Posted in BE SAFE, Building Evacuation, Disaster Preparedness, Emergency Evacuations, Fire Life Safety Training, Fire Safety, Fires, High-Rise Buildings, Uncategorized, Version 2.0, Workplace Safety

Is it safe to ride the elevator to escape a fire-related emergency?

Emergency Exit Signs
Do you know how to safely exit a high-rise building in case of a fire?

The 9/11 disasters prompted facility managers and emergency management professionals to discuss the use of elevators for egress in cases of fire-related emergencies. Among other things, the terrorist attacks shed light on the fact that, for optimum safety, certain emergencies require evacuation of all floors simultaneously instead of individually.

While not yet mainstream, research and discussion is beginning to challenge long-held beliefs. Some high-rise buildings, such as the 1,149-foot Stratosphere Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas (I prefer Wynn’s salon suites myself), utilize evacuation elevators due to the height of the building, which makes emergency stairway exits implausible.

So is change coming? Who will ultimately decide? Elevator use in buildings is largely managed by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, who review and suggest changes for elevator codes that dictate standards for buildings throughout the country. I have to tell you, if you want to have a fun party, just invite those wild guys and gals from the ASME!

Challenges to implementation of evacuation elevators:

  • Changing ingrained procedures will be a challenge. Building occupants have long been told to “take the stairs during a fire.” Adapting tenants to the safety and expediency of elevator evacuation might be difficult. Intensive in-person training will need to be executed and assurances given about the newfound benefits of using elevators for speedier emergency exits. So you can teach old people new tricks?
  • Handling water from sprinklers is an engineering hurdle. If occupants need to escape quickly during a fire, it’s very likely the sprinklers will be on during evacuation. So operations and communications equipment in evacuation elevators need to be protected from potential water damage.
  • Smoke inhalation is the biggest health danger during a fire. So Smoke Control Systems should be installed, maintained and regularly inspected in elevator areas.
  • Other potential hazards, such as earthquakes causing fires, mean evacuation elevators need to be structurally reinforced.

If tenants plan to use evacuation elevators but firefighters on the ground recall all elevators to the lobby, precious time could be wasted. Working with fire department staff prevents this type of miscommunication. And remember, if you visit your fire local fire department; bring a pig ear for the resident Dalmatian.

One way the RJ Westmore Training System improves emergency communication between local fire departments and our clients is via the building-specific, automatic notifications and updates we send to fire departments with real-time information relative to Special Assistance, Floor Wardens and Fire Safety Directors. Thanks to this service, emergency personnel are well-equipped to provide assistance and direction when they arrive on scene.

Installation of dedicated emergency egress elevators is not usually valuable unless the elevators themselves are protected from fire. New codes are emerging which have been designed to protect evacuation elevators with fireproof padding and other structural safeguards. Dedicated emergency power supplies are also needed to ensure elevator occupants are not left stranded between floors during emergencies. I have a backup generator for my doghouse. When my paw pals come over for a party at my place, I need to be sure I won’t lose power!

Widespread requirements for evacuation elevators might be on the horizon. So it’s important to stay ahead of the learning curve. Used correctly, they offer the ultimate promise of a higher degree of safety for those who work and live in high-rise structures. As always, be sure you review the latest national and local codes as they relate to fire-related procedures. It’s important to have an integrated approach to fire safety which includes sprinklers, alarms and safe evacuation routes.

When a disaster strikes, prior planning and clear decisive action can help save lives.  Remember that people are not unlike pooches in that they both need consistent training and repetition to get something right! 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, Fire Life Safety Training, Fire Safety, Fires, Health & Welfare, Uncategorized, Version 2.0

Fire Safety: A to Z

A to Z in Fire Safety

For the final post in our series about fire safety, we would like to recap the top 26 tips for preventing and responding to fires at home and work, as well as a myriad of reasons for signing up for The RJWestmore Safety Training System.

A~A to D Fire Extinguishers

(With so many fire extinguishers to choose from, selecting the proper one for use at your home and in the office can be a daunting task. Since use of the wrong type of fire can actually cause the fire to spread, pay careful attention to the difference.)

A-Rated Extinguishers– extinguish ordinary combustible materials such as paper, wood, cardboard, and most plastics. The numerical rating on these indicates the amount of water they will hold and the amount of fire they are capable of extinguishing. I lobbied to include Alpo, bones, chow and dog food for the first four letters of this series. But I wasn’t able to come up with a way that my number one interests help in fire preparation and prevention.

B-Rated Extinguishers– battle flammable or combustible liquids such as gasoline, kerosene, grease and oil. The numerical rating for this class indicates the approximate number of square feet of fire they can extinguish.

C-Rated Extinguishers– fight fires caused by electrical equipment, appliances, wiring, circuit breakers and outlets. Never use water to extinguish class C fires. The risk of electrical shock is far too great! Class C extinguishers do not have a numerical rating. The C classification means the extinguishing agent is non-conductive.

