Posted in be prepared for emergencies, BE SAFE, Building Evacuation, Disaster Preparedness, Fire Life Safety Training, Fire Safety, Fires, High-Rise Buildings, Uncategorized

Fire Risk in High-Rise Buildings

RJW Firedog High Rise FireProper fire emergency planning and prevention for residential high-rise buildings require special tactics. To that end, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has assembled a “High-Rise Building Safety Advisory Committee” to spot the unique needs and issues relative to safety in high-rise buildings. Since the RJWestmore Training System by Universal Fire/Life Safety Services has recently launched several residential training modules, we wanted to take the opportunity to highlight some of the NFPA strategies, with the goal of helping our subscribers and friends to #BeSafe.

Prepare Your Building and Residents

Many fires are preventable if proper protocols are put into place and building occupants acquaint themselves with recommended safety procedures. Here are several tips for high-rise building property owners and managers help prevent the occurrence and reduce the impact of fires (which, in my opinion, is always a good idea!):tafel mk brand loeschen II

  • Create a formal plan. A written fire emergency plan is essential for optimal safety of residents as well as property. Map evacuation routes, meeting zone locations, sprinkler plans, and fire extinguisher locations. My pack is keen on locating fire extinguisher locations.
  • Keep halls and stairways free of impediments. A minute delay can be the difference between occupants’ safe escape and catastrophe. Keeping walkways clear will provide first responders with easy access.
  • Test backup and safety systems including emergency lighting and building communication systems. A safety system my canine friends and I love to use is the Twilight Bark.
  • Produce a floorplan of the entire building with floor-by-floor layouts, including the location of floor drains, water valves, utility shut-offs, and standpipe locations. Make the evacuation information easily accessible to building occupants.
  • Conduct drills. Residential occupants of a high-rise might be tempted to brush off fire drills as “false alarms.” Inform occupants that they should never assume alarms are part of a drill. Instruct them about the need to evacuate or quickly take directives in the event of any and all alarms.

corridor of modern office building

Install and Maintain Sprinkler Systems

Sprinkler systems installed in high-rise buildings reduce both the loss of life and property damage. In addition, they are essential for high rise buildings, since fire truck ladders only reach six or seven floors. And since sprinkler systems are designed to go off only in the immediate area of the fire, you need not worry about unnecessary water damage. That sounds like a good idea. No need to flood floors that aren’t involved in the blaze!

According to NFPA data between 1996 and 2001, the costs incurred in buildings with functioning sprinkler systems was less than $400,000, while buildings without such systems saw losses averaging $2.2 million. Sounds like a significant difference!

Maintenance tips and best practices for sprinkler systems:

  • Check water supply and pressure levels. High-rises require greater water pressure to push water against gravity.
  • Ensure water valves are open and fire pumps are in good working order.
  • Properly brace water sprinkler pipes for buildings that are in high-risk earthquake zones.
  • Inspect pipes for corrosion or leaks and check sprinkler heads blocked by dust.
  • Test the main drain lines to see how far the water pressure drops with open valves when water is flowing. If the test shows, for example, a bigger drop in pressure difference every six months, then there is likely a valve problem somewhere in the system that should be addressed.exit icon

Evacuation Guidelines for High-Rise Occupants

In a typical single-story residence, with sufficient warning from smoke detectors, occupants will likely escape unhurt. In a high-rise, however, people have to navigate stairwells and hallways to exit the building. What’s more, evacuation routes could be blocked due to fire and smoke. Evacuating people from a high rise is difficult, and requires the formation of a sound evacuation plan and following best practices for residents including:

  • Memorize the plan. Residents must know what they will do in a fire emergency. Memorization is important for humans because they don’t share my acute sense of smell. So rely on your memory instead of your nose!
  • Practice the plan. Encourage residents to conduct their own mock drills (in addition to your formal drills) in order to make the evacuation route familiar.
  • Do not use elevators. Create contingency plans for residents who might have trouble walking or difficulty navigating stairs.
  • Stay low to stay safe. Smoke rises, so residents should proceed under the smoke whenever possible.
  • Remain in the residence. If occupants cannot enter hallways because of impassable smoke or fire, they should stay in their residences and mark their location on exterior windows. Also, place towels at the bottom of the door to block smoke.

Remember that safety is a daily priority. So be sure to think about ways to #BeSafe all of the time, whether or not you live or work in a high-rise facility. 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, Building Evacuation, Disaster Preparedness, Emergency Evacuations, Fire Life Safety Training, Fire Safety, Health & Welfare, High-Rise Buildings, Uncategorized, Workplace Safety

Announcing Version 2.5 of the RJWestmore Training System™

The RJWestmore Training System has been upgraded to Version 2.5

RJWestmore Inc. is proud to announce the release of Version 2.5 of our comprehensive e-based safety training program. I’m not sure what 2.5 means. But, in dog years, that would be Version 17.5.

The new system boasts features that property managers and building owners, employers and occupants have come to depend on for building specific safety training, such as the integration and automation that brings together facility managers, fire safety directors and local fire departments.

The system upgrade showcases our continued commitment to offer the most user-friendly and complete training system on the market. Here is a snapshot of some of the new functionality that RJWestmore trainees will enjoy with Version 2.5:

  • A New User Interface
  • New Special Assistance for Evacuation Interface
  • New NOAA Weather Interface
  • New Facebook Interface
  • New Twitter Interface
  • New pop-up notifications
  • New pork-chop notification pop-ups. (Well, maybe not. But I’m lobbying the programmers about the next rollout.)

