

Shakeout 2015b

The Great Shakeout website offers resources for groups preparing for earthquakes. These include drill manuals for business owners, with tips for creating and conducting preparedness drills. Here are a few great tips from the manual:

  • Simulate actual earthquake conditions by asking employees to stay in the crouched safe position for a minute or longer. I paid a guy five bucks to give our doghouse a good shaking. I’m glad I installed the rebar and steel beams.
  • Conduct meetings after the drill to discuss possible ways to improve procedures and communications. Adjust your business disaster plan based on this feedback.
  • Designate staff members to be in charge of certain activities after a quake. For example, the Shakeout is a great time to make sure your high-rise building’s Floor Wardens understand their job relative to emergency preparedness and disaster management.

Fotolia_76149984_XSWhile much of the focus on earthquakes centers on California and other western states, the need for earthquake preparedness is great throughout the country. For instance, Ohio and other Midwestern states experience occasional strong quakes. In fact, a massive quake in 1812 reportedly caused parts of the Mississippi River to flow backwards. A 7.3 quake struck South Carolina in 1896, and remains the strongest East Coast quake in recorded history. Dangerous earthquakes can happen in any part of the U.S., so building managers and owners should be certain quake preparedness is part of any disaster plan.

Remember that safety is a daily priority, so be sure to think about disaster planning all of the time–not just during October. 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 our system, or to subscribe, click here.

Posted in Building Evacuation, Disaster Preparedness, Earthquakes, High-Rise Buildings

Get Ready for the 2012 Great California ShakeOut

Although hundreds of earthquakes strike the world at any given moment, we are all aware that, one day, the “Big One” may hit. If it did, would you be ready? Registration has reached nine million participants for this year’s Great California ShakeOut, to be held across the state of California on Oct. 18 at 10:18 a.m. This will be the fifth annual earthquake drill, which is designed to inspire people to “DROP, COVER & HOLD ON in case of earthquake. By the way, there is no need to hold on if you drop bacon on the floor. There is still time to register if you have not yet done so.

Kids, adults and pooches from schools, businesses, professional organizations, government agencies, neighborhoods and households all across California will take part in what is the largest earthquake drill in the world, designed to train people and pups how to safely react and recover quickly in case a major earthquake strikes California.

ShakeOut founder Mark Benthien is Director of Communication, Education, and Outreach for the Southern California Earthquake Center (SCEC) at the University of Southern California, and Executive Director of the Earthquake Country Alliance (ECA). The ECA coordinates the California ShakeOut and SCEC coordinates with ShakeOut regions across the U.S. and around the world.

ShakeOut press conferences and activities will take place on October 18th at various venues throughout the entire state of California:

  • Los Angeles at Union Station will host the Traveling Red Table, which was created by the California Earthquake Authority (CEA) and American Red Cross (Red Cross) will highlight the Seven Steps to Earthquake Safety, with emphasis on ShakeOut registration to run-through’s of the fifth step – how to “Drop, Cover, and Hold On” when the ground shakes. Union Station will also be the primary media venue on the Great California ShakeOut day. I like hanging out at Union Station because people often drop scraps from their uneaten lunches. But that’s off of the subject.
  • The CSUN ShakeOut Festival including a Preparedness Fair, will be held from 9 am – 1 pm, at the NE corner of Sierra Quad in Los Angeles County.
  • Orange Tree Lane in San Bernardino County — From 9 a.m. until noon, there will be a Preparedness Fair at 2024. The epicenter of ShakeOut-related activities will be held at the San Bernardino County Museum in Redlands and will feature emergency equipment, emergency responders and earthquake preparedness educational activities. Orange Tree Lane is also where they hold the annual fair. Fairs are great because they are full of food. But, sorry…off subject, again!
  • Earthquake preparedness fair held from 9 am to 1 pm on CSUN’s Sierra Quad complete with informative booths, demonstrations, handouts, and prizes.
  • San Diego’s Santa Fe Station, which will focus on what to do if you are on public transportation when a major earthquake strikes.
  • In San Francisco, a Union Square ShakeOut press event will feature a choreographed ShakeOut flash dance, culminating in a mass Drop, Cover and Hold On demonstration.
  • Throughout the state, ShakeOut drills educate people at schools, work and home about how to prepare for, survive, and recover from the next damaging earthquake. And this is serious business, folks. Like we always say at RJWestmore…we save lives through training. And preparing for an earthquake could save your life!
  • Preparation messages remind Californians to secure their space, create disaster and communications plans, collect and organize disaster supplies, and take steps to safeguard their finances by strengthening their property and considering earthquake insurance. I tried to get earthquake insurance on my doghouse. But Snoopy ruined it for everyone with that whole Red Baron routine.
  • Survival messages provide correct techniques for immediate Drop, Cover and Hold On responses when the earth starts shaking – and what to do when the shaking stops to improve safety by helping the injured, preventing further damage, and evacuating from tsunami zones.
  • Recovery strategies include how to restore daily live by reconnecting with others, repairing damage and rebuilding our communities.