D-Rated Extinguishers– are most commonly used in chemical laboratories. They are for fires that involve combustible metals, such as magnesium, titanium, potassium and sodium. These extinguishers do not feature numerical ratings or multi-purpose ratings. Instead, they are designed for class D fires only.

Emergency Evacuation Plan If fire extinguishers are required or provided in your workplace, and if anyone will be evacuating during a fire or other emergency, then OSHA’s 29 CFR 1910.157 requires you to have an EAP. My own EAP includes barking like crazy until my wife and JR evacuate our dog house.

Fumes from containers that are not properly sealed can be carried on air currents to the flame of a water heater or the pilot light on a stove.

Gas Appliance fires lead to the deaths of 14 people annually, who succumb to carbon monoxide poisoning. These deaths are caused by gas appliances and flues which have not been properly installed or maintained. Make sure your gas-powered appliances are in good working-condition.

High-Quality Animation keeps clients engaged. To ensure the highest rate of retention possible, RJWestmore Inc. hired former Disney, DreamWorks, and Warner Bros. artists to create engaging animated e-tutorials. I have these artists to thank for translating my likeness to 2-D. Talented designers they are!

Integrated System-A fully-integrated system, the RJWestmore Training System allows property management companies to manage one site or an entire portfolio, with all users in the same system.

Join the US Green Building Council which is a non-profit community of leaders working to make green buildings available to everyone within a generation. RJWestmore, Inc. is a proud member of the USGBC. Reducing needless waste lessens the risk of e-related fire.

K-Rated Fire Extinguishers are manufactured to battle fires that involve vegetable oils, animal oils, or fats in cooking appliances. This is for commercial kitchens, including those found in restaurants, cafeterias and catering locations. This should not be confused with K-L Ration, another important K-item.

Landfill fires are on the rise. The EPA says that as we become more dependent on electronic products to make life more convenient, the stockpile of used, obsolete products continues to grow. To help prevent this type of fire risk, dispose of e-waste responsibly.

Make sure your tenants know evacuation routes. The best way to do this is to conduct regular drills.

NFPA National Fire Protection Association endeavors to reduce the worldwide burden of fire and other hazards on the quality of life by providing and advocating consensus codes and standards, research, training and education.

Our interactive, building-specific e-learning training system motivates and rewards tenants instantly! It’s a convenient and affordable solution to all of the training needs of your building(s).

Post Evacuation Routes clearly, so locations become second nature during actual emergencies. You might also consider hanging wanted posters of Morton, the spokes-cat for 9 Lives. Just a suggestion…

Quiz your tenants, employees and family members regularly to make sure they remember safe evacuation routes and emergency procedures.

Reduce, reuse and recycle. Encourage tenants to delay purchasing new equipment when current electronics work properly. Reusing toner cartridges and cell phones puts less of a strain on natural resources. My suggestion for reducing pet food waste is to share whatever it is you’re eating. Why bother with bagged dog food when steak and potatoes will do?

Slightest Spark can start a devastating fire; so proper handling and use as well as proper storage of volatile materials are essential.

Tenant Safety is of paramount importance to property owners and managers. With our system, you can train occupants, floor wardens, and fire safety directors how to respond in emergencies. All user-training and testing is recorded and available for review at your convenience.

Up to Code– Federal, state, and local laws require annual training for every commercial building occupant. However, studies show that less than 20% of occupants have ever trained or know what to do in an emergency. That means 80% of your occupants are at risk and could represent a liability to themselves and you.

View Map Link– RJWestmore Inc. clients have access to multiple views of individual properties and the surrounding areas in our Version 2.0 system. The maps not only provide driving directions to the building. But, more importantly, they provide access to Google Earth 3-D views of the surrounding area. Such detail prevents emergency responders from “flying blind” in an emergency. I’ve tried to find the firehouse on Google Maps. But my nails get stuck in the computer keyboard.

Watch for fire risks. A fire watch ensures the fire-safety of a building or area in the event of any act, e.g., hot work, or situation instigating an increased risk to persons or property.

Xeric conditions pose greater risk of fire. Make sure dry landscaping around buildings is watered on a regular basis.

You can train occupants, floor wardens, and fire safety directors with our system. All user-training and testing is recorded. Get quick access to building specific Emergency Responder information and other resources.

Zealously guard your property to ensure fire safety strategies are observed. At RJWestmore, Inc., our mission is to create a safer, more informed occupant who understands their responsibilities and may be capable of helping others.

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. Check back next week, when we will begin a series about hurricane safety and preparation. In the meantime, BE SAFE

Posted in Building Evacuation, Disaster Preparedness, Earthquakes, Emergency Evacuations, Fire Life Safety Training, Fire Safety, Health & Welfare, Uncategorized, Version 2.0

The Power of Knowing Where to Go

New Mapping Features Aid RJ Westmore Clients

As the leader in emergency management training solutions, RJ Westmore, Inc. is continually improving its award-winning product. We have just introduced a new feature to our comprehensive program that assists emergency responders and improves tenant safety.

