Posted in BE SAFE, Fire Life Safety Training, Fire Safety, Fires, High-Rise Buildings

Happy National Fire Prevention Month

Fire Prevention 2014 firedogThe National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) announced that the week of October 5-11, 2014 is Fire Prevention Week. The theme of the week-long fire prevention campaign, which is the 90th annual event of its kind, is “Working Smoke Alarms Save Lives: Test Yours Every Month!” I love National Fire Prevention week because I have devoted my life to fire safety and prevention.

“Smoke alarms can help make the difference between life and death in a fire, but they need to be working,” said Lorraine Carli, NFPA’s vice president of Outreach and Advocacy. “This year’s Fire Prevention Week campaign reinforces the importance of testing smoke alarms each month, and works to ensure that people have the needed protection in the event of a home fire.”

Educating people about smoke alarm devices is important, since nearly two-thirds of home fire deaths reportedly result from fires in homes without operational smoke alarms. My doghouse is only 5 ft x 5 ft and my wife and son and I have two alarms…just to #BeSafe.

“The common presence of smoke alarms in the home tends to create a false sense of security,” said Carli. “Simply having smoke alarms isn’t enough. They need to be tested and maintained properly.”

Here are ways that smoke alarms figured in United States’ fires between 2007 and 2011, which is the most recent national smoke alarm study:

  • Smoke alarms sounded in half of the home fires reported to U.S. fire departments.
  • Three of every five home fire deaths resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms.
  • No smoke alarms were present in more than one-third (37%) of the home fire deaths.
  • If you don’t have a working smoke alarm, you won’t be alerted if a fire starts in your home.

Fire Prevention firedog 2In addition to monthly testing, smoke alarms should be installed and maintained according to the following 10 steps:

  1. Install smoke alarms inside and outside each bedroom and sleeping area. Install alarms on every level of the home.
  2. Install alarms in the basement.
  3. If you own a large home, you may need to install extra smoke alarms.
  4. If possible, use interconnected smoke alarms. When one smoke alarm sounds, they all sound.
  5. Test smoke alarms at least once a month. Press the test button to be sure the alarm is working. And if it isn’t working, replace the batteries or the entire unit.
  6. Be aware that there are two kinds of alarms – ionization smoke alarms are quicker to warn about flaming fires, and photoelectric alarms are quicker to warn about smoldering fires. If possible, use both types of alarms in the home.
  7. A smoke alarm should be on the ceiling or high on a wall.
  8. Keep smoke alarms away from the kitchen to reduce false alarms. They should be at least 10 feet (3 meters) from the stove.
  9. People who are hard-of-hearing or deaf can use special alarms. These alarms feature strobe lights and bed shakers.
  10. Replace all smoke alarms when they are 10 years old.

fire prevention 2014 calendar corpThe NFPA website has a wealth of additional smoke alarm information and resources for parents and teachers, and for fire departments working to implement the campaign in their communities. In addition, the NFPA  Sparky the Fire Dog® website (www.sparky.org/fpw) features award-winning apps and games for kids that reinforce the campaign’s fire safety messages. What’s more, the NFPA and its 2014 FPW partners are working together to promote the importance of monthly testing and related smoke alarm education. For more information about Fire Prevention Week and upcoming events, visit www.fpw.org.

For relevant fire prevention information relative to high rise buildings and facilities’ management, check out our recent fire prevention blog posts. We hope you will observe National Fire Prevention Week, and take steps to make sure you and your tenants or building occupants are #FireSafe. The RJWestmore Training System by Universal Fire/Life Safety Services is a convenient and affordable solution to helping improve and save lives. Visit our website for ways proper planning can make a difference in numerous aspects of your professional and personal life.

Posted in BE SAFE, Building Evacuation, Disaster Preparedness, Emergency Evacuations, Fire Life Safety Training, Fire Safety, Fires, High-Rise Buildings, Vaccinations, Version 2.5

How to Celebrate National Fire Safety Month

RJW is proud to feature a blog about Natioinal Fire Prevention Month.

October 9-15 is the National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA’s) official “Fire Prevention Week,” which is an annual event that promotes fire safety for families and businesses. This works out perfectly for me, as “National Chew on Furniture Week” is October 16-21. So I still have time to get my chompers ready.

Fire Prevention Week was created to commemorate the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. During the 40th anniversary of that tragic event, the Fire Marshals Association of North America began the first National Fire Prevention Day. In 1925, President Calvin Coolidge proclaimed the first official National Fire Prevention Week and called up a massive change in fire-prevention planning.

