Posted in BE SAFE, Disaster Preparedness, Fire Life Safety Training, RJ Westmore personnel

The Growing Role of Women in Emergency Management

Women are increasingly entering the field of emergency management.

Emergency management positions are traditionally male-dominated. Many war veterans and first responders such as firefighters traditionally filled many emergency management roles. So, since the majority of individuals in these positions were male, emergency management became a male-centered profession—one that is only recently adapting to new hiring practices.

Traditional barriers for women entering emergency management fields:

  • Many agencies felt that on-the-ground first responders experience as police officers, firefighters, or EMTs was necessary for effective emergency services management. If I had a doghouse fire emergency, I would not care about the gender of the person! I would just want help!
  • A “boy’s club” mentality existed, where the path to promotion and appointment to leadership-positions was largely directed by men who tended to hire other men. Whiskers tried to make a “feline’s only” club back in the 1980’s. I told him discrimination has no place in the pet world!

Some relevant statistics on the changing landscape of security management:

  • A 2006 survey from the Emergency Management Professional Organization for Women’s Enrichment (EMPOWER) showed only 10 percent of respondents possessed more than ten years of experience.
  • Annual employee survey data from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) shows gradual increases in the number of women working for the department, with percentages up to 37.5 in 2010, compared to 32 percent in 2007.
  • EMPOWER also notes an increase in women’s involvement in the field following 9/11, which inspired many to join the ranks of emergency management after witnessing and respecting the heroic actions of first responders relative to the attacks. The events surrounding 9/11 prompted the creation of the DHS and raised awareness of the need for coordinated relief efforts and emergency management as rewarding and patriotic career paths. That’s pretty cool!

Another factor that has contributed to the growth of women in emergency management is the fact that numerous professional organizations allow women across the country to share about best practices, and as mentors for others who are hoping to enter the field. Organizations such as the International Association of Women in Fire & Emergency Services offer networking, policy guidelines for fire departments and also a voice for women on policy-making initiatives. (I’m thinking of starting up one of these acronym organizations myself. How about POOCH, the Proud Order Of Canine Heroes.) These types of organizations promote the capabilities of women in emergency management and are helping to further open professional doors that were previously closed. EMPOWER is another group that pushes mentoring and educational opportunities as ways for women to join the field.

Below are some expert tips for women who are looking to join emergency management:

  • Volunteering early in your career is an ideal way to gain experience. You can learn how the organization operates, and the efforts involved in directing and motivating volunteer staff.
  • Be open to new opportunities that might indirectly lead to positions in the field. Nobody will get an upper-level emergency management job right out of college. Consider working for a police department or taking a temporary disaster relief job to get your foot in the door. That’s another human expression I don’t get! “Foot in the door?” Doesn’t that hurt? My paw got caught by the front door the other day and I yelped for days!
  • Focus on an area of special interest. For example, your medical background would translate well to public health emergency agencies. Or your work in public relations might parlay to emergency management communication positions. So keep your eyes open for opportunities. My unique talents lend themselves to the world of competitive eating. One day I’ll get my chance…

Diversity in hiring is always a good thing. The particular community covered by an emergency management agency is best served by the most qualified leader—regardless of gender. Now if only dogs could master speaking, then think of the doors that would be opened in emergency management and other fields! Well, we would still need help with the door handles, but still…

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.

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

ACTIVE HURRICANE SEASON PREDICTED

First in a Series about Hurricane Preparedness and Recovery

In their latest forecast, the National Weather Service reaffirmed their May forecast of a heavy Atlantic hurricane season. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) encouraged Americans living in coastal states to take steps to ensure their families are prepared for hurricanes. And the lead seasonal hurricane forecaster at the Climate Prediction Center recently announced that all the factors are coming together for a stormy season.

What does all of this mean? If you live on the coast, get ready for a rough ride. And when I say, “rough,” I don’t mean “ruff.”

Since before hurricane season started, FEMA personnel have been actively engaged with state and local officials in coastal states to ensure they have the support and resources necessary to prepare for and respond to a tropical storm or hurricane. This season has been particularly taxing for emergency management professionals who have to weigh the potential effects of the BP oil spill on response capabilities and recovery scenarios. I haven’t seen so many people affected by a “spill” since JR was paper-trained.

