Posted in BE SAFE, Fire Safety, Fires, Uncategorized

‘Tis the Season – For Safety

Cartoon light walking
Safety from A-Z

Holiday Safety Tips from A-Z

You know the story. Every year, beginning in mid-November, the local news starts discussing the dangers posed by Christmas trees and other holiday hazards. Or they pop the cautionary tale “Christmas Vacation,” into the DVD player and watch that wild dog chase the squirrel through the tree, over the table, and through all the presents!

Let us take the opportunity to go beyond their typical tip of the day to give you an A to Z guide in order to ensure you and your family, friends and business associates are safe during the holidays.

Always remember to turn off the Christmas tree lights!

Be careful when walking to your car…especially if you are carrying holiday gifts, or 40 pounds of avocado-enhanced dog food on an icy sidewalk.

Call ahead to find out how crowded the streets near shopping centers are, to avoid encountering crazy drivers in holiday traffic

Drag your tree to the curb, or, better yet…check into tree recycling programs so you won’t create a dried-out fire hazard. Or, for another option, if you have a Labrador, try this: they love sticks! So why not chop up the tree and let em’ go crazy. But I can’t guarantee they won’t end up with splinter-covered tongues.

Extinguishers are vital to deal with fires! Make sure yours aren’t past their prime and that you are properly trained to use one.

Fire and emergency exit codes are important considerations when you host parties. So don’t invite 70 people to your studio apartment. Although, let’s do some math. 70 people multiplied by 1.8 pounds of rich food per person times 5 percent rate of food falling on the floor, equals 6.3 pounds of vittles for me and my canine friends.

Get involved with Fire Prevention Week every year.

Happy Holidays from RJ Westmore!

Immune Systems are taxed by too many activities. Get some rest so you will stay healthy.

Juices from uncooked foods can be contaminated. Keep a clean kitchen for happy and healthy guests.

Kitchen fires are prevalent during the holidays… the source of 40% of all house fires.

Lights on the tree should be checked for cracked wires. Also, connect no more than three strands together.

Make me a sandwich. Don’t be stingy on the salami.

New toys should be carefully checked for safety and age-appropriateness.

Overloading electrical circuits can spark fires. Do your Christmas lights have to be visible from space?

Power lines should be avoided when hanging outdoor lights. Also, for outdoor light safety, use a fiberglass or wooded ladder. I’m glad we aren’t too good on ladders. You should see what you people look like up there.

Quit smoking for your own health and to reduce the risk of fire.

Remove lights or electrical decorations when they flicker or show other signs of wear.

Smokers should stay outside in designated areas. (See Q for another smoking-safety tip.)

Test smoke alarms.

Unplug Christmas lights when you are changing broken bulbs.

Viruses like the common cold love holiday’s parties! Consider distributing hand sanitizer as a party favor. Or a chicken leg…whichever you prefer.

Walk your dog four times a day. A good brisk 4-5 mile walk helps keep your pooch trim and happy! You can’t walk a marathon every day? I can do one in an hour!

Xeriscaping your yard this winter can help lower your risk for fire next summer.

Your business needs an evacuation plan, especially if you will be hosting a massive holiday party.

Zero water means a dry tree. Don’t be stingy with the H2O.

Remember, you can have fun and be safe at the same time! Follow holidays safety tips to ensure your family and coworkers have a fun and safe holiday’s season! And whatever you do, don’t take a family holiday’s photo and dress up Baxter in a Santa suit. I’m sure that is tantamount to animal cruelty!

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 for more information and remember to BE SAFE.

Posted in Disaster Preparedness, Emergency Evacuations, Health & Welfare, Uncategorized

Terrible Twisters

Prepare so tornadoes don't take you unaware.

Few events put the power of nature on display like tornadoes. With the recent destructive tornadoes in the Midwest and South, it’s timely for all property owners to review tornado safety.

Unlike hurricanes, tornadoes appear quickly and do not follow any forecast-ed paths. Panic and confusion among tenants can set in unless prior planning and procedures have been established. Tornadoes are unlike other emergencies such as fires because tenants need to stay in the building during the emergency, and actually use the building for protection. My friend Scruffy says that his steel-reinforced doghouse is a good tornado shelter. I told him unless he plans to reenact The Wizard of Oz; he should probably go somewhere else…

Preparations Before a Storm Occurs

“Warning” or “Watch:” The first alert regarding tornadoes is a “tornado watch,” which simply means the conditions are right for tornadoes to form. A “tornado warning” means that a twister has either touched down or been spotted on meteorological radar. I’m waiting for a “bacon storm” to show up on radar one day, although that might just be an urban legend.

Warning System

  • Consider installing a warning system that works in conjunction with fire alarms. Make sure that tenants can easily identify the two types of warnings, so they can plan properly. Remember that outside sirens are not intended to be heard indoors. We pooches can hear them, but we don’t know how to tell you people to take cover!
  • Establish tracking and warning procedures so tenants have enough time to properly prepare for storms.

Physical Improvements

  • Shatter resistant glass, made of Plexiglass or acrylic substances, can greatly reduce the risk of flying debris including broken glass. This is especially important when tornadoes strike unexpectedly and tenants do not have time to move to the interior of the building.
  • Designate a building area as a tornado shelter. Make sure the area is large enough to accommodate all tenants including any pets. FEMA has guidelines on how to select the area in a building that is best suited for a shelter. If possible, investigate ways to reinforce the area through structural improvements, making sure to minimize the amount of materials/projectiles that are in the area.

During the Storm

Personal Safety and Evacuation:

  • Tenants should move away from windows and proceed to the interior of the building, moving to the lowest floors possible.
  • Instruct tenants to use stairs, as power to the elevators will very likely be out.
  • Tenants should be advised to cover their heads at all times in order to prevent injury from falling objects. I can’t really do this while trotting. Maybe someone could get me a hardhat?
  • Establishing safety procedures for employees who are physically disabled will save valuable time.


  • Tornadoes form around severe thunderstorms, which lead to lightning! If time permits, tenants should unplug sensitive computer and television equipment to prevent the risk of fire.

After the Storm

  • Listen to a NOAA weather radio or check websites to be sure there are no longer tornadoes or severe thunderstorms in the area. Remember you may be safer in a slightly damaged building than risking exposure to lightning!
  • Tenants should evacuate the building according to the designated evacuation plan.
  • Once outside, everyone should pay special attention to downed power lines and other dangerous debris.

For tornadoes and other emergencies, I always say that preparation is the first step toward ensuring tenant safety. Even though I try to lighten up my blog with jokes, I’m always serious about the need for planning for emergencies. Remember that proper respect for the power of nature can save lives.

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 for more information and remember to BE SAFE.