ShakeOut participation is free and takes only a few minutes. Information about how to register and participate is found at http://www.shakeout.org/california. “Don’t be left out of the ShakeOut!”

ShakeOut began as a Southern California drill, quickly spread statewide, throughout the West, and then to the Central and Southeast U.S., as well as to several U.S. Territories, Canada, New Zealand, Japan, and Italy. Additional people and organizations in many other states and countries are also registering independent drills.

“It’s amazing to see how quickly this has become a worldwide movement,” said Benthien. “ShakeOut is a fun and easy way for people, organizations and communities in many regions to get prepared now, together, before major earthquakes.”

According to ShakeOut organizers, 4.5 million people across the U.S. have participated in Great ShakeOut events already this year—in the Central U.S., Utah, and even in New Zealand. In total, more than 15 million people will practice earthquake safety in 2012 as part of the various ShakeOut drills. For more details about events or to register to participate in any of the drills visit www.shakeout.org.

ShakeOut is organized by the Earthquake Country Alliance, a partnership of the Southern California Earthquake Center, California Emergency Management Agency, USGS, California Earthquake Authority, the American Red Cross, and many others. Extensive information is available for the public and media at http://www.ShakeOut.org/California. Event details are available at www.shakeout.org/california/news.

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, Building Evacuation, Burns, Disaster Preparedness, Earthquakes, Emergency Evacuations, Fire Life Safety Training, Fire Safety, Fires, Floods, Golden Guardian, Health & Welfare, Hurricanes, Terrorism, Uncategorized

Golden Guardian Program Prepares Folks for Disaster Response and Recovery

Golden Guardian 2011 Logo
The Golden Guardian 2011 Program will prepare agency representatives for disaster response and recovery.

The Golden Guardian is an annual event that tests the responsiveness and readiness of a particular area of California for specific disasters. I thought it was the title of a feature film about everyone’s favorite pooch—the Golden Lab. I get it! They are so cute and furry and playful!

First implemented in 2004, The Golden Guardian is now an annual statewide exercise that tests government agencies, volunteer organizations and other entities. The Golden Guardian is the largest disaster planning event of its kind.The result of multiple agency cooperation, Golden Guardian plans are developed by FEMA Region IX and the California Emergency Management Agency (Cal EMA), among others.

Each year, the Golden Guardian event has a certain theme which reflects on the risks of a potentially devastating natural or man-made disaster. For 2011, the theme was flooding for the inland region of the state.  The event brought together several agencies including the Inland Region Emergency Operations Center, the State Operations Center, federal agencies and partners in the private sector. From May 17th through the 19th, these agencies worked together to forecast the impact of a major flood and examine where responsibilities would lie for cleanup and evacuation as well as health and food assistance efforts.

The risk of a major flood is demonstrated by scientists who detailed the availability of an ARKstorm for inland California. This massive storm could potentially create a flooded area 300 miles long and up to 20 miles wide in the Central Valley of California.  Wow! That is bigger than a bunch of states! It would be the size of some of the Great Lakes.

The theme for 2012 is a major earthquake in Southern California. For 2013, the theme is a catastrophic earthquake in the Bay Area, for 2014, it is Northwest Coast earthquake and tsunami risks, and in 2015, the theme is civil disturbance.

I have a breakdown of my own personal potential disasters that I will be planning for in the coming years:

  • 2012 – Managing a pig ear shortage, including stockpiling tips and grief counseling
  • 2013 – Tips and tactics for enduring bath time
  • 2014 – How to alert people through barking that Timmy is caught on the railroad tracks again (Sorry, Lassie.)

