Posted in Disaster Preparedness, Fire Safety

How to #BeSafe in 2015 

new-years-resolutions firedogNew Year’s Resolutions. Most people write a few down, even if they have no intention of ever following through. That could be the reason dogs don’t participate in the practice. Well, it could also be because we don’t have opposable thumbs. But, whatever the reason, according to USA.Gov, the 10 most popular resolutions (for people) are to:

  • Lose weight
  • Volunteer to help others
  • Quit smoking
  • Get a better education
  • Get a better job
  • Save money
  • Get fit
  • Eat healthier
  • Manage stress
  • Manage debt

BeeSafeAs good as those aspirations are, we propose they fail to incorporate one of the most important goals anyone could make—to #BeSafe! So, as our gift to you for 2015, we have prepared a list of our suggestions for 10 New Year’s Safety Resolutions:

  1. Create/update home and workplace emergency preparedness kits. The contents of your kit will vary depending on individual needs. Set aside a three-days-per-person supply of foodwater and other essentials. Local officials and relief workers will be on the scene after a disaster but they cannot reach everyone immediately. Help could arrive in hours or it could take days for relief workers to get to you. So take responsibility for yourself. This is good advice even outside the arena of safety.
  1. Develop and practice an emergency preparedness plan. The Ready Campaign and Citizen Corps encourages households, businesses and communities to prepare for emergencies by making plans to be self-reliant for three days without utilities and electricity, water service, access to a supermarket or local services. If you own or manage a facility, make sure tenants and employees are well-informed of emergency procedures. Develop a plan and run periodic drills. Practice makes perfect. I love running drills…or running anything, for that matter.
  1. Don’t play with fire. When fires break out, the potential for loss is high if occupants are untrained and proper fire life safety systems are not utilized. So take precautions to make sure you are fire safe, whether you are located in an area with a high risk of wildfire; visiting, living or working inside a high rise building; or just hanging out at home. We can’t really emphasize this enough. Fire is dangerous stuff. Be careful.
  1. Learn CPR. Sudden cardiac arrest, the leading cause of death in adults, accounts for 325,000 annual adult deaths in the United States. Prompt, effective administration of CPR/AED and first aid can mean the difference between life and death. Did you know you can’t call the Heimlich maneuver the Heimlich maneuver anymore? I guess Heimlich’s family got mad they weren’t making any money off of the deal. So now it’s called the Abdominal Thrust. Not quite as catchy.
  1. Take advantage of available vaccines. Because people are starting to second-guess the wisdom of vaccinating their children, once eradicated diseases such as polio and TB are reemerging. Do your due diligence, researching booster shots your pediatrician suggests. But refusing every vaccination could put the rest of the population at risk. I don’t know why people refuse to get shots. We give JR boosters all of the time and he doesn’t even cry.
  1. Learn how to determine whether any given disaster would be best handled by evacuation or sheltering in place. Since every natural or manmade disaster is unique, you won’t be able to predict the best course of action. But, you can educate yourself about the various types of emergencies and how to respond most appropriately in any given situation. Safe Room
  1. Wash your hands often. Use soap and water or hand sanitizer to prevent spreading germs. During flu season, this is especially important! The CDC likens hand washing to a “do-it-yourself” vaccine. Effective hand washing involves five simple and effective steps, including wet, lather, scrub, rinse and dry. Regular hand washing, particularly before and after certain activities, is the best way to remove germs, avoid getting sick, and prevent the spread of germs to others. I try to keep my paws as clean as possible.
  1. Be mindful of safety risks associated with natural disasters. Extreme heat, mudslides, flash floods, tornadoes, hurricanes and earthquakes pose significant and very specific safety-related issues. So the best way to prepare is to research the risks that pertain to your geographic location.
  1. Eat better and move more. Why are these suggestions on a list of safety tips? Because many health-related issues are brought on by lack of exercise and poor diet. So, eat right and keep moving to beef up your immune system. Doing so will help you avoid contagious bugs such as Influenza, and prevent you from developing serious health conditions like Diabetes. I can always get behind anything that has to do with eating or exercise.
  1. Be careful when you travel. This is important for several reasons:
  • Remain alert at the airport to help circumvent terrorist activity. When you fly, pay attention to suspicious activity and refuse to watch bags for anyone you don’t know.
  • Research the potential health risks associated with your destination (West Africa, relative to Ebola), and take proper precautions.
  • Don’t drink and drive!
  • Do not text while driving. Did you know that people who text while driving are 23 times more likely to get into an accident than those who resist the urge to pick up their cellphones while driving? More than 1.6 million automobile accidents that occurred last year in the U.S. were related to texting while driving (National Safety Council). Put the phone down or pull over to use it. It can wait.

