Posted in be prepared for emergencies, Disaster Preparedness

Have you packed your “Go-Bag?”

Fotolia_44516466_XSSeptember marks National Preparedness Month, an annual awareness campaign sponsored by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The event is intended to encourage individuals and businesses to take steps to proactively plan for disasters. The need for such awareness is great, since 60 percent of American adults say they have yet to put together and/or practice an emergency plan. I’m just a simple pup, but even I know that 60 percent is a majority. That’s a lot of unprepared people!

This year’s theme is “Don’t Wait, Communicate. Make Your Plan Today.”

The campaign also features a sub-theme for each week of the month

  • Week 1: Kick-off to National Preparedness Month
  • Week 2: Preparing Family and Friends
  • Week 3: Preparing through Service
  • Week 4: Individual Preparedness
  • Week 5: Lead-up to National Day of Action on September 30

Since a well-made emergency kit or “go-bag” (AKA a Bug-Out Bag) is the epitome of preparedness, we thought it fitting to focus this week’s post on how to prepare your own kit. With the right “go-bag,” you will be ready for any type of emergency and able to take care of yourself and possibly help others.

Survival GearInclude These Items in Your Disaster Kit

  • A container for storage. If the kit will be stored in your home or office, you could use a new 33-gallon trash can. If you plan to stow the bag in the trunk of your car, consider using a large backpack or duffel.
  • A fixed-blade knife
  • A paper map of the immediate area
  • A portable, hand-crank radio or a battery-powered radio with extra batteries
  • Blankets or sleeping bags
  • Books to read, games for kids to play
  • Can opener
  • Cash, preferably in small denominations
  • Copies of personal documents such as birth certificates, passports, deeds, proof of address, insurance policies, etc.
  • Duct tape
  • Emergency contact information (Don’t rely on the information contained in your cell phone, as cell service could be temporarily disrupted depending on the type of emergency.)
  • Enough food for up to three days, per person if evacuated, and enough for seven days per person at home. Don’t forget about your pets! We need food, too!
  • Enough water for one gallon per day, per person, for three days if evacuated, and enough for seven days per person at home. Remember to include pets in this calculation, as well. We drink a lot of water.
  • Extra clothing and a spare set of shoes (If packing for children, remember to swap out sizes as they grow.)
  • Extra set of house and car keys
  • First-aid kit with adhesive bandages, cold packs, sanitizer, gauze, tweezers, and antibiotic ointment
  • Latex-free disposable gloves
  • LED flashlights – especially valuable for building occupants who might need to spend the night in the dark following a major disaster
  • Liquid bleach
  • Matches
  • Multi-purpose tool, such as a Leatherman
  • Mylar-coated space blankets, which conserve heat and serve as signals
  • N-95 or surgical masks (in case air quality is compromised)
  • Pay-per-use cell phone and chargers, in case yours is damaged during the disaster
  • Personal hygiene items
  • Pet supplies including water and food as well as bowls and medication (Hear, hear.)
  • Plastic sheeting
  • Portable water containers, ideally in non-breakable containers
  • Prescription drugs, especially insulin, inhalers, or other life-dependent medicines (seven-day supply)
  • Prescription eyeglasses, reading glasses, and/or contact lenses
  • Rain gear
  • Scissors
  • Stainless steel water bottle that can withstand boiling water, if necessary (to purify drinking water)
  • Towels
  • Whistle
  • Work gloves

doodle first aid bag illustrationWhen preparing a go-bag, consider the types of disasters you’re likely to encounter in your area. For example, if you live in a hurricane zone, pack dry clothes, ponchos, waterproof containers, and water purification tools. In wildfire country, pack breathing masks and extra water. If you live in Tornado Alley, add bike helmets to your kit, to keep your head safe from flying debris and add sturdy shoes to keep your feet safe while walking around devastated areas. Just a suggestion; avoid buying those goofy boots for dogs. The indignity!
For home or business, consider these additional items for managing a disaster that won’t fit into a traditional go-bag:

  • A portable generator, along with extra gasoline
  • Large LED lamps
  • Long-term food storage containers should be on hand and should be stocked to feed everyone in the home for at least two weeks
  • Water barrels and various accessories to purify and periodically clean the water

Develop a Communication Plan

As part of National Preparedness Month, the Federal Emergency Management (FEMA) agency offers tips for creating a family communication plan for usage during an emergency. Such a plan is as important as food or water because it provides a guide for staying connected with loved ones when disaster strikes. Our family emergency plan includes use of the Twilight Bark.