According to the NFPA, a home structure fire was reported every 87 seconds in 2009, and nearly seven people died each day in those blazes. The economic toll from residential and business fire is vast, with $7.6 billion in losses recorded in 2009. However, through educational efforts such as National Fire Prevention Week, the occurrence of fires has dropped drastically over the years, from more than 700,000 house fires in 1977 to 370,000 in 2010.

Every year the NFPA selects a theme for National Fire Prevention Week. The theme for 2011 is “Protect your family from fire,” and focuses on coordinated efforts for family members and teachers. Here are a few of the themes from past years:

  • “The Nation’s Greatest Menace! Do Your Part to Stop This Waste!” (1929)
  • “Learn Not To Burn – Wherever You Are” (1982)
  • “Give your dog two pounds of New York Strip every night to keep his coat shiny” (1994—well, that was my suggestion, anyway.)
  •  “Use Candles with Care” (2005)

Fire Prevention Week activities at schools and other organizations focus on preparedness in several key areas:

  • Establishment and practicing sensible escape routes with designated alternates
  • Inspection and care of home smoke detectors
  • Information about home sprinkler systems and their ability to stop fires within minutes
  • Dangers associated with fires from heating appliances, fireplaces, and stoves
  • Special emphasis on smokers and the acute risk of fire from un-extinguished cigarettes.
  • Candle care and safety. (I am extra careful with candles in the doghouse. Since I’m a working firedog, sometimes I need to relax and have some quiet meditation!)

For businesses, fire safety should be a 52-week focus, not just one that is observed during Fire Prevention Week. Business and facility management can take many steps to reduce the risk of fire:

  • Create a sound fire plan that includes evacuation routes, designated fire wardens and procedures to account for every employee and visitor during a fire emergency.
  • Install and inspect to make sure the right classes of fire extinguishers are located in code-required locations. I have one in the doghouse, but no opposable thumbs!!
  • Implement clear rules on the use of space heaters and other portable devices that can pose safety hazards.
  • Encourage employees to report dangerous situations. Give them the opportunity to reach your building manager confidentiality if they need to report a sensitive issue.

Fire Safety Week is an ideal chance for individuals and businesses to reflect on what they can do to keep people and property protected from fire. Practicing common sense and building a knowledge base about fire are the best ways for people to avoid tragedy.

My friends at RJWestmore are covering more than 300 million square feet of commercial property through their own Fire Life Safety Training System which ensures compliance with related fire codes. It is an interactive e-learning system that provides tenants, building owners, and facility managers with instant feedback.

Convenient and affordable for businesses of any size, the RJWestmore Fire Life Safety Training System can reduce training workloads by 90 percent while saving more than 50 percent when compared to conventional training methods. Proper training and code compliance can greatly reduce your liability in the event of a disaster. Personally, I always follow codes. My doghouse even has anchor bolts in case of an earthquake!

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 2.5 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, Emergency Evacuations, Fire Life Safety Training, Fire Safety, Fires, Uncategorized

Getting Involved With Fire Prevention Week

How will you prepare for fire during Fire Prevention Week?

Fire is a frequent topic of safety discussions because it is a primal force that strikes fear in the heart of man and beast. It is also a relatively common occurrence compared to other disasters, and can cause severe damage to people, fire dogs and structures.

Raising awareness about fire safety is a priority of fire departments and Dalmatians, alike. October 3-9 is the National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA) official Fire Prevention Week. The NFPA has been the official sponsor of Fire Prevention Week for nearly 90 years, and has made great strides in the area of fire safety for the public.

It took a great tragedy to encourage the development of a week dedicated to fire safety. In 1871, the Great Chicago Fire roared through Chicago, leaving more than 100,000 people homeless, 17,000 structures destroyed and countless doghouses unattended. While most people believe a cow started the fire, many historians note other possible culprits. Fire Prevention Week was established to commemorate the fire, and marked the start of the important role fire department personnel play in education and prevention, in addition to the physical acts of fighting fires.

Fire Prevention Week reinforces the basics of fire safety to the public. The theme of this years’ Fire Prevention Week is Smoke Alarms: A Sound You Can Live With! The NFPA is making a big push for smoke alarms to be installed, properly upgraded and maintained in residential and commercial buildings. I’m not sure how they came up with that theme. As a dog, I can tell you that the sound of a smoke alarm is enough to send me through the firehouse roof!