“FEMA continues to work across the administration and with our state and local partners to ensure they’re ready should a hurricane make landfall,” said FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate. “But we can only be as prepared as the public, so it’s important that families and businesses take steps now to be ready.”

Hurricanes are unique emergencies in that they are predictable. So there is no excuse for failing to prepare to respond with decisive action. 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.  In the coming weeks, we’ll look at the various ways you can prepare for and recover after tropical storms and hurricanes, including:

But first, let’s examine the nature and history of hurricanes so we know what to prepare for. A hurricane is a type of tropical cyclone, which is a generic term for a low pressure system that generally forms in the tropics. According to the National Hurricane Center, the ingredients for a hurricane include:

  1. A pre-existing weather disturbance
  2. Warm tropical oceans
  3. Moisture (Not canine-derived)
  4. Relatively light winds aloft

If the right conditions persist long enough, they can combine to produce the violent winds, incredible waves, torrential rains, and floods we associate with this phenomenon. Each year, approximately 11 tropical storms develop over the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, and Gulf of Mexico. Many of these remain over the ocean and never impact the U.S. coastline. An average six of these storms become hurricanes each year.

Hurricane Hit Parade (Hurricane Trivia)

The deadliest hurricane on record (prior to the practice of naming tropical storms in 1953) is reported to have slammed into Galveston, Texas in 1900, killing 8,000 people. A Category 4 hurricane, it struck the island with sustained winds of 140 miles per hour.

The costliest hurricane on record, as most of Florida will remember, was Hurricane Andrew, which struck in 1992 and cost an estimated $26.5 billion. I don’t know about you. But I have a hard time wrapping my mind around this much money. Suffice to say it’s a whole lot of rawhide treats…at least several bags.

The most intense hurricane to strike the U.S. hit the Florida Keys on Labor Day weekend in 1935. The Labor Day Hurricane sustained winds are estimated to have reached almost 200 miles per hour. Although it hit a tiny, low-populated area, 390 died in the event.

The busiest month in the U.S. for major hurricane hits is September, with an average 36 of 64 annual such storms. August is the second busiest month, with an average of 15 out of 64 annual strikes.

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.

Posted in BE SAFE, RJ Westmore personnel, Uncategorized

Welcome New Director of Operations

Director of Operations Lora Sargeant

The RJ Westmore Inc. team is proud to welcome Lora Sargeant as director of operations. Lora is a Southern California native who graduated from the University of California at Los Angeles in 1986 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Art History.

After graduation, she moved to Northern California and started her real estate career.

Lora brings to RJWestmore over 20 years experience in the commercial real estate industry.  She has worked for companies such as CB Richard Ellis, Grubb & Ellis Management Services, and Kennedy Wilson in a variety of capacities including on-site property management, portfolio management, and business development.  She has managed commercial, industrial and retail properties.

Lora recently relocated back to Southern California with her two children, where she most recently worked again for CB Richard Ellis managing medical office buildings for an institutional client.

Posted in Disaster Preparedness, Emergency Evacuations, Fire Life Safety Training, Fire Safety, Uncategorized

Storing Flammable Materials

Be careful when storing flammable materials.

In our continuing series about fire safety and prevention, this week’s post will look at the ways that you can mitigate the risk of fire by adopting best practices for storing flammable materials. Since flammable liquid can be ignited even without a spark, this information is particularly important for property owners who lease commercial buildings.

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. The slightest spark can start a devastating fire; so proper handling and use as well as proper storage of volatile materials are essential. This is normally where I would make a “volatile materials” joke, but I’ll let it pass…

Guesswork isn’t necessary for the proper usage and storage of flammable materials.  Organizations such as OSHA and NFPA have produced and refined various guidelines that, when followed, greatly reduce the risk of fire. Strict adherence can save lives.