To create the plan:

  • Collect information about each family member including health history, as well as contact information for their physicians. And don’t forget to include information about your pets!
  • Print the contact information and ensure every member of the family has a copy in their bag. Also, consider posting a copy in a central area of the home.
  • Make sure that contact and communication information expressly details meeting places after disaster.
  • Practice following directions in the communication plan, including drilling children so they will memorize phone numbers and necessary safety steps to take following an emergency.

Maintaining a state of preparedness is essential for every month of the year, not just during September. 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 prepared for emergencies, safety plans and procedures

Celebrating National Preparedness Month

Black PrepWhy is September National Preparedness Month? The month was chosen, in part, to honor the victims of the September 11 attacks and, also, because it is the start of hurricane season. Sponsored by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), National Preparedness Month is intended to promote individual and business safety preparedness to effectively manage man-made threats such as terrorism as well as natural disasters. If I had my way, it would be “Devouring Pork Chops Best Practices Month,” but I suppose safety readiness is more important. While safety should be of utmost concern every month, it’s useful for companies to designate a month for review and adjustment of safety plans and procedures.

Here are some initiatives that property managers can take during National Preparedness Month:

Use Available Resources

My pal, Ready Wrigley, has some great visual tips for reminding folks to be prepared.
My pal, Ready Wrigley, has some great visual tips for reminding folks to be prepared.

The Ready.gov website has a wealth of free safety resources:

  • Information about becoming a safety leader, with classes offered through FEMA, Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT) and other organizations.
  • Disaster-specific information and appropriate responses are offered for power outages, chemical hazards, severe weather, floods, and dozens of other scenarios.
  • Information about disaster kits, including wise food choices (pork chops, sausage, baby carrots are my suggestions) and management of water resources is crucial for waiting out a major emergency.

Revisit Disaster Plans

National Preparedness Month is an ideal time to take a critical look at your building’s disaster plan. Learn about best practices for disaster management and make sure that your plan matches up to the latest advice. Perhaps your building has changed since the creation of the last plan, with a new addition or additional parking structure, or an influx of new tenants? I added a wing to the doghouse, and it’s easy to get lost in the place. You thought the Palace of Versailles was imposing…

Walk through every part of the plan to be sure it still makes logical sense for current conditions. You should also talk to tenants to ensure they have copies of the plan and to address questions and concerns. Work with the tenants to nominate floor wardens and other volunteers who can aid others. Offices that allow pets are more common, so there should be notes in the plan about helping four-legged visitors.

The disaster plan should not only cover ways to safely evacuate or handle dangerous situations, but should also provide a roadmap for getting back to normal operations. Tenants will want to return to work as soon as possible following a disaster, so retain the services of various construction/plumbing/ electrical contractors that might be needed for repairs or inspections following a disaster.

Focus on Communication

The official motto of the 2015 National Preparedness Month is “Don’t wait. Communicate.” My motto when it comes to table scraps: food on the floor, and new shoes is “Don’t wait. Obliterate.” The focus of the theme is to encourage proactivity among individuals to create and talk about disaster plans. For building managers and owners, communication is crucial to disaster planning:

  • Alert tenants and other parties about how to access disaster plans and keep them updated about any changes.
  • Use social media and other channels, such as mobile apps, to send crucial information about upcoming disaster threats or distribute communications after an emergency occurs.
  • My communication technique is simpler. I bark at the mail carrier and whine when I don’t get ground chuck freshly prepared for dinner.

By simply communicating what is being done, property management shows they care about the wellbeing of tenants and understand the importance of transparency of communication.

Review the Details

fema-stan_mediumIn addition to reviewing your disaster plan, take time in September to check other areas of your preparedness. One of the keys to being prepared is to be proactive, which means checking to make sure you and your tenants have the tools, supplies, and information they need to best handle an emergency.