What’s more, new and current RJWestmore trainees will continue to benefit from program features that have made us the e-based safety training program of choice among property managers and building owners from coast to coast: We are approved by every major fire department and are now training more than 350 million square feet across the United States

Version 2.5 of the RJWestmore Training System demonstrates our continued commitment to provide the most user-friendly, complete training system on the market.

Our system offers real-time reporting with just one click which—

  • Identifies tenants that need special assistance in the case of emergency
  • Provides instant access to a list of floor wardens that is shared with building management and the fire department
  • Enhanced Fire Department Access—
    • One home screen allows department access to all RJWestmore System companies in the city
    • Departments can monitor individual building testing and training of floor wardens and fire safety directors.
    • Building-specific emergency manuals, diagrams and maps provide pre-response building information.
    • Automated Features—
    • Automatic personalized certificates are sent to each user via email immediately upon completion
    • Employee compliance reports are prepared for each tenant. View, print or export to Excel.
    • Annual reminders are sent to each user on their training anniversary date.
    • State of the Art Confidentiality and System Control
    • Multiple tiers of system access help control the distribution of information
    • Confidential Information Access is granted for resources such as maps, emergency plans and reports. (Why are humans so weird about confidentiality? My wife and son and I like to mark our territory so everyone knows where we’ve been.)
    • Enhanced fire hydrant access. Okay, I admit this isn’t on the official upgrade list. But a dog can dream…

The RJ Westmore Training System, Version 2.5 gives building owners a complete picture of their emergency preparedness as well as user-friendly interfaces. We map out an exterior refuge map with a satellite picture of each building. We can also include a map of the lobby showing the best exit routes, fire control room location, hose connections, etc.  Elevator banks and stairwells can also be graphed, to show a comprehensive picture of accessibility and egress.

More info about the RJWestmore Training System Version 2.5:

  • 30-day implementation with a simple monthly flats-rate fixed fee
  • All updates, training, and other resources are provided for no additional fee
  • Property managers can easily print and export building training information via their Management section.
  • Training and procedures are available for any kind of disaster, be it manmade or natural. (Do you suppose this includes paper training disasters?)

If you own or manage a building, or know someone who does, do them a favor. Let them know about the RJWestmore Training System. Choosing our service cuts property management training related workloads by 90% and saves users over 50% compared to conventional training! More importantly, IT SAVES LIVES! BE SAFE.

Posted in BE SAFE, Fire Safety, Fires, Uncategorized

‘Tis the Season – For Safety

Cartoon light walking
Safety from A-Z

Holiday Safety Tips from A-Z

You know the story. Every year, beginning in mid-November, the local news starts discussing the dangers posed by Christmas trees and other holiday hazards. Or they pop the cautionary tale “Christmas Vacation,” into the DVD player and watch that wild dog chase the squirrel through the tree, over the table, and through all the presents!

Let us take the opportunity to go beyond their typical tip of the day to give you an A to Z guide in order to ensure you and your family, friends and business associates are safe during the holidays.

Always remember to turn off the Christmas tree lights!

Be careful when walking to your car…especially if you are carrying holiday gifts, or 40 pounds of avocado-enhanced dog food on an icy sidewalk.

Call ahead to find out how crowded the streets near shopping centers are, to avoid encountering crazy drivers in holiday traffic

Drag your tree to the curb, or, better yet…check into tree recycling programs so you won’t create a dried-out fire hazard. Or, for another option, if you have a Labrador, try this: they love sticks! So why not chop up the tree and let em’ go crazy. But I can’t guarantee they won’t end up with splinter-covered tongues.

Extinguishers are vital to deal with fires! Make sure yours aren’t past their prime and that you are properly trained to use one.

Fire and emergency exit codes are important considerations when you host parties. So don’t invite 70 people to your studio apartment. Although, let’s do some math. 70 people multiplied by 1.8 pounds of rich food per person times 5 percent rate of food falling on the floor, equals 6.3 pounds of vittles for me and my canine friends.

Get involved with Fire Prevention Week every year.

Happy Holidays from RJ Westmore!

Immune Systems are taxed by too many activities. Get some rest so you will stay healthy.

Juices from uncooked foods can be contaminated. Keep a clean kitchen for happy and healthy guests.

Kitchen fires are prevalent during the holidays… the source of 40% of all house fires.

Lights on the tree should be checked for cracked wires. Also, connect no more than three strands together.

Make me a sandwich. Don’t be stingy on the salami.

New toys should be carefully checked for safety and age-appropriateness.

Overloading electrical circuits can spark fires. Do your Christmas lights have to be visible from space?

Power lines should be avoided when hanging outdoor lights. Also, for outdoor light safety, use a fiberglass or wooded ladder. I’m glad we aren’t too good on ladders. You should see what you people look like up there.

Quit smoking for your own health and to reduce the risk of fire.

Remove lights or electrical decorations when they flicker or show other signs of wear.

Smokers should stay outside in designated areas. (See Q for another smoking-safety tip.)

Test smoke alarms.

Unplug Christmas lights when you are changing broken bulbs.

Viruses like the common cold love holiday’s parties! Consider distributing hand sanitizer as a party favor. Or a chicken leg…whichever you prefer.

Walk your dog four times a day. A good brisk 4-5 mile walk helps keep your pooch trim and happy! You can’t walk a marathon every day? I can do one in an hour!

Xeriscaping your yard this winter can help lower your risk for fire next summer.

Your business needs an evacuation plan, especially if you will be hosting a massive holiday party.

Zero water means a dry tree. Don’t be stingy with the H2O.

Remember, you can have fun and be safe at the same time! Follow holidays safety tips to ensure your family and coworkers have a fun and safe holiday’s season! And whatever you do, don’t take a family holiday’s photo and dress up Baxter in a Santa suit. I’m sure that is tantamount to animal cruelty!

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.