The NFPA has several initiatives for this years’ Fire Prevention Week which are offered to fire departments and other agencies for fire education initiatives:

Video Tutorials and Audio PSAs:

  • A video about smoke alarm safety includes information about the benefits of interconnecting alarms, testing alarms, checking for expiration dates and regularly replacing batteries.
  • Downloadable MP3 audio files discuss fire alarm safety.
  • Rawhide treats encourage Fido to keep a keen nose for sniffing out fire hazards.

How can building owners participate in Fire Prevention Week?

  • Distribute free safety materials from the NFPA, FEMA and other agencies
  • Review your overall fire safety plan including evacuation routes, location of extinguishers, rules on stairwell and elevator usage, etc.
  • Invite your local fire department to fire safety activities. Firefighters are sometimes willing to arrange and/or participate in special events such as parades. Organize an interactive event where employees and facility management can speak directly to firefighters and their canine companions.

Fire Prevention Week is an opportunity for building owners to engage staff and employees in preventing the threat of fire. To learn more about fire safety, review the many fire-related topics that we have covered in previous posts, including: fire evacuation procedures, flammable materials, extinguishers and sprinkler systems, and fire hazards.

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 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 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, Fire Life Safety Training, Fire Safety, Fires

Fire Extinguishers and Sprinkler Systems

Do you know how to properly use a fire extinguisher?

What’s my number one priority? Don’t say “old tennis balls!”It’s safety! Today we are talking about ways to deal with fires. Despite your best prevention efforts, fire remains a very real risk for virtually any residential or commercial property. In previous posts, we have discussed fire hazards in office buildings, to help you identify and prevent hazards. But if a fire breaks out, in spite of your efforts to thwart one, much of the damage can be slowed or stopped if you prepare by securing fire equipment such as a complete sprinkler system and accessible fire extinguishers.

According to research from the smart folks at the NFPA, the chances of an individual dying in a fire protected by the right equipment are reduced by 50-75%, and the average property loss is cut by one-third to two-thirds (34-68%), compared to fires in buildings where there are no sprinklers. In 2008, there were 112,000 fires nationally in non-residential structures which caused a total of more than $3.8 billion in damages. Don’t let your building become another statistic. Instead, take precautions to make sure you have the right equipment on hand.

Fire Sprinkler Systems:

  • The two main types of sprinkler systems are referred to as wet and dry. While both systems use water, many prefer the “dry” systems, since water in dry systems is not stored in pipes, which means it won’t freeze. Instead, it features pressurized air or nitrogen which allows water in via a valve. On the other hand, with a Wet System, pressurized water sits in pipes at all times. Sort of like the difference between wet and dry dog food! (For the record, I eat both.)
  • Proper installation is the key to ensure building protection.
    • The spray pattern of each nozzle needs to be sufficient to cover all areas.
    • A minimum of a 30-minute water supply should be available. A back-up supply is advisable for larger systems. Don’t forget that, in the event of a fire, you and the fire department will be using the same water supply. While you’re making sure water stores are sufficient, maybe you should also stock up on treats to share with the crew’s Dalmatian after the firefight is over?
    • Choose the right temperature rating to make sure the sprinkler matches the expected ceiling temperature of the fire. This is important because proper water temp will prevent costly accidental discharges. Sprinkler bulbs are color-coded to match different temperatures. Your installers should check applicable NFPA codes to be sure the right bulbs are in use.
    • Once the sprinklers are installed, make sure you maintain them.
    • All the hose connections should be checked frequently for corrosion and misalignment.
    • OSHA recommends that a main drain flow test be performed annually.
    • Boxes and other materials could block water coverage. So they should not be stacked close to sprinkler heads.
    • Come to think of it, I might get a fire sprinkler system for the doghouse. I wonder how difficult it would be to rig up the garden hose?

Fire Extinguishers:

  • Tenants and building management should understand that extinguishers should only be used for small fires that are not producing toxic smoke. Assisting in evacuation efforts and personal safety should always come before attempting to use extinguishers.
  • All able-bodied tenants should be instructed on basic fire extinguisher usage. I wish canines could help, but we don’t have opposable thumbs!
  • Fire extinguisher location is important to ensure adequate floor-by-floor coverage.
  • Extinguishers come in several “classes,” including A, B, C, D, and K. Each type of extinguisher is used for a certain type of fire. This is especially important for any tenants that have lots of electronics equipment or toxic chemicals.
  • Check yearly updates from the NFPA on fire extinguisher standards.
  • Extinguisher locations should be clearly marked. Extinguishers should be visible and pressure should be verified.

