Posted in BE SAFE, Disaster Preparedness, Health & Welfare, Hurricanes, Travel, Tsunamis, Uncategorized, Winter Weather Hazards

Are you prepared to survive outdoors in the elements?

feet poking out of a pup tent, under the sun and a small tree
Outdoor Survival: Are You prepared?

 

While we typically discuss disasters as they relate to office buildings and other structures, our lessons about emergency preparedness also apply to survival outside.

Today we tackle some basic winter survival skills to help you prepare for unexpected winter weather whether you are trapped in your car or if you get lost while you’re hiking. Recent severe snowstorms on the East Coast tested both emergency responders and numerous individuals who were affected by the stormy conditions.

Motorists in New Jersey were stranded for some 30 hours—stuck in their cars, surviving on snack food like beef jerky and crackers. That really doesn’t sound so bad to me. But that’s beside the point. Some of the storm victims used common sense, which is vital when trapped in the elements (not to mention in other circumstances, as well). These wise folks conserved fuel resources when running the car’s heater and, above all, they didn’t panic. I reserve panic for real emergencies, like when “Lassie” reruns were taken off of the air.

Here are safety tips to remember if you are stuck in your vehicle in the elements:

  • Before any emergency, take steps so you are prepared. Make sure your car is packed with reflective blankets, extra hats and gloves, a small shovel, food and water and flares or other signaling device.
  • Keep your gas tank full. You will need gas to run the heater (or the air conditioner, if you’re stuck in the desert). Experts recommend running the heat for 10 minutes every hour. That is a similar timeframe to my eating schedule. Every hour, I like to munch for at least 10 minutes. It keeps my metabolism going!
  • Stay in your car! Unless you can clearly see rescuers or a better alternative for shelter, staying in the security of your car is the best option. This is particularly important if you are stranded on a busy roadway or have limited visibility. While your first impulse might be to abandon your vehicle and search for shelter, you risk being hit by other cars on a highway or freezing to death in winter or getting heat stroke in summer if you walk, unprotected, in the elements. So stay with your vehicle.
  • Don’t drink alcohol to warm up. Although that big St. Bernard with a barrel flask is a lovable pooch, you are better off asking him to bring Gatorade instead of liquor. Ignore those who recommend taking a sip of brandy to knock off the chill. Blood rises to the surface of the skin when you drink, which causes rapid heat loss. Also especially important in an emergency situation—you don’t want to risk impairing your judgment.
  • Watch out for carbon monoxide poisoning. In big snow drifts, it’s likely your car’s tailpipe may be covered with snow. Crack the window when running the heat and use a shovel or other tool to clear some space for exhaust to escape.

If you are out in the elements when a storm breaks, you might get stuck in the snow. If so, take these basic steps to ensure your survival:

  • If you are going for a hike or cross country skiing, tell people where you are going and when you will be back. Search teams won’t come looking if they don’t know you are lost.
  • Make sure you know how to start a fire. Simply carrying a box of matches on your hike won’t help if you get stuck in the rain. Even waterproof matches can fail. Although dogs are very handy to have around, we aren’t much help starting fires. So bring alternative fire-making sources such as magnesium fire starters to create sparks.
  • Staying dry and warm are essentials, regardless of weather. Wear more layers than you think is necessary. This way, you will be able to remove unnecessary layers. Use the three-layer system to stay warm and toasty. Even though I have fur, I still get chilly when wet. So you might consider buying one of those nifty doggie raincoats, as well.
  • Shelter in place. Build a debris hut. When you are certain you are far from traffic, find a pole or log about one and a half times your own height. Prop it about three to four feet up with a boulder or stump. Then, take smaller branches and lay them diagonally on the main beam. Place leaves, grass or any other debris in between the branches and put at least one foot of similar material inside the hut. It might not win any design awards. But it will keep you relatively warm and dry. Man’s best friend can definitely help gathering sticks for the hut!