The 2012 Golden Guardian event is intended to open discussion about the entire scope of disaster response—from evacuation routes to shelters for domestic animals. A comprehensive review of readiness, the 2012 event will cover such issues as:

  • Protocols for airlifting supplies, including the establishment of offshore Naval resupply ships, if necessary. I could use a good airlift drop in the backyard—14 tubes of tennis balls, 79 pounds of beef strips…throw in an old shoe to chew on!
  • A review of the “Hub and Spoke” concept of focusing assistance efforts on areas where affected individuals will congregate, such as stadiums, schools and open areas
  • Stabilization of public utilities in order to support infrastructure for critical care facilities like pet food factories
  • Management of public information announcements such as traffic guidelines or water safety alerts that will help citizens manage the disaster
  • Estimation about the number of fires resulting from earthquakes and also calculations about the water and personnel needed to combat the fires.

Preparation and knowledge are always critical for handling emergencies with speed and sound decision-making. Thorough planning helps to uncover unforeseen circumstances and close gaps in safety, logistics and recovery efforts. There are many lessons to be learned from the Golden Guardian campaign that can be applied to individuals as well as business. The first is the benefits of cooperation and the power of groups who work together to achieve goals.

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, Disaster Preparedness, Earthquakes, Emergency Evacuations, Fire Life Safety Training, Fire Safety, High-Rise Buildings, Tsunamis, Uncategorized, Version 2.0

Earthquake Preparedness–the Real Deal

ShakeOut. Don't Freak Out.
Don't Freak Out. Shake Out.

It’s easy to talk about disaster preparedness. Well, if would be easy if I could talk. Anyway, at RJWestmore, Inc., we like to walk the talk. One example of the way we practice what we preach is our participation in the 2010 Great California ShakeOut, which was recognized by Cal EMA and the Earthquake Country Alliance. We were in good company, as some 7.9 million people (and who knows how many dogs) actively participated in the 2010 event.

The 2011 ShakeOut will be held on October 20th, 2011 at 10:20 in the morning! So mark your calendars today! Why are we talking about an event that is six months away? Because earthquakes can happen at any time and often without advance warning. So, to limit loss of life and property, planning ahead is paramount to safety. We want to make sure we give you plenty of notice so you will participate in the next ShakeOut.

Unfortunately, much of the latest information about best practices to deal with earthquakes comes from past incidents. Despite the tragedy in terms of lives lost, it is important to take a review of actual disasters (such as the recent Japan quake), to prepare for the inevitability of future earthquake-related events:

  • Information sharing is critical. Some Japanese agencies received criticism for the slow spread of information relative to the depth of damage to infrastructure, particularly concerning the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. I stand by my assertion that the best solution for quickly sharing information is the Twilight Bark!
  • Tsunami and earthquake damage are under review by teams from several countries. The sheer scale of the disaster makes it an obvious example of a worst-case scenario, where individuals on top of four-story buildings were not even afforded safety. Groups from the United States are examining the types of buildings that did or did not escape the tsunami unscathed. The research could lead to drastic changes in building codes and provide opportunities for better safety in the future.
  • Scientists use data from the Japan quake to examine similarities in other geographic regions. Researchers are closely reviewing the Pacific Northwest of the United States which is in a similar subduction zone to Japan. Further review will allow better future placement of tsunami offshore beacons and will likely lead to changes in building strategies as well as warning systems.
  • In California, greater emphasis is placed on events like the ShakeOut because the desire to mine earthquake preparedness knowledge is so intense. Many large California cities have avoided a massive earthquake for more than a century. And renewed vigilance is important to recognize the threat posed by a quake.

In the disaster planning field, unfortunately, actual disasters are often the most useful for emergency training. For example, large-scale tragedies have lead to analyzing and revamping of building codes and emergency procedures, which have greatly reduced destruction during subsequent disasters. The same is true for potty-training puppies, by the way. So, when educational opportunities such as the ShakeOut arise, make sure you avail yourself of safe opportunities to learn.

Proper planning and learning the “Do’s” are the keys to managing the situation when disasters strike.  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.