Posted in Building Evacuation, Disaster Preparedness, Emergency Evacuations, Fire Safety, Fires, Version 2.0

Practice Makes Safety

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

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

Why do you need fire drills in your building?

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

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

Tips for performing fire drills:

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

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

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

When a disaster strikes, prior planning and clear decisive action can help save lives.  For the latest emergency management training for facility/building managers, contact RJ Westmore, Inc. Our new Version 2.0 e-based training system offers the best emergency training system with automated and integrated features. Visit RJWestmore.com for more information and remember to BE SAFE.

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

Floor Warden Fire Dog Facts

Floor Wardens help during emergency evacuations

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

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

Typical Duties of Floor Wardens:

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

Floor Warden Training:

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

Benefits of the RJ Westmore Training System:

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

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

For the latest emergency management training for facility/building managers, contact RJ Westmore, Inc. Our e-based system offers the best emergency training available, with automated and integrated features. RJ Westmore, Inc. is a member of the U.S. Green Building Council, a non-profit trade organization that promotes sustainability in how buildings are designed, built and operated. Visit RJWestmore.com for more information and remember to BE SAFE.

Posted in Building Evacuation, Disaster Preparedness, Earthquakes, Emergency Evacuations, Fire Life Safety Training, Fire Safety, Health & Welfare, Uncategorized, Version 2.0

The Power of Knowing Where to Go

New Mapping Features Aid RJ Westmore Clients

As the leader in emergency management training solutions, RJ Westmore, Inc. is continually improving its award-winning product. We have just introduced a new feature to our comprehensive program that assists emergency responders and improves tenant safety.

The integrated training system offers a dynamic home page for every commercial property owner who uses our product. The home page details important information for each property including:

  1. Required online courses to be completed
  2. Floor Warden reports
  3. Additional safety contact information
  4. Location of all nearby pet stores and dog parks (Well, at least I think that feature should be included.)

The latest feature on the building home page is our “View Map” link, which provides emergency responders with multiple views of an individual property and the surrounding area. The maps, of course, provide driving directions to the building. But, more importantly, they provide access to Google Earth 3-D views of the surrounding area. I could spend hours looking at Google Earth. Just last week I visited a jerky factory in Alabama and a tennis ball manufacturer in Guam, all from the comfort of my own doghouse!

Such detail prevents emergency responders from “flying blind” in emergencies. While en route, they will be able to assess the building’s best access points, so they won’t lose valuable time once they arrive. Access to real-time map information can also aid in running emergency drills. My version of an emergency drill includes a tree full of squirrels and…Never mind.

“View Map” Feature Available for Every Building

Emergency Personnel Have Access to 3D Maps While En Route

3-D View helps responders determine ideal tactics for dealing with emergencies and gives a sense of scale for the building and any surrounding structures. I have dreams for a 3-D model of my family’s new dog house. I envision multiple levels with flat screens, all tuned to “Animal Planet.”

This new map features is a perfect complement to other fire department integration features of Version 2.0 of our comprehensive safety training program.

  • Fire Departments have access to the RJ Westmore System clients in their particular city, viewable through an easy-to-navigate home page.
  • Department managers can monitor individual building testing and training of Floor Wardens and Fire Safety Directors.
  • I’m sure every firehouse dog peeks at the screen and barks his or her approval!

Additional Newer Features of Version 2.0

Real-time reporting with just one click:

  • Identify tenants who need special assistance in emergencies

Automated features:

  • The system automatically creates and sends certificates to each user
  • Annual reminders are sent to each user to ensure ongoing training compliance and optimal tenant safety

Improved confidentiality and system control:

  • Controlled information distribution, with multiple tiers of system access

The integrated map feature is the latest example of how the RJ Westmore Training System was built with dynamic flexibility. Online and integrated tools that bring together fire departments, facility management, and other entities, allow us to continually improve our system to meet tenants’ and property manager and owner needs. Now if only tenants would install doggie doors and tummy-rubbing stations, we’d be all set.

For the latest emergency management training for facility/building managers, contact the smart people over at RJ Westmore, Inc. Their e-based system offers the best emergency training available, with automated and integrated features. RJ Westmore, Inc. is a member of the U.S. Green Building Council, a non-profit trade organization that promotes sustainability in how buildings are designed, built and operated. Visit RJWestmore.com for more information and remember to BE SAFE.