Unlike disasters such as earthquakes or hurricanes, getting caught out in winter weather is largely avoidable. If there is a blizzard outside, you probably don’t have any urgent need to be in the car. Paying an extra $1 to return that Red Box movie isn’t going to hurt you! And you can probably skip our afternoon walk. We would rather stay inside by the fireplace. If you are skiing or backcountry-hiking, use a portable radio to stay informed. Consider joining an outdoor survival school to learn the latest techniques for safety.  As always, staying safe comes down to advanced preparation and cool-headed thinking during an emergency.

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, Earthquakes, Uncategorized

Shake, Rattle, and….Prepare?

Are you prepared for earthquakes?

The theme of many of our blogs is: “Are you prepared?” The reason for our keen focus on preparation is because history has shown us that the unpredictable will happen, and it probably won’t come with much advance warning. All we can do is prepare and plan. Proper planning before an earthquake can result in dramatic prevention of loss of life or property.

The Great California ShakeOut is an annual event that promotes earthquake preparedness for Californians. This year’s event is scheduled for October 21st, at 10:21 a.m. However, business and homeowners are encouraged to schedule events of their own, if timing of the official event is inconvenient.

So far, 6.5 million people and counting have registered to participate in this month’s ShakeOut. And there is still time to sign up. Encourage your team members and tenants to register and support this important event. The event is sharable via Facebook and Twitter, so encourage other business owners or managers to participate.

The scenarios and drills used in the ShakeOut are based on data from a hypothetical 7.8 magnitude quake on the San Andreas Fault. Results of the scenario are available in both a 24-page version and the full scientific 312-page version, courtesy of the USGS. You very likely won’t have time to read all 312 pages. But there is still much to glean from the main points of the exercise.

A free ShakeOut manual for business owners and managers provides suggestions for conducting drills to practice earthquake preparedness:

  • Drills cover, “Drop, Cover, and Hold On,” and other training that tenants can utilize in order to stay safe during a shaker.
  • The manual encourages actual interaction and discussion between tenants and drill organizers. Try to get people who actually work in the building to talk about earthquake safety. You might try to get some suggestions for improving evacuation routes or supplementing a shortage of emergency kits.
  • Go viral! Owners can share photos and stories from this year’s drill at www.ShakeOut.org
  • Advanced drills are detailed, including a “Business Operations Simulation Drill,” which can test your company’s ability to manage a disaster. The drill asks businesses to learn through simulations that involve problems such as loss of electricity, lack of cell phone service, or blocked emergency exits. Advanced drills are intended to mirror real earthquake emergencies.

Another component to the ShakeOut is “Secure Your Space.” This initiative covers not only how unsecured filing cabinets and picture frames can turn into hazards, but also why it’s necessary to retrofit buildings and adhere to proper codes

Similar to our last blog, which covered “Fire Prevention Week”, this post about the Great Shakeout is a good opportunity to raise immediate awareness about the subject. But real safety preparedness and planning involves more than information that can be covered in a single day. It’s great to promote awareness initiatives like the Shakeout to increase tenants’ exposure to safety issues, but be sure to have frequent refresher sessions and reminders about lessons learned. Knowledge about safety is useless it’s put into practice. So make sure proper procedures are followed.

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, Fire Life Safety Training, Fire Safety, Fires, Health & Welfare, Uncategorized, Version 2.0

Fire Safety: A to Z

A to Z in Fire Safety

For the final post in our series about fire safety, we would like to recap the top 26 tips for preventing and responding to fires at home and work, as well as a myriad of reasons for signing up for The RJWestmore Safety Training System.

A~A to D Fire Extinguishers

(With so many fire extinguishers to choose from, selecting the proper one for use at your home and in the office can be a daunting task. Since use of the wrong type of fire can actually cause the fire to spread, pay careful attention to the difference.)

A-Rated Extinguishers– extinguish ordinary combustible materials such as paper, wood, cardboard, and most plastics. The numerical rating on these indicates the amount of water they will hold and the amount of fire they are capable of extinguishing. I lobbied to include Alpo, bones, chow and dog food for the first four letters of this series. But I wasn’t able to come up with a way that my number one interests help in fire preparation and prevention.

B-Rated Extinguishers– battle flammable or combustible liquids such as gasoline, kerosene, grease and oil. The numerical rating for this class indicates the approximate number of square feet of fire they can extinguish.