Here are some areas to check during National Preparedness Month:

  • Check fire extinguishers for expiration dates.
  • Perform routine maintenance and inspection of sprinkler systems.
  • Review insurance coverages.
  • Restock emergency kits with flashlight batteries.
  • Review food and water expiration dates.
  • Review evacuation plans with staff members.
  • Mandate that “bring your pet to work day” becomes an entire month…and that it coincides with the food truck visits.
  • Make sure designated “safe spot” meeting areas remain ideal.
  • Monitor property management staff members’ knowledge about emergency procedures, including how to shut off water or gas lines, if necessary.

Remember that safety is a daily priority, so be sure to think about disaster planning all of the time–not just during September. 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.

Posted in BE SAFE, Disaster Preparedness, Earthquakes, Health & Welfare

Happy National Preparedness Month

PrepareAthon firedogThe recent newsworthy earthquakes in Napa, California, in Chile, and off the coast of northern Japan, earlier this month are sobering reminders that it is always prudent to prepare for major shakers. Since September is National Preparedness Month, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is partnering with communities in Arizona, California, Nevada and Hawaii to encourage families, individuals and businesses to act now to increase preparedness for emergencies of every type throughout the U.S. We, at RJWestmore Training System by Universal Fire/Life Safety Services, join with FEMA to encourage preparedness throughout the month of September and beyond. After all, our goal is to “save lives through training” with the motto, #BESAFE.

Nancy Ward, FEMA Region IX Administrator said, “Preparedness is a shared responsibility. It takes a whole community and this is why you see federal, state, and county government agencies partnering with local municipalities, non-profits, and private businesses to spread the message about the importance of being prepared for emergency situations.”

National Preparedness Month is a nationwide, month-long effort hosted annually by the Ready Campaign and Citizen Corps, which encourages households, businesses and communities to prepare and plan for emergencies. One of the key messages is to be prepared in the event of an emergency, which includes making plans to be self-reliant for three days without utilities and electricity, water service, access to a supermarket or local services. People are further encouraged to prepare for the possibility of the unavailability of immediate response from agencies such as police, fire or rescue. According to FEMA, preparing for such disaster realities starts with five important steps:

  1. Stay informed about emergencies that could happen in your community. This year’s campaign will focus on “Family Connection,” encouraging families to prepare.

Identify sources of information in your community that will be helpful before, during and after an emergency. If you are aware of the potential emergencies that could strike your region, you will be better prepared during and after such an event. In other words, if you live in an area where tornadoes strike, take steps to prepare for tornadoes. If you live near a fault line, make sure you understand how to prepare for an earthquake, etc. Or, maybe consider moving somewhere where the earth doesn’t shake? Just a suggestion…Also, ask officials about your community’s disaster plans.

  1. Ask Questions:
  • What hazards are most likely?
  • How will I get alerts and warnings? Again, I recommend the Twilight Bark.
  • What is the advice and plans for sheltering and evacuation for the hazards that may impact the community?
  • Are there emergency contact numbers I should have for different situations?
  • Are there opportunities for preparedness education and training? There are ample opportunities for online training through the RJWestmore Training System!
  • Does my community have a plan? If so, can I obtain a copy?
  • What does the plan contain?
  • How often are plans updated?
  • What should I know about this plan?
  • What hazards does it cover?
  1. Make a plan for what to do in an emergency. Include the kids and pets in your plan. For business, make sure you include your employees. If you own or manage a facility, don’t forget your tenants or building occupants.
  2. Build an Emergency Supply Kit. Your kit should include a collection of basic items your household members (including pets) would need in the event of an emergency.

Be Disaster Aware 2014 corpTry to assemble your kit well in advance of an emergency. Since you may have to evacuate at a moment’s notice, be prepared to take essentials with you since you probably won’t have time to search for and/or shop for the supplies you need.

Set aside 3-day-per-person-(and dog) supply-of foodwater and other essentials. Local officials and relief workers will be on the scene after a disaster but they cannot reach everyone immediately. Help could arrive in hours or it could take days for relief workers to get to you.