The integrated training system offers a dynamic home page for every commercial property owner who uses our product. The home page details important information for each property including:

  1. Required online courses to be completed
  2. Floor Warden reports
  3. Additional safety contact information
  4. Location of all nearby pet stores and dog parks (Well, at least I think that feature should be included.)

The latest feature on the building home page is our “View Map” link, which provides emergency responders with multiple views of an individual property and the surrounding area. The maps, of course, provide driving directions to the building. But, more importantly, they provide access to Google Earth 3-D views of the surrounding area. I could spend hours looking at Google Earth. Just last week I visited a jerky factory in Alabama and a tennis ball manufacturer in Guam, all from the comfort of my own doghouse!

Such detail prevents emergency responders from “flying blind” in emergencies. While en route, they will be able to assess the building’s best access points, so they won’t lose valuable time once they arrive. Access to real-time map information can also aid in running emergency drills. My version of an emergency drill includes a tree full of squirrels and…Never mind.

“View Map” Feature Available for Every Building

Emergency Personnel Have Access to 3D Maps While En Route

3-D View helps responders determine ideal tactics for dealing with emergencies and gives a sense of scale for the building and any surrounding structures. I have dreams for a 3-D model of my family’s new dog house. I envision multiple levels with flat screens, all tuned to “Animal Planet.”

This new map features is a perfect complement to other fire department integration features of Version 2.0 of our comprehensive safety training program.

  • Fire Departments have access to the RJ Westmore System clients in their particular city, viewable through an easy-to-navigate home page.
  • Department managers can monitor individual building testing and training of Floor Wardens and Fire Safety Directors.
  • I’m sure every firehouse dog peeks at the screen and barks his or her approval!

Additional Newer Features of Version 2.0

Real-time reporting with just one click:

  • Identify tenants who need special assistance in emergencies

Automated features:

  • The system automatically creates and sends certificates to each user
  • Annual reminders are sent to each user to ensure ongoing training compliance and optimal tenant safety

Improved confidentiality and system control:

  • Controlled information distribution, with multiple tiers of system access

The integrated map feature is the latest example of how the RJ Westmore Training System was built with dynamic flexibility. Online and integrated tools that bring together fire departments, facility management, and other entities, allow us to continually improve our system to meet tenants’ and property manager and owner needs. Now if only tenants would install doggie doors and tummy-rubbing stations, we’d be all set.

For the latest emergency management training for facility/building managers, contact the smart people over at RJ Westmore, Inc. Their e-based system offers the best emergency training available, with automated and integrated features. RJ Westmore, Inc. is a member of the U.S. Green Building Council, a non-profit trade organization that promotes sustainability in how buildings are designed, built and operated. Visit RJWestmore.com for more information and remember to 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.

Posted in Building Evacuation, Disaster Preparedness, Earthquakes, Emergency Evacuations, Fire Life Safety Training, Fire Safety, Uncategorized, Version 2.0

Announcing Version 2.0 of the RJ Westmore Training System

Version 2.0 is available to RJ Wesmore clients at no additional charge.

The new RJ Westmore Training System is here! Version 2.0 is packed great features which include even more integration and automation that brings together property/ facility managers, fire safety directors , floor wardens, occupants and local fire departments. (Now, if only it came with some rawhide bones and chew toys…)

Version 2.0 Features:

  • Real-time reporting with just one click—
    • Identify tenants that need special assistance to evacuate in the case of emergency
    • Have ready access to lists of primary and alternate floor wardens organized by floor
    • Building-specific information is ready available to building management as well as local fire departments
      • Automatic email notification to property management and the fire safety director each time either the special assistance or floor warden list is updated by users.
  • Improved Fire Department access—
    • Access to all RJ Westmore Online Training System companies in the city through one home page (This is my favorite features because I love keeping all of the other Dalmatians informed!)
    • Monitoring of individual building testing and training for all building occupants, including floor wardens and fire safety directors
    • Fire Department approved across the United States and compliant with FDNY LL26, LAFD 57.33.19, as well as Federal OSHA and individual State fire codes.
  • Automated features—
    • Automatically creates and sends certificates of completion to each user
    • Sends employee compliance reports for each tenant
    • Sends annual renewal reminders to each user (I usually just bark loudly when I want to send out a reminder.)
  • Improved confidentiality and system control—
    • Controls information distribution with multiple tiers of system access
    • Grants access to confidential info such as maps and emergency plans

The RJ Westmore Inc. Safety Training System Version 2.0 gives building owners a complete picture of their emergency preparedness. We map out your exterior refuge map with a satellite picture of your building. We map out the lobby of your building and work out the best exit routes. Elevator banks and stairwells are graphed, to show a comprehensive picture of accessibility and egress.

More info about the Version 2.0 rollout

  • 30-day implementation with a simple monthly fee
  • All updates, training, and other resources are provided at no additional charge
  • Training and procedures are available for any kind of disaster, whether it be manmade or natural

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 provides a value added tenant service that limits property management and individual tenant liability. Furthermore, it cuts property management training related workloads by 90% and saves users over 50% compared to conventional training! More importantly, it saves lives. BE SAFE.