The following measures will help prevent accidents (Laying down newspapers won’t help with this kind of accident.):

  • Make sure that the right types of fire extinguishers are available to combat potential fires. The NFPA recommends special “fast flow” extinguishers for locations that have pressurized flammable liquids.
  • Prevent arson by making sure that all flammable materials are stored in a locked area with access given to a limited number of employees. I keep the keys to my doghouse as secure as the “nuclear football.” Nobody gets in without my permission.
  • All outside contractors or janitorial staff should be aware of the location of hazardous materials and should be instructed to stay away from dangerous areas.
  • Install sufficient ventilation systems that move vapors away from your building to a proper outside area.

Flammables Storage Guidelines:

  • The NFPA has guidelines on classifying different flammables based on their “flash points” – the temperature at which the material is at risk of combustion. (I learned the station firefighters’ flash point the other day when I chewed on the legs of the dining room table.) Make sure tenants know the proper classification for their chemicals, from acetaldehyde to naphthalene. RJWestmore clients have access to “How to Read a Fire Diamond” within the Resources section of their online training program.

    RJ Westmore, Inc. cilents have access to lots of valuable information.
  • Utilize the proper safety cans for storing flammable liquids. These cans do not allow the escape of flammable vapors and are designed to release internal pressure. They should be sturdy enough to resist crushing or punctures. I would love to put my lamb & rice meal in one of these containers to keep it super fresh!
  • Incompatible chemicals and oxidizers should be kept away from other reactive materials to prevent unintentional mixing. If two chemicals are like cats and dogs, don’t put them on the same shelf!
  • Install specially designed storage cabinets that keep a lid on the internal temperature to prevent the start and spread of fire.

With any safety issue, the key is knowledge and preparation. Tenants who work with flammable materials on a regular basis are probably well aware of any special considerations that should be taken regarding the storage and disposal of unstable materials. But, as a building owner or property manager, there is no harm in making sure that your tenants follow all safety guidelines.

Visit us again next week for the third blog post in our series about fire safety and prevention.

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.

Posted in Building Evacuation, Disaster Preparedness, Earthquakes, Fire Life Safety Training, Fire Safety, Fires, Travel, Uncategorized

Fire Safety

Take steps to be fire-safe.

Part #2 in a Series

Since a fire department in the United States responds to a report of fire every 19 seconds, fire is an ever-present danger at work, doghouse, home or when you are traveling. Fire is also one of the most common emergencies following an earthquake, explosion, terrorist attack, power surge or other natural or man-made disaster.

Since you never know when fire will strike, you should be careful to prepare so you will immediately know what to do in case of emergency. In this series, we hope to educate you in an effort to help you and your tenants prepare for fire.

Today’s post will discuss the ways that you, as a building owner or property manager, can mitigate the risk of fire by making sound choices for building materials and furnishings and by educating tenants about taking responsibility for their own safety. (Overall, I think dogs are generally better at taking responsibility for their actions than our human counterparts. When we do something wrong, we don’t blame someone else. We hang our heads low and put our tails between our legs.)

Making sound choices for building materials

If your property is still under construction, install fire-safe materials wherever possible. Also, if you’re building something from scratch and moving dirt, now is a great time to hide bones.

David Horne, a member of the Fire Safe Council (FSC), admits that it’s impossible to take the risk of a fire down to zero unless you live in a bunker. But he says, “Builders can make their (projects) between 20 percent and 70 percent less likely to burn from the outside by choosing fire-resistant materials and veering from traditional designs.”

Here are some fire-safe installation ideas from the FSC:

  • Install stucco, fiber cement, and other noncombustible cladding materials
  • Build eaves and roof decks that are boxed in and never made from wood.
  • Omit windows from exterior walls that sit close together.
  • Add an extra layer of gypsum or another fire-resistant material beneath the siding on facing walls
  • Install double- or triple-pane windows to keep intense heat from breaking the windows
  • Choose noncombustible materials for fences
  • Consider purchasing a pre-made Dogloo instead of building a doghouse from scratch. They’re fire safe and attractive, to boot.

Making Sound Fire-Safe Choices for Furnishings

Even if your property has already been built, you can take steps to lessen the risk of home, apartment, doghouse or office fire.