We hope that this blog post will help you make safe choices in 2015 and beyond. One convenient and affordable way to do so 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 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.

Posted in BE SAFE, Building Evacuation, Disaster Preparedness, Earthquakes, Emergency Evacuations, Fire Safety, Health & Welfare, Hurricanes, Uncategorized

Happy National Preparedness Month

September is National Preparedness Month. Are you prepared?

On 9/11/2010, our nation was transfixed while 3,000 of our friends, neighbors, co-workers, classmates and family members perished in violent terrorist attacks. So, it is fitting that we pay homage every September to the Americans who lost their lives nine years ago with an entire month dedicated to emergency and disaster preparedness. And so we do—September is National Preparedness Month.

Furthering our corporate mission to “Save Lives Through Training,” we at RJWestmore, Inc. make it a point to provide emergency and disaster preparedness information to our clients as well as the public at large. So we would like to commemorate National Preparedness Month by sharing tips about disaster preparation and recovery relative to emergency situations in business.

Action Plan to Help You Stay in Business

Stay Informed:

Risk assessment is a sophisticated area of expertise that can range from self-assessment to an extensive engineering study. Whenever I do self-assessments, I discover new black spots on my coat. The specific industry, size and scope of your individual company will determine the risk assessment needs of your organization.

  1. Know what kinds of emergencies might affect your company both internally and externally. In both cases, as a Dalmatian, internally or externally, it’s all about the nose. Find out which natural disasters are most common in the areas where you operate. You may be aware of some of your community’s risks; others may surprise you.
  2. Learn about what to do during disasters as diverse as biological, chemical, explosive, nuclear radiological or feline attack.

Plan for Business Continuity: Carefully assess how your company functions. How quickly your company resumes business following a terrorist attack, tornado, fire or flood depends on the extent of the emergency planning you do today. Start planning now to improve the likelihood that your company will survive and recover.

Initiate Emergency Planning: Your employees and co-workers are your business’s most important and valuable assets. Make sure your plans protect them. There are some procedures you can put in place before a disaster. So make sure you learn about the resources usually people need in order to recover after a disaster.

It is possible that your staff will need time to ensure the well-being of their family members. But getting back to work is also important in the personal recovery of people and animals who endure disasters. Re-establish routines whenever possible. If that doesn’t work, adding another bowl of chow might help.

Collect and Stow Emergency Supplies: Think first about the basics of survival: fresh water, food, clean air and warmth. When preparing for emergency situations, it’s best to think first about the basics of survival: fresh water, food, clean air and warmth. Encourage everyone to have a portable kit customized to meet personal needs, such as essential medications. For more about this, check out the blog post in our recent Go-bag blog.

Decide to Stay or Go: (And, just to clarify, by “go,” I’m not talking about marking your territory.) Depending on your circumstances and the nature of the disaster, the first important decision you will need to make following an incident is whether to shelter-in-place or evacuate. Understand and plan for both possibilities in advance by developing clear, well thought-out plans. Make contingency plans, so you can act quickly no matter the condition of your physical surroundings or your own mental health.

Allow for Fire Safety: Fire is the most common of all business disasters. In fact, each year, fires cause thousands of deaths and injuries and billions of dollars in damage. The actual R.J. Westmore of RJWestmore, Inc. (or Bob as he is commonly known), has featured prominently in the development of national standards for fire safety for many years. Our mission is to save lives through training with the motto “Be Safe!” So, be sure to check out our website regularly for fire safety resources. Better yet, enroll your employees and tenants in the RJWestmore Training System. And follow me on Twitter for lots of helpful tweets.

Prepare for Medical Emergencies: Workplace medical emergencies vary greatly depending on the disaster, type of job and the worksite. For example, heavy equipment operators face different safety risks than do office workers or food service personnel. Regardless of the type of work, there are steps which can give you the upper hand in responding to a medical emergency.  So take steps to gain the upper hand (or upper paw) in medical emergency response.

