Posted in Disaster Preparedness, Workplace Safety

Never Forget 9/11

9/11 Memorial at World Trade Center Ground ZeroWhat is Patriot Day? 

On September 11, 2001, four planes were hijacked by terrorists who deliberately flew three of the planes into the Pentagon in Washington D.C. and both of the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City. The fourth plane crashed into a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. The loss of life and damage that these hijackings caused remain the largest act of terrorism ever committed on United States’ soil.

Patriot Day is not to be confused with Patriot’s Day, which commemorates two of the earliest battles in the American Revolutionary War (Lexington and Concord in 1775). In observance of 9/11/2001, when nearly 3,000 people died (including 227 civilians and 19 hijackers aboard four planes and three emergency responders), we mark each September 11 as Patriot Day. Since Patriot Day is not a federal holiday, schools and businesses do not close and public transit systems run on their regular schedules. But many national observances are made:

  • Flags are prominently displayed outside American homes, inside the White House and on all United States government buildings in the world. Some flags are flown at half-mast as a mark of respect to those who died.
  • A moment of silence is often observed at 8:46 AM (Eastern Daylight Time). This marks the time that the first plane flew into the World Trade Center.
  • Some communities, particularly in the areas directly affected by the attacks, hold special church services or prayer meetings.
  • People who personally experienced the events in 2001 or lost loved ones, may lay flowers or visit memorials.

911 2014To commemorate Patriot Day, we at the RJWestmore Training System by Universal Fire/Life Safety Services would like to call attention to just 10 of the myriad lessons learned from the events of 9/11:

  1. Terrorism Hits Close to Home.Before 9/11, Americans tended to feel secure at home. September 11 made us realize that terror is next door instead of on the other side of the world.
  2. Heroes are everywhere.As a nation, we are at our best when times are at their worst.
  3. Don’t Judge a Book by its cover.Terrorism has many faces. So it is important to avoid judging people based on their race, religion, sex, or age.
  4. Air travel is integral to our way of life.When air travel completely ceased the week after 9/11, our entire country was at a standstill. We now realize how crucially important air travel is to our way of life and how important it is to safeguard the entire process.
  5. America remains vulnerable. Terrorism is a post 9/11-fact-of-life. As a nation, we were previously mostly aware of terrorist activities in foreign lands but did not expect them at home. Although security is tight and our defenses are up, we remain at risk.
  6. We can’t let the terrorists win.Although it might be tempting to hide and alter our lives greatly because of the fear generated by the 9/11 attacks, doing so would only help terrorists accomplish their goals. Our way of life is worth preserving and protecting.
  7. We each need to do our part.Never leave your bags unattended when you’re in a public location. Be aware of your surroundings. Speak up if you witness anything suspicious.
  8. Training is important. DHS has developed a variety of infrastructure protection training and educational tools for partners at the state and local level. Since 9/11, in total, more than 35,000 partners have taken risk mitigation training on a range of topics.
  9. Our resolve remains strong. As a result of 9/11, in many ways, we are stronger than we were before the attacks.

  10. Preparation is imperative. The best way to handle a disaster of any kind is to prepare long before it strikes. Our system is designed to provide online life safety training because it guarantees time efficiency, offers inexpensive rates, and helps bring your buildings up to code.

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.

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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.