Upholstered furniture, wall coverings, flooring and mattresses burn quickly and produce large amounts of toxic smoke. Burning upholstered furnishings or mattresses contribute to nearly every home fire death. Understanding the hazards associated with these furnishings will help you choose fire-safe products. Whenever possible, select upholstered furniture that has been treated with fire retardant. This is also a great idea for dog beds. While some have been treated with fire retardant materials, this is not always the case.

Some professional organizations and the state of California have developed manufacturing standards to increase the fire resistance of certain types of furniture. For a complete list of these guidelines, check out the technical bulletins released by the California Department of Consumer Affairs/Bureau of Home Furnishing and Thermal Insulation.

Educating Tenants about Fire Safety

In a perfect world, everyone would know how to prepare for disaster and would take the necessary steps to mitigate risks. Sadly, we live in an imperfect world. So don’t assume that your tenants know how to proactively prevent fires or prepare for emergencies. Although you are not obligated to do so, it’s relatively easy and inexpensive to provide helpful, straight-forward guidelines for them to follow, so in the event of emergency, they are without excuse.

Print these helpful tips for distribution for information about fire safety at home, basic information about fire safety at home and fire prevention at work.  The headline for each of these fact sheets notes that the responsibility for fire safety and disaster preparedness rests squarely on the shoulders of each individual. Additional reference materials are also available through FEMA and the National Fire Protection Association.  Whichever fire safety guidelines you prefer, post them in a central location. Next to the food bowls works for me.

Next week, we’ll look at the ways that you can mitigate the risk of fire by adopting best practices for storing flammable materials. When a disaster strikes, prior planning and clear decisive action can help save lives.  For the latest emergency management training for property owners and 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 Building Evacuation, Disaster Preparedness, Emergency Evacuations, Fire Safety, Fires, Version 2.0

Practice Makes Safety

Fire Drills aren't not just for elementary school anymore.

Whoop! Whoop! Whoop! Flashing lights! Flashing lights! Are you at a concert? No, it’s a fire drill! While your tenants might view these periodic run-throughs as unavoidable hassles that interrupt the normal business routine, fire drills are vital preparation for emergencies. In fact, fire drills might bring back memories of school where they were a welcome break from classes that gave you an opportunity to laugh with friends. (Although they weren’t mandatory at puppy kindergarten or dog obedience school, I always love an excuse to take a biscuit-break,)  In an office setting, properly executed fire drills can save lives.

Why do you need fire drills in your building?

  • Tenants enter and exit buildings through the same locations every day. In fire drills, people move through seldom used routes such as back stairwells. Workers are creatures of habit who, just like pooches, benefit from frequent drills, which make them more likely to remember proper evacuation routes.
  • Several building codes mandate fire drill participation such as the NFPA’s Life Safety Code, which features a grid detailing the recommended frequency for and the types of businesses that should conduct drills. Building owners can always choose to run more than the code-mandated number of drills to ensure that new tenants understand evacuation procedures.  The guys at the station like to think they have trained me with drills, but it’s really the other way around.
  • Drills provide a great opportunity to discover safety issues that need to be corrected such as locked stairwell doors or the necessity of developing alternate routes for specific tenants.

A fire at an office building in 1989 in Atlanta caused the deaths of five workers. Through investigation, the U.S. Fire Administration determined that federal employees who worked in the building were required to participate in fire drills, while most private sector employees were not. The fatalities and most of the injured were, unfortunately, among the private sector tenants. What’s more, the report indicated a high level of chaos among the private sector employees. Fire drills were identified as a contributing factor for saving lives.

Tips for performing fire drills:

  • Ensure that the sound of alarm systems can reach all sections of the building including storage areas, maintenance rooms, restrooms and elevators. Instruct Floor Wardens and other designated safety volunteers to keep watch for any problems observed during the drill, such as employees who don’t exit the building immediately or who take non-approved exit routes.
  • Remind tenants to exit the building briskly and to leave behind unnecessary personal items, computers or any office paperwork that might hinder evacuation. Make sure they bring Fido, in case a fire breaks out on “Bring Your Dog to Work Day.”
  • Before drills begin, ensure that all exit signs are clearly visible and meet all code requirements.
  • Involve local fire departments to coordinate their mock drills, so you can work together to speed up evacuation times.