Influenza Pandemic: A pandemic is a global disease outbreak. The federal government, states, communities and industry are taking steps to prepare for and respond to an influenza pandemic. An influenza pandemic occurs when a new influenza virus emerges for which there is little or no immunity in the human population and the virus begins to cause serious illness and then spreads easily from person-to-person. The federal government, individual states, communities and industry are taking steps to prepare for and respond to an influenza pandemic. So make sure your organization is prepared. The best defense against any communicable disease is to regularly wash your paws.

RJWestmore can provide a site-specific Risk Exposure Analysis via our online assessment tool, which ranks the following:

Hazards:

  • Criminal Activity
  • Earthquake
  • Fire
  • Flood
  • Hurricane
  • Infrastructure Loss
  • Terrorism
  • Tornado
  • Winter Storm

It also rates and ranks the Consequence possibility of:

  • Death
  • Injury
  • Mission Loss
  • Property Loss
  • Contents Loss
  • Use Loss
  • First Responder

All of these resources culminate in an easy- to-read-and-interpret color-coded report. For more information about a Risk Exposure Analysis Report for your property, contact us today.

For more, check out the FEMA website, which outlines preparation for nearly every imaginable emergency that may arise. 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. And in the meantime, BE SAFE.

Posted in Building Evacuation, Disaster Preparedness, Earthquakes, Emergency Evacuations, Uncategorized, Version 2.0

Evacuation Planning Vital to Tenant Safety

Do you know where emergency exits are located in your building?

We talk a lot about emergency planning and disasters. Today, we’re discussing the importance of keeping people safe by making sure they can get out of buildings quickly in case of emergencies.

It’s human nature to panic when disaster strikes. The result can be confusion, indecision and failure to react quickly. If, on the other hand, written procedures are followed, groups understand safety procedures and individuals are properly trained to take charge of the situation, evacuation can be swift, smooth and safe.

Let’s take a look at the necessary steps to ensure quick and thorough building evacuations:

  • The first step is to consider the type of emergency situation. For me, a big emergency would be to run low on pig ears. But that doesn’t warrant an evacuation.
    • In cases of fire, the primary objective is to clear the entire building as quickly as possible.
    • For tornadoes, a safer option might be to instruct people to congregate in a large room located on the first floor instead of meeting outside. As always, proper preparation and written procedures are essential.
    • Buying plenty of pig ears is always important.
    • Ensure there is a clear chain of command. At the dog park, we do this well. For non-canine emergencies, employees and tenants need to be willing to take direction from the people who are in charge and feel confident that building management has control of any and every situation.
    • Floor Wardens need to take charge and understand their responsibilities:
      • Know the proper evacuation routes and internal and external refuge areas.
      • Note any building occupants who need special assistance and assign someone to assist them.
      • Familiarize residents and employees with the location of alarm pull stations and (if they are properly trained how to use them), fire extinguishers.
      • Instruct employees not to use elevators during emergencies unless instructed to do so by emergency personnel.
      • Evacuate any pets that are in the building. Believe me. We don’t want to be left behind.
      • Designate which tenants or employees should shut off gas lines or other equipment. Advise them to fulfill these duties only if absolutely necessary.
      • Building occupants should be given up-to-date evacuation maps, along with safety handbooks.
      • Stairwells and hallways should be kept free of boxes and other impediments, including rawhide bones. Routinely investigate these areas and work with building occupants to determine if additional storage space is necessary so hallways are clear of clutter, to ensure easy emergency exit.
      • Pay special attention to signage. Do a walkthrough of the evacuation route with your entire safety team. Is the escape route clear? If the power is out, will back-up lights and clearly marked egress signs be visible?
      • Establish a secondary meeting area in case the designated space is not usable. In major disasters, the primary exterior safe refuge area (located at least 300 feet from the building) area(s) may be compromised. So plans should be made for a secondary external safe refuge area.

When disaster strikes, pre-planning, training and clear decisive action can help save human and K9 lives. For the latest, most effective, building-specific e-based emergency management training for your building, contact RJ Westmore. Our new Version 2.0 training system offers the best in emergency training, free color aerial photograph safe refuge evacuation maps and full automated and integrated features that make training 100% of your occupants or employees both realistic and cost effective.  Visit RJWestmore.com for more information and remember to BE SAFE.