Additionally, basic services such as electricity, gas, water, sewage treatment and telephones may be cut off for days or even a week, or longer. But you can always drink from the toilet. Works for me! Your supplies kit should contain items to help you manage during these outages.

  1. Get involved. A variety of activities and events are planned each year to commemorate National Preparedness Month. If you own a business, make sure you get everyone in your firm involved in the effort to prepare. An ideal way to do this is to subscribe to the RJWestmore Training System by Universal Fire/Life Safety Services. Our system allows property management companies to manage one site or an entire portfolio, with all users in the same system. You can train occupants, floor wardens, and fire safety directors; all user training and testing is recorded. Get quick access to building specific Emergency Responder information and other resources.

This year’s National Preparedness Month focuses on establishing family connections in any emergency preparedness plan. For information about preparedness events, check out FEMA’s Ready.Gov website. When a disaster of any kind strikes, prior planning and clear decisive action can help save lives. Our system offers 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, Biological Warfare, Disaster Preparedness, High-Rise Buildings, Resolve to Be Ready in 2012

National Preparedness Month September 2012

Based on all of the natural and man-made disasters that have been taking place lately, it seems particularly fitting that September is National Preparedness Month. This year marks the ninth annual National Preparedness Month, sponsored by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

Here is a sampling of significant world events over just the past seven days, in case you aren’t convinced that it is worth your time to prepare for disaster: (By the way…my run-in with Felix the Cat isn’t even listed. I’ll spare you the details. But suffice to say it was definitely a disaster for him.)

 

Bomb Threats:

USA North Dakota

USA Texas

 

Cyclones:

Antilles

Newfoundland

Philippines

 

Earthquakes:

Argentina

China

Costa Rica

Fiji

Greece

Indonesia

Japan

Kyrgyzstan

Papua New Guinea

Philippines

USA Alaska

USA Maine

Venezuela

 

Fires & Wildfires(These just happen to be my specialty.)

Bulgaria

Canada

France

Italy

Siberia

USA California

USA Oklahoma

USA Oregon

USA Washington

USA West Virginia

USA Wyoming

 

Flash Flood & Landslides:

China

Costa Rica

Fiji

India

Pakistan

Philippines

Thailand

USA California

USA Louisiana

USA Utah

West Africa

 

Hazardous Materials:

USA New Mexico

 

Terrorist Attacks:

British Embassy in Sudan

German Embassy in Sudan

US Embassy in Egypt
US Embassy in Libya

US Embassy in Sudan

US Embassy in Tunis

US Embassy in Yemen
Tornadoes: (I think we should have included Toto’s trip to Oz in this category, even though it didn’t happen within the past 7 days.)

USA Florida

USA New York

USA Texas

 

Transportation Incident:

USA Nebraska

 

Volcanoes:

Guatemala

Indonesia

Japan

Obviously, the above list is far from comprehensive. Disasters of all kinds occur virtually everywhere, every second of every hour of every day. Not to be Debbie Downer. If you would like to check out up-to-the minute disasters, you can download apps for your phone or mobile device, or check out free online resources from the CDC, FEMA and Ready.Gov. To receive free monthly preparedness tips from FEMA, text PREPARE to 43362.  More important than learning about every single disaster is to prepare for any and every kind of disaster.

The RJWestmore Online Training System provides emergency preparedness to tenants of high rise commercial buildings across the country. Online modules such as fire, earthquakes and bomb threats equip building occupants so they know how to quickly and safely respond to virtually any disaster…be it manmade or natural. So, if you own or manage commercial property, you can take advantage of the RJW system and enjoy peace of mind about emergency preparation and recovery for everyone who lives or works in your building.

To make sure you and your family are prepared for disasters; heed the advice of FEMA, whose new campaign is: “Today is the day before. Are you ready for tomorrow?” In other words, we don’t know what type disaster might occur tomorrow. But the best we can do is to prepare for it today. Would you be ready for a disaster? In short:

  1. Make sure you are informed about what to do before, during and after a disaster.
  2. Make a plan. Prepare, plan and stay informed about emergencies.
  3. Build a kit for disasters so you are prepared. Make sure the kit includes lots of dog treats and food for Fido.
  4. Get involved—find opportunities to support community preparedness.
  5. Plan to protect your business. Maybe Man’s Best Friend could help you here.