With all types of safety exercises, it’s important to receive training from a qualified source. This short video shows you what happens when you mix fire safety training with an unqualified “trainer.” Wow. This guy should not be allowed near anything flammable ever again.

Visit us again next week for the second blog post in our series about fire safety and prevention. We will be discussing flammable materials and how building owners can mitigate fire risks by making sound choices in building materials and furnishings. I wanted to do a post that debated the merits of both wet and dry food, but my editor shot it down.

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.

Posted in Building Evacuation, Disaster Preparedness, Emergency Evacuations, Health & Welfare

Floor Warden Fire Dog Facts

Floor Wardens help during emergency evacuations

All of our training emphasizes how tenants and building management need to work together as a unit to ensure safety. In the event of fire or other emergencies, a fast and orderly evacuation can save lives.

Although our dog house evacuation is simple…grab the bone and run, buildings with tenants of 10 or more employees are required by OSHA to have an emergency action plan to help ensure tenant safety during disasters. The selection and training of Floor Wardens is an important part of any action plan.

Typical Duties of Floor Wardens:

  • Wardens and Alternative Wardens need to be familiar with every tenant and associated workspace location to ensure that no one is left behind in cases of emergency.
  • A clear understanding of the proper evacuation route and gathering place are essential for preventing panic. Your tenant’s Floor Wardens should practice walking the primary and backup emergency routes to avoid any mistakes that could result from stress. This is not unlike some of my canine companions who run around in circles chasing their tails when they’re stressed.
  • Floor Wardens will work with the building’s fire safety director to check off names of present employees and to note any who are missing following an evacuation.
  • Your tenant’s receptionists should keep logs of absent employees and visitors who are present and share the information with the proper Floor Warden.

Floor Warden Training:

  • Cross training of several tenant employees is important to account for Floor Wardens who may be absent during any given emergency or permanently leave their position with the company.
  • Special training or equipment should be given to Wardens who have tenant employees with disabilities that will require additional evacuation assistance. Your four-legged companions might find it difficult to descend escalators, for example. I’m not a fan of the things, myself, as my claws get caught in the tiny grooves.
  • Instructions should be given to Wardens on the location and usage of necessary equipment such as—flashlights, radios, whistles and rawhide treats.
  • Some tenants in large buildings might want to designate additional employees as stairwell and/or elevator monitors who will supervise safe and orderly evacuations. Floor Wardens should work closely with these monitors to keep track of employees and ensure they take the proper exit routes.

Benefits of the RJ Westmore Training System:

  • Our system offers real-time updates to Floor Warden lists, which can be viewed by building management
  • We send automatic annual reminders to each Warden for training renewal
  • Our system is fully integrated with the fire department to ensure Wardens, Fire Safety Directors and the local departments have the same occupancy data for every building
  • We record user training and testing for future reference.

While you can count on your pooch to bark before certain disasters like earthquakes and break-ins, fires and other emergencies often strike quickly and without warning. Through repetition of training and certification with our system, Floor Wardens will play an integral part in tenant safety by making sure no one is left behind in times of danger.

For the latest emergency management training for facility/building managers, contact RJ Westmore, Inc. Our 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 Disaster Preparedness, Emergency Evacuations, Health & Welfare, Uncategorized

Terrorist Surveillance

Is your building prepared for every potential threat?

Hey, Folks! After the recent attempted bombing on Times Square, it has come to my attention that we all could benefit from a little terrorist prevention and surveillance. If we are all a little more aware, and observant of what is going on around us, we can hopefully continue to prevent things like this!

It’s not that hard to be observant. Things that are suspicious usually look suspicious. Maybe it just comes easy to me, what with my sixth sense and all, but perhaps a few bullet points, identifying different terrorist groups and their motives, could help those of you without my keen sense of smell, and remarkable intuition.