For the latest emergency management training for facility/building managers, contact RJ Westmore. Our e-based system offers the best emergency training available, with automated and integrated features. Visit RJWestmore.com for more information and remember to BE SAFE.

Posted in Emergency Evacuations, Fire Life Safety Training, Fire Safety, Fires

Fire Hazards in Office Buildings

Office Fire is a Serious Subject

Occasionally, we have to tackle serious subjects. Today, we’re dealing with one such topic… building fire safety. According to my good pals at the National Fire Protection Agency, there were 112,000 non-residential structure fires in 2008 which resulted in $3.8 billion in property damages.  Those really tall buildings are especially at risk as fires can spread rapidly and higher floors are can be out of reach for even the largest fire trucks.

Building owners should work closely with tenants to discuss fire hazards to prevent loss of property or life. The potential loss of sensitive data or documents should make them a relatively receptive audience. I know that my ears would certainly perk up if someone told me there that my doghouse is at risk.

Reducing the incidence of fires in buildings can be reduced by identifying contributing factors and minimizing risks. Come to think of it, that’s the best way to handle any type of hazard!

Space heaters:

In enclosed spaces near papers, these are famous for starting fires.

  • Space heaters use a lot of electricity and the use of several units can lead to high utility bills
  • Older space heaters that don’t have auto shutoff can start fire if they are tipped over

Office Equipment and Appliances:

  • Make sure that coffee makers, copiers and computers have plenty of clearance for proper air circulation.
  • Papers should not be stacked on or around equipment. (This includes puppy training papers, too.)
  • Restrict the use of hotplates and other portable heating items. (I prefer my food right out of the can. No need for heating.)

Wiring and Power:

  • Older wiring that is mixed with newer wiring can lead to sparking, which can cause fires.
  • Buildings that fail to keep current with electrical code standards are particularly at risk.
  • Overuse of extension cords and power strips can lead to fire. This risk has increased, recently, since people at home and work use so many electronic devices. Overloaded circuits or power cords routed under combustible carpets can also lead to fire.

Combustible materials:

  • Modern offices typically have highly combustible materials such as file folders, wooden partitions, upholstered furniture, carpeted floors, and wooden doors
  • Combustibles can be decreased by choosing metal furniture, installing fire-rated doors, and moving towards paperless record keeping

Smoking:

Don’t forget about cigarettes! Cigarettes and cigars remain among the leading causes of fire. Even in buildings that prohibit smoking inside buildings, some unruly tenants may not comply with regulations. Strict enforcement of no-smoking policies and the provision of safe outside smoking areas can keep recreational smoking from leading to fire. Outside ash containers should be heavy so they will not tip over. And caution should be taken when disposing of ash.

Fire risks can be greatly reduced by establishing and enforcing safety policies for all of your tenants. The RJ Westmore Training System can help you mitigate these and other potential disasters. Visit my friends at RJ Westmore.com and ask about the recently released Version 2.0 of our award-winning training program. Choosing our program cuts property management training related workloads by 90% and saves you over 50% compared to conventional training!

Most importantly, IT SAVES LIVES!

Posted in Uncategorized
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PS-Prep will help the private sector BE SAFE.

Disaster preparedness is a main priority for any fire dog, or anyone else who cares about being safe. At the fire station, we get plenty of calls to assist in horrible disasters which might have been prevented with simple routine safety checks and adjustments

I’ve seen entire buildings condemned, and employees lose their jobs, all due to faulty wiring. Private and publically held companies, such as hospitals, universities, stadiums, non-profit organizations, and others that fail to establish and maintain safety standards face disasters.

Fortunately, the Department of Homeland Security has recently announced a new program called PS-Prep which introduces safety standards for these types of businesses as well as non-profit organizations. With PS-Prep, a third-party assessor evaluates organizations to determine preparedness. He or she checks out the current safety provisions and then certifies the company if it’s up to par.

With certification comes a certain degree of confidence that employers and employees have taken necessary steps to eliminate potential disasters. This is a good thing, because it means more tragedies can be averted.

With PS-Prep, everybody wins, because the fewer the number of dismembered bodies my crew and I have to drag out of a terrorist-targeted pile of rubble, the better. I’m kidding, of course. But the reality is that preparation and prevention are the best ways to handle any emergency.

For more tips on how to be prepared so you can be safe in the event of an emergency, visit RJWestmore, Inc. Another helpful resource is provided by the National Fire Protection Association, which is making their standards available at no cost. Regardless of whether your company decides to take advantage of the new PS-Prep Program, it’s important that you do whatever it takes to BE SAFE!