Over the years, we have devoted 169 RJ the Firedog blog posts to the topic of disaster preparation. To celebrate National Preparedness Month, why not read through a few to refresh your memory and motivate you to take action? 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 3.0 system offers the best emergency training system.

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

Celebrate National Preparedness Month by Making Sure You’re Ready!

storms brewing over East Coast
What East Coast Troubles Have Taught us about Disaster Response

Recent events, such as Hurricane Irene, the east coast earthquake and this year’s tornadoes in Tuscaloosa and Joplin are critical reminders about the importance of preparedness. So we’d like to take a one-week break from our ongoing series about lessons learned from 9/11 to discuss ways that you and your community can prepare for natural disasters. It seems particularly fitting we do so now, since September is National Preparedness Month.

FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate kicked off National Preparedness Month last week with a visit to New York. He posed one important question: “Are you ready?” I wish I had been able to attend the press conference so I could have barked my reply.

As active members National Preparedness Month Coalition, we at RJWestmore Inc. would like to echo Fugate’s implied call to action. We believe the more people are aware of available online and real world tools, the more prepared they will be to cope and bounce back when disasters strike.

A great way to learn how to prepare is to learn from past mistakes. After all, that’s how my wife and I paper-trained JR. This method is effective because people are always quick to point fingers and paws and complain. But let’s take a different tact this week, by learning from what went right in the recent events on the east coast as well as Missouri and Alabama:

Hurricane Irene: For Washington, D.C., Hurricane Irene was not only the most dangerous weather system to rip through Washington in some time, but it was also a test of whether the beleaguered power company, Pepco, could claw its way out of the basement of public opinion by keeping the lights on and restoring them when they blinked out.

Pepco’s response was to make automated phone calls alerting citizens before the hurricane hit and then to restore power within 24 hours to 140,000 of the 220,000 affected customers. Fewer homes served by Pepco in the District and Maryland suburbs lost power than did those served by neighboring power companies. Pepco bounced back from bad PR by keeping lines of communication open with their customer base. Whatever line of business you are in, make communication an integral part of your emergency management plans. The twilight bark is an important part of my emergency management plans.

East Coast Earthquake: Immediately after the 5.9 earthquake centered near Mineral, Virginia, the FAA ordered planes at airports around the country to stay on the ground rather than fly to airports in New York, Philadelphia, New Jersey, Washington, D.C., and Virginia where traffic was temporarily halted. Among major airports in the region, only New York’s LaGuardia continued operations throughout the day. But by late afternoon, traffic at all the airports was returning to normal, although delays were expected into the evening. Controlling transportation is crucial to effective disaster management. That’s why I trust my transportation to my own four paws.

Tornadoes: According to an article in USA Today, the Alabama tornado killed 41 people, devastated vital parts of the city’s infrastructure, destroyed or damaged more than 7,000 buildings and affected 10% of local businesses. It was part of a system of twisters that killed 238 people in Alabama alone and another 100 or so in other states across the South.

Tuscaloosa is said to be further along the road to rebuilding than Joplin, Mo., which was struck by a tornado that killed at least 125, blasted 2,000 homes, took out one of the city’s two hospitals, ravaged big-box stores and smashed several hundred small businesses.

Thankfully, funds for survivors and reconstruction are coming in from many sources, including the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and other federal agencies, state and local governments, private insurers, volunteer and faith-based organizations and other non-governmental sources.

Although the rebuilding efforts will likely take years and millions of dollars, thanks to coordinated efforts of state and federal agencies, these devastated communities are on their way to recovery. Handling any large scale disaster, whether manmade or natural, requires coordination and cooperation.

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, Biological Warfare, Disaster Preparedness, Emergency Evacuations, Fire Life Safety Training, Fire Safety, Health & Welfare, High-Rise Buildings, Safety at Home, Terrorism, Travel, Uncategorized, Version 2.0

Don’t take your safety for granted: Lessons learned from 9/11

Twin towers outline against American flag
September 11 taught us we can't afford to take our safety for granted.