There are two major groups of terrorists:

1.) DOMESTIC

  • This group was responsible for the Oklahoma City Bombing, which was the largest attack on US soil, prior to 9/11
  • This group consists of disgruntled people from America who have problems with other people from the same country, whether for political, racial or religious reasons

2.) INTERNATIONAL

  • Al Qaeda is currently one of the most well-known international terrorist groups in the world, and possibly poses the biggest threat to the United States.
  • This particular group seeks to spread religious and political views through massive attacks which warrant international media coverage.

Of course, not many people can pick a domestic, or even an international terrorist out of a group. Sometimes even we dogs can’t do that. But becoming aware that they’re out there, and knowing what their motives are, is a step in the right direction.

Another wise step in terrorist prevention and identification is establishing relationships with the FBI, or at least the local police or fire department. As a firedog, I can assure you that we would be more than happy to assist your business in making sure your surveillance equipment is working, and double-checking to make sure that your building is sufficiently equipped to handle any potential threats.

It might also be wise to enroll your employees in disaster training, because not all attacks or disasters can be anticipated or prevented. Next week we’ll try to go over some specific ways to detect and deter terrorist attacks.

Until then, check out RJ Westmore, Inc. for the latest in emergency management training, and remember to always 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 Health & Welfare, Uncategorized

All about OSHA

Building owners should view OSHA as an important partner instead of as an adversary.

Through the course of business, it is likely both tenants and building owners will eventually interact with the Occupational Safety & Health Administration. While some employers or building owners might cringe upon hearing the word “OSHA,” most dogs don’t even know what it is. In any case, the agency offers benefits and safeguards for the workplace. In existence for 40 years, OSHA has played a critical role to ensure that workers are treated as important assets and are provided with reasonable safeguards from harm. In the fire dog world, our teeth provide us with reasonable safeguards from harm.

Building owners should view OSHA as an important partner instead of as an adversary. Most of my canine friends look at dog catchers as adversaries. But both agencies only mean to help. Compliance with OSHA regulations, even those that require capital spending, will result in tangible benefits. A clean compliance record can also be used as a selling point to help attract tenants who are rightly concerned about the safety of their employees. Most folks are weary about residing or working in a building that is known for receiving lots of citations.

History:

  • Established by Congress under the Occupational Safety and Health Act in 1970
  • Inconsistent enforcement during the administration’s early years resulted in criticism.
  • The agency first focused on enhancing the safety of physical machinery with retrofitting and other safety apparatuses.
  • During the Carter Administration, the focus was on hazards such as industrial chemicals.
  • The administrations of Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush pushed to weaken the enforcement powers of OSHA, which included some voluntary compliance initiatives and other industry-friendly regulations.
  • The administration under President Clinton saw a marked increase in OSHA investigations and power.

OSHA’s Responsibilities:

  • Reviews ergonomic standards of businesses to prevent ergonomic-related injuries and stress such as carpal tunnel syndrome. I’ve never met a canine with carpal tunnel syndrome. Must be a human thing?
  • Conducts research and gathers data regarding workplace issues and tactics for minimizing safety risks.
  • Protects employees by alerting their employers about the existence of safety violations. In the neighborhood, we usually howl to alert neighbors about impending doom.
  • Performs inspections to ensure that employers are following health and safety regulations.

Benefits of compliance:

  • GAO studies on voluntary OSHA programs showed cost reductions in workers’ compensation premiums along with increases in overall workforce productivity.
  • Safe employees and office visitors are less likely to be injured at the workplace, resulting in decreased exposure to liability. Keeping folks and pups safe at the station is one of our highest priorities at the firehouse.
  • OSHA funds free consultations through many state agencies that will come to places of employment to identify safety risks.
  • Healthy employees utilize health care and insurance benefits less than those exposed to dangerous situations. Another option is to hire Dalmatians to work for you. We hardly ever file insurance claims.

Some criticisms have been levied at OSHA because of the low number of criminal prosecutions and severity of fines. It should be noted that many of the administration’s enforcement and penalties have been restricted in the past; however, recently, stiffer penalties were introduced. The Obama Administration is becoming more involved in investigations and working to keep pace with quickly emerging technology and processes used by a variety of employers.

For the latest emergency management training for facility/building managers, contact RJ Westmore, Inc. Our 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.