Posted in Disaster Preparedness, Hurricanes, Tornadoes, Tsunamis

National Severe Weather Preparedness Week

?????????????????????????????????????????Welcome to National Severe Weather Preparedness Week, which runs from March 2nd to the 8th, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Calling on individuals across the country to prepare for severe weather and to encourage others to do the same, the national campaign slogan is: Be a Force of Nature. I consider myself a force of nature because I am a dog for all seasons.

No matter which part of the country you call home, your geographic location poses inherent weather risks—tornado, hurricane, typhoon, thunderstorms, floods, blizzards, snowstorms, water spouts, tropical cyclones, ice storms and dust storms…to name a few. To minimize your risk of severe weather-damage, familiarize yourself with your region’s particular weather-risks so you can prepare accordingly. For example, NOAA National Weather Service Director, Dr. Louis Uccellini, warns residents of tornado-prone areas:

“With the devastation of last year’s tornadoes fresh in our minds and springtime almost here, I urge individuals to become weather-ready now. Make sure you have multiple ways to access forecasts and warnings from NOAA’s National Weather Service before severe weather strikes.”

FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate agrees, “Being ready today can make a big difference for you when disaster strikes. It only takes a few minutes. Talk with your family and agree to a family plan. Learn easy steps on how to prepare at Ready.gov and find out how your community can take action in America’s PrepareAthon through drills, group discussions and community exercises.”

In the coming weeks, we will focus on preparation and response for various forms of severe weather emergencies. In the meantime, for every type of severe weather emergency, the national severe weather safety message is a simple, three-pronged approach: know your risk, take action, be an example.

Know Your Risk: The first step to becoming weather-ready is to understand the type of hazardous weather that can affect where you live and work, and how the weather could impact you and your family. Sign up for weather alerts and check the weather forecast regularly.

Take Action: Be prepared for severe weather.

  1. Your family may not be together when a storm strikes.
  2. Plan how you will contact one another by developing your family communication plan.
  3. Put together an emergency kit.
  4. Store important papers and valuables in a safe place.
  5. Visit Ready.gov/severe-weather to learn more about how to be better prepared and how you can protect your family when severe weather strikes.
  6. Subscribe to the RJWestmore Training System by Universal Fire/Life Safety Services, where you will find loads of great, easy-to-understand instructions for disaster preparation.
  7. Store lots of pork chops and bacon in your freezer—just in case you run out of food after a thunderstorm and need to feed the dog.

Be an Example: Once you have taken action, tell family, friends, and co-workers to do the same.

  1. Share the resources and alert systems you discovered through your social media network. For example, I use my blog, RJtheFireDog.com and Twitter account @RJtheFireDog to alert people to weather and other hazards.
  2. Technology today makes it easier than ever to be a good example and share the steps you took to become weather-ready.
  3. You can download apps, sign up for email or text notifications, watch informational videos on YouTube and even subscribe to the new NOAA and FEMA’s Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEAs) project, a new text-like message system, which is part of a national effort to increase emergency preparedness and build a Weather-Ready Nation. Last year, millions of individuals across the country received WEAs with life-saving weather warnings via their cell phone. These geographically-targeted emergency alerts alert people to weather warnings they would not have otherwise received. And, as a result, many people took life-saving action. To sign up, visit www.Ready.gov/Alerts.

When a disaster strikes, prior planning and clear decisive action can help save lives. The best way to prepare for the flu is to keep from catching it by having a vaccine. The RJWestmore Training System by Universal Fire/Life Safety Services is a convenient and affordable solution to all of the training needs of your building(s). Choosing our service cuts property management training-related costs by 90% and saves you over 50% compared to conventional training! More importantly, IT SAVES LIVES.

Posted in BE SAFE, Disaster Preparedness, Uncategorized

Safety First–Winter Care for Your Building

As winter rolls around, your tenants can be confronted by icy storms and hectic snow-delayed commutes. Once they get into your building, you will want to be sure they have a safe and cozy environment that provides a respite from the snow and slush outside. My doghouse is incredible in winter. Three layers of insulation, heated floors—even a fireplace! We have some steps you can take to “winterize” the inside and outside of your building so you can handle the worst of this season’s weather.

Safety first! Your most important concern should be, of course, for tenants:

  • Provide non-slip entry mats (some are even heated) in the lobby and other entry areas to prevent falls.
  • Place boot scrubber bristles outside the building so individuals can clean off snow before entering. This will also help protect the floors inside of your building. I’ve seen some of you skip wiping your feet when on entry! Come on, people!
  • Pour sand and salt on outside stairs and ramps. Also be sure handrails are in good working condition and are optimally positioned for safety. I’ve found it works best when you are low to the ground and have four paws. My wife and JR and I never slip!

Flooring is a considerable investment for the average office space. Whether it is carpet, wood, or tile, floors in high-traffic areas take a lot of abuse. If you mix in the winter trifecta of water, sand, and salt, then your floors can be quickly scratched and soiled. So what can you do?

  • Vacuum regularly to remove sand and salt.
  • Encourage tenants to offer shoe cubbies or other receptacles for boots. In really bad weather, you could even offer “slippers” which employees can change into once they enter the building. For “bring your dog to work day,” you can outfit us with those great booties!
  • Be careful using de-icing products which contain pretty harsh chemicals, which can damage both flooring and surrounding exterior plants and even pets!

Protect the exterior of your building from the intrusion or rain or snow:

  • Replace caulk around exterior windows. This material is very cheap, so you will only need to pay for labor to remove the old caulk and apply a new bead. Make sure you schedule this work during a two to three day stretch of good weather.
  • Consider installing awnings above entryways to deflect rain and snow. This gives tenants and visitors an opportunity to remove excess mud and snow from their shoes.

Don’t neglect the one part of the building you typically never see – the woof! Oops, I mean the roof:

  • Be sure your building has the right pitch to discard record snowfalls. For flat roofs, you need plans in place to remove snow to prevent cave-ins. Did you see the video of the snow on that football stadium? Yes? Then you know why you need a plan.
  • Buildings with roof water tanks need extra attention. The controls and piping for the water tank can quickly freeze if they aren’t insulated. I have a doghouse water system that is triple-filtrated and insulated against 80 below zero! Protect them with the proper coverings to ensure your tenants have access to water so they will be able to warm up with tea or coffee, or to make suitable gravy for kibble…You will also need unfrozen water to operate the building’s sprinkler system, necessary for refilling water bowls.

Checking the heating system is best done in the fall or late summer. But it’s better late than never to get it done in the early stages of winter:

  • Review last year’s winter with employees and tenants to identify any floors or areas of the building that were markedly colder or more slippery than other areas. Another tactic for finding warm spots is to release a tabby into the workplace. They will find all the sunny spots. Work with HVAC techs to correct heating flow issues or any leaky ductwork problems.
  • Change furnace filters for optimum performance.
  • The pumps and motors of your heating system work hard to produce enough energy. Examine and oil these parts properly, especially before the first full-day’s usage.

Making your building safer during the winter is not only the right thing to do, but it can also limit your liability in the case anyone slips. Use handrails! You should also focus on the physical pieces of your building to ensure tenant comfort and to protect your investment.  The “chateau de pooch” is worth $185,000, so you can be sure I am serious about care and upkeep.

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.