Second in a series about 9/11

Given the serious and sensitive nature of the somber events of September 11, 2001, this series of blog posts do not include my regular Fire-dog isms. I’d just like to take the opportunity to thank all of the brave firefighters, paramedics, emergency responders, occupant EAP team members and others who gave their lives to help others on 9/11. My firedog hat is off to you all.

With the 10-year anniversary of 9/11 just around the corner, we are devoting five weeks to discuss the 10 lessons the world has learned from that fateful day and recommend emergency precautions that you should take now to give you and your family, friends, employees and colleagues the best chance of surviving another terrorist attack.

Two of the 10 things we’ve learned from 9/11:

1, We can’t afford to take our safety for granted. The aftermath of 911 will likely be with us in perpetuity. The plus side to this is that many people now realize they should take steps to protect themselves and prepare for potential future attacks.

Prior to the events of September 11, 2001, many of us took our safety for granted. Doing so was easy. After all, planes generally took off and landed as scheduled. Going to work was relatively uneventful. Multi-million dollar buildings stood tall.

All of that changed when pilots hijacked planes and, in a coordinated suicide effort led by al-Qaeda, crashed into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. A third plane which was likely headed for either the Capital or the White House was overtaken by passengers and crashed in a field in Pennsylvania. Thousands of workers and civilians died in what has since become known as the greatest terrorist attack on American soil in history.

The good news is that, as a nation, we have learned. We have learned to recognize threats and to take action in order to ward off potential assaults against our country. Security is tighter now than it has ever been. And, as a result, we are safer. In fact, the likelihood of broad attacks involving multiple agents has actually decreased since 2001.

What’s more, because we are no longer naïve about potential threats to our personal and national safety, we are more willing to participate in drills and develop emergency preparedness plans. For those of us in the safety training business, this is good news because we have long understood the importance of preparation. In fact, at RJWestmore, Inc. has been providing safety and security solutions to commercial real estate companies for more than 20 years. Our mission is to save lives through training with the motto “BE SAFE!”

You can take an active part in your own safety by observing National Preparedness Month (NPM) in September. Sponsored by FEMA, the month-long campaign encourages citizens to get a kit, make a plan and be informed. Leading by example, RJWestmore, Inc. is a member of the NPM Coalition.

2. Terrorism can cause thousands of casualties and/or extensive damage to buildings as well as infrastructure. According to the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security, the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 cost nearly $2 trillion.

Small Business—Cyber security firm Symantec reports that, despite the plethora of information about terrorism attacks, most small business owners remain unprepared. Don’t wait until it’s too late. The cost of training your employees to act and assemble simple disaster kits is far less than what you will lose if and when you and your colleagues face another terrorist attack. Potential threats include cyber security. So make sure your information systems are secure.

Property Owners & ManagersEmerald Research reports that terrorist attacks on buildings are becoming an increasing threat. So it is essential that property managers prepare for potential attacks. Building owners and managers should understand the types of devices used by terrorists and assess the threat, determine how buildings can be physically protected and the ways that property managers should respond to perceived threats, both proactively and reactively.

As our series continues, we’ll examine the remaining eight lessons we’ve learned from 9/11 so you and your loved ones and colleagues will BE SAFE. Once you have determined the possible events and their potential affects to your community, you’ll want to discuss them with your family, friends and coworkers.

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, Earthquakes, Emergency Evacuations, Fire Safety, Health & Welfare, Hurricanes, Uncategorized

Happy National Preparedness Month

September is National Preparedness Month. Are you prepared?

On 9/11/2010, our nation was transfixed while 3,000 of our friends, neighbors, co-workers, classmates and family members perished in violent terrorist attacks. So, it is fitting that we pay homage every September to the Americans who lost their lives nine years ago with an entire month dedicated to emergency and disaster preparedness. And so we do—September is National Preparedness Month.

Furthering our corporate mission to “Save Lives Through Training,” we at RJWestmore, Inc. make it a point to provide emergency and disaster preparedness information to our clients as well as the public at large. So we would like to commemorate National Preparedness Month by sharing tips about disaster preparation and recovery relative to emergency situations in business.

