Posted in Disaster Preparedness, Emergency Evacuations, High-Rise Buildings, Hurricanes, Workplace Safety

FEMA Announces Wireless Emergency Alerts

As Hurricane Season Begins, Preparedness is Paramount

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ncssxFjEoAo

One piece of advice FEMA Director Craig Fugate gives in his awe-inspiring hurricane safety video is to make sure you include pets in your emergency plans. You gotta love the guy.

Hurricane Season began on June 1, 2012. So, to mark the occasion, FEMA is providing new tools for federal, state, local, tribal and territorial officials to alert and warn the public about severe weather. Using the Commercial Mobile Alert System (CMAS), officials will be able to deliver Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) to participating wireless carriers for distribution to the public. And for those of us who don’t have mobile phones—we will always have the Twilight Bark.

The alerts will be broadcast by cell towers much like AM/FM radio stations. So cell phones within range will immediately pick up the emergency signal. Availability of WEA alerts will be dependent on network status of the wireless carriers and handset availability, since not all cell phones are capable of receiving WEAs. To see if WEA alerts are available in your area and for your device, check with your wireless carrier.

“The wireless emergency alert capability provides an additional opportunity for the public to receive life-saving information needed to get out of harm’s way when a threat exists,” said Timothy Manning, FEMA deputy administrator for protection and national preparedness. “The public also has a critical role in their personal preparedness. There are a few simple steps that everyone can take to be prepared, like knowing which risks exist in your area and making a family emergency plan.”

WEAs will look like a text message, and will automatically appear on the mobile device screen showing the type and time of alert along with any action that should be taken. The message will be no more than 90 characters, and will have a unique tone and vibration. If an alert is received, FEMA says citizens should follow instructions and seek additional information from radio, television, NOAA Weather Radio and other official sources for emergency information. Remember that you should only call 911 in a life threatening situation.

With the start of hurricane season, it is particularly important that you understand your risk, take action and be an example. While hurricanes are often proceeded by warnings that a threat is approaching, severe weather (such as high winds, inland flooding, severe storms and tornadoes) can occur at any time and in any place. And if you want to invest in a dependable early-warning device, buy a service animal.

Individuals and business owners should take action to prepare in advance to make sure that family, friends, tenants, colleagues and canines are ready for an emergency of any kind. Preparation can include filling out a family communications plan, assembling an emergency kit, running safety drills and storing important papers and valuables (like turkey jerky) in a safe place.

“Be a force of nature by letting other people know that they, too, should get ready for hurricanes at the start of the season instead of waiting until after a hurricane warning is announced,” urges FEMA Director Craig Fugate.

The RJWestmore Training System has been providing safety and security solutions to Commercial Real Estate companies for over 20 years. Our mission is to save lives through training with the motto: “Be Safe!” Don’t wait for a hurricane or severe weather-warning to stock up on supplies or come up with an evacuation plan. If you head to the store to stock up on water and supplies after a hurricane or severe weather announcement is made, you will just end up standing in line at a time when demand is high, supply is low and nerves are shot. The time to prepare is now…before disaster strikes!

The RJWestmore Training System helps commercial buildings with compliance to fire life safety codes. 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).

When a disaster of any kind 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 e-based training system offers the best emergency training system with automated and integrated features. What’s more, the NEW RJWestmore Property Messaging System is included FREE for all RJWestmore Online Training System users. Visit RJWestmore.com for more information.

Posted in BE SAFE, Disaster Preparedness, Emergency Evacuations, Health & Welfare, Hurricanes, Uncategorized

Hurricanes: Prepare by Keeping Watch

If you live in a high-risk area, prepare by carefully monitoring weather conditions.

Final Post in Our Series about Hurricane Preparedness

Hurricanes are unique emergencies in that they are predictable. So there is no excuse for failing to prepare to respond. Although you can’t control when a hurricane or other emergency may happen, it’s imperative that you take personal responsibility to make sure you are ready. This week, in our final post in a series about preparing and recovering from tropical storms and hurricanes, we’ll examine where to turn to stay on top of forecasts and local emergency plans.

Since the best way to deal with a hurricane is to prepare for one, you should acquaint yourself with websites and notification centers as well as the terminology used to distinguish between different storm warnings. This is crucial for all those who live and/or work in a high-risk area. And that probably means you either live, work or vacation on one of the coasts. Monitor weather patterns and warnings so you will know when to take evasive action. Here are a few helpful resources, offering easily-accessible weather-related information in real time:

AccuWeather.com

American Red Cross

The Disaster Center

FEMA Storm Watch

FindLocalWeather

Intellicast.com

Local Weather Forecast Center

National Hurricane Center

National Weather Service

NOAA

NOLA

Weather Bug

The Weather Channel

WeatherForYou.com

Many of the above sites offer RSS feeds and desktop notifications and email alerts. Dogs don’t usually subscribe to email accounts, so we have some notification systems of our own. You haven’t lived until you’ve experienced the Twilight Bark. Another (less frenetic) free weather notification system is available via the Emergency Email and Wireless Network, which provides breaking weather alerts and an information-packed National Weather Situation Page.

Once you are set up to receive weather updates, the next step in hurricane preparedness is to be able to distinguish between the terminologies used to describe various storm systems. Where hurricanes and tropical storms are concerned, the following definitions are critical.

WATCH vs. WARNING: THE DIFFERENCE

(This distinction is also important in dog world, where we are routinely placed on watch so we can give plenty of advanced warning.)

TROPICAL STORM WATCH

Tropical storm conditions (defined by sustained winds of 39 to 73 mph) are possible within a specified coastal area within 48 hours.

TROPICAL STORM WARNING

Tropical storm conditions (defined by sustained winds of 39 to 73 mph) are expected somewhere within a specified coastal area within 36 hours.

HURRICANE WATCH

Hurricane conditions (defined by sustained winds of 74 mph or higher) are possible within a specified coastal area. Because hurricane preparedness activities become difficult once winds reach tropical storm force, the hurricane watch is issued 48 hours in advance of the anticipated onset of tropical-storm-force winds.

HURRICANE WARNING

An announcement that hurricane conditions (defined by sustained winds of 74 mph or higher) are expected somewhere within a specified coastal area. Because hurricane preparedness activities become difficult once winds reach tropical storm force, the hurricane warning is issued 36 hours in advance of the anticipated onset of tropical-storm-force winds.

Once you determine that a hurricane or tropical storm watch or warning is in effect, take the following steps:

  • Listen to a battery-operated radio or television for hurricane progress reports.
  • Check emergency supplies.
  • Fuel car.
  • Bring in outdoor objects such as lawn furniture, toys, and garden tools and anchor objects that cannot be brought inside.
  • Secure buildings by closing and boarding up windows. Remove outside antennas.
  • Turn refrigerator and freezer to coldest settings. Open only when absolutely necessary and close quickly.
  • Store drinking water in clean bathtubs, jugs, bottles, and cooking utensils.
  • Review your evacuation plan.
  • Find out where your dog is. Direct him or her to the family car.

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 continue our series about hurricane safety and preparation. In the meantime, BE SAFE.