Action Plan to Help You Stay in Business

Stay Informed:

Risk assessment is a sophisticated area of expertise that can range from self-assessment to an extensive engineering study. Whenever I do self-assessments, I discover new black spots on my coat. The specific industry, size and scope of your individual company will determine the risk assessment needs of your organization.

  1. Know what kinds of emergencies might affect your company both internally and externally. In both cases, as a Dalmatian, internally or externally, it’s all about the nose. Find out which natural disasters are most common in the areas where you operate. You may be aware of some of your community’s risks; others may surprise you.
  2. Learn about what to do during disasters as diverse as biological, chemical, explosive, nuclear radiological or feline attack.

Plan for Business Continuity: Carefully assess how your company functions. How quickly your company resumes business following a terrorist attack, tornado, fire or flood depends on the extent of the emergency planning you do today. Start planning now to improve the likelihood that your company will survive and recover.

Initiate Emergency Planning: Your employees and co-workers are your business’s most important and valuable assets. Make sure your plans protect them. There are some procedures you can put in place before a disaster. So make sure you learn about the resources usually people need in order to recover after a disaster.

It is possible that your staff will need time to ensure the well-being of their family members. But getting back to work is also important in the personal recovery of people and animals who endure disasters. Re-establish routines whenever possible. If that doesn’t work, adding another bowl of chow might help.

Collect and Stow Emergency Supplies: Think first about the basics of survival: fresh water, food, clean air and warmth. When preparing for emergency situations, it’s best to think first about the basics of survival: fresh water, food, clean air and warmth. Encourage everyone to have a portable kit customized to meet personal needs, such as essential medications. For more about this, check out the blog post in our recent Go-bag blog.

Decide to Stay or Go: (And, just to clarify, by “go,” I’m not talking about marking your territory.) Depending on your circumstances and the nature of the disaster, the first important decision you will need to make following an incident is whether to shelter-in-place or evacuate. Understand and plan for both possibilities in advance by developing clear, well thought-out plans. Make contingency plans, so you can act quickly no matter the condition of your physical surroundings or your own mental health.

Allow for Fire Safety: Fire is the most common of all business disasters. In fact, each year, fires cause thousands of deaths and injuries and billions of dollars in damage. The actual R.J. Westmore of RJWestmore, Inc. (or Bob as he is commonly known), has featured prominently in the development of national standards for fire safety for many years. Our mission is to save lives through training with the motto “Be Safe!” So, be sure to check out our website regularly for fire safety resources. Better yet, enroll your employees and tenants in the RJWestmore Training System. And follow me on Twitter for lots of helpful tweets.

Prepare for Medical Emergencies: Workplace medical emergencies vary greatly depending on the disaster, type of job and the worksite. For example, heavy equipment operators face different safety risks than do office workers or food service personnel. Regardless of the type of work, there are steps which can give you the upper hand in responding to a medical emergency.  So take steps to gain the upper hand (or upper paw) in medical emergency response.

Influenza Pandemic: A pandemic is a global disease outbreak. The federal government, states, communities and industry are taking steps to prepare for and respond to an influenza pandemic. An influenza pandemic occurs when a new influenza virus emerges for which there is little or no immunity in the human population and the virus begins to cause serious illness and then spreads easily from person-to-person. The federal government, individual states, communities and industry are taking steps to prepare for and respond to an influenza pandemic. So make sure your organization is prepared. The best defense against any communicable disease is to regularly wash your paws.

RJWestmore can provide a site-specific Risk Exposure Analysis via our online assessment tool, which ranks the following:

Hazards:

  • Criminal Activity
  • Earthquake
  • Fire
  • Flood
  • Hurricane
  • Infrastructure Loss
  • Terrorism
  • Tornado
  • Winter Storm

It also rates and ranks the Consequence possibility of:

  • Death
  • Injury
  • Mission Loss
  • Property Loss
  • Contents Loss
  • Use Loss
  • First Responder

All of these resources culminate in an easy- to-read-and-interpret color-coded report. For more information about a Risk Exposure Analysis Report for your property, contact us today.

For more, check out the FEMA website, which outlines preparation for nearly every imaginable emergency that may arise. 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. And in the meantime, BE SAFE.