C-Rated Extinguishers– fight fires caused by electrical equipment, appliances, wiring, circuit breakers and outlets. Never use water to extinguish class C fires. The risk of electrical shock is far too great! Class C extinguishers do not have a numerical rating. The C classification means the extinguishing agent is non-conductive.

D-Rated Extinguishers– are most commonly used in chemical laboratories. They are for fires that involve combustible metals, such as magnesium, titanium, potassium and sodium. These extinguishers do not feature numerical ratings or multi-purpose ratings. Instead, they are designed for class D fires only.

Emergency Evacuation Plan If fire extinguishers are required or provided in your workplace, and if anyone will be evacuating during a fire or other emergency, then OSHA’s 29 CFR 1910.157 requires you to have an EAP. My own EAP includes barking like crazy until my wife and JR evacuate our dog house.

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.

Gas Appliance fires lead to the deaths of 14 people annually, who succumb to carbon monoxide poisoning. These deaths are caused by gas appliances and flues which have not been properly installed or maintained. Make sure your gas-powered appliances are in good working-condition.

High-Quality Animation keeps clients engaged. To ensure the highest rate of retention possible, RJWestmore Inc. hired former Disney, DreamWorks, and Warner Bros. artists to create engaging animated e-tutorials. I have these artists to thank for translating my likeness to 2-D. Talented designers they are!

Integrated System-A fully-integrated system, the RJWestmore Training System allows property management companies to manage one site or an entire portfolio, with all users in the same system.

Join the US Green Building Council which is a non-profit community of leaders working to make green buildings available to everyone within a generation. RJWestmore, Inc. is a proud member of the USGBC. Reducing needless waste lessens the risk of e-related fire.

K-Rated Fire Extinguishers are manufactured to battle fires that involve vegetable oils, animal oils, or fats in cooking appliances. This is for commercial kitchens, including those found in restaurants, cafeterias and catering locations. This should not be confused with K-L Ration, another important K-item.

Landfill fires are on the rise. The EPA says that as we become more dependent on electronic products to make life more convenient, the stockpile of used, obsolete products continues to grow. To help prevent this type of fire risk, dispose of e-waste responsibly.

Make sure your tenants know evacuation routes. The best way to do this is to conduct regular drills.

NFPA National Fire Protection Association endeavors to reduce the worldwide burden of fire and other hazards on the quality of life by providing and advocating consensus codes and standards, research, training and education.

Our interactive, building-specific e-learning training system motivates and rewards tenants instantly! It’s a convenient and affordable solution to all of the training needs of your building(s).

Post Evacuation Routes clearly, so locations become second nature during actual emergencies. You might also consider hanging wanted posters of Morton, the spokes-cat for 9 Lives. Just a suggestion…

Quiz your tenants, employees and family members regularly to make sure they remember safe evacuation routes and emergency procedures.

Reduce, reuse and recycle. Encourage tenants to delay purchasing new equipment when current electronics work properly. Reusing toner cartridges and cell phones puts less of a strain on natural resources. My suggestion for reducing pet food waste is to share whatever it is you’re eating. Why bother with bagged dog food when steak and potatoes will do?

Slightest Spark can start a devastating fire; so proper handling and use as well as proper storage of volatile materials are essential.

Tenant Safety is of paramount importance to property owners and managers. With our system, you can train occupants, floor wardens, and fire safety directors how to respond in emergencies. All user-training and testing is recorded and available for review at your convenience.

Up to Code– Federal, state, and local laws require annual training for every commercial building occupant. However, studies show that less than 20% of occupants have ever trained or know what to do in an emergency. That means 80% of your occupants are at risk and could represent a liability to themselves and you.

View Map Link– RJWestmore Inc. clients have access to multiple views of individual properties and the surrounding areas in our Version 2.0 system. The maps not only provide driving directions to the building. But, more importantly, they provide access to Google Earth 3-D views of the surrounding area. Such detail prevents emergency responders from “flying blind” in an emergency. I’ve tried to find the firehouse on Google Maps. But my nails get stuck in the computer keyboard.

Watch for fire risks. A fire watch ensures the fire-safety of a building or area in the event of any act, e.g., hot work, or situation instigating an increased risk to persons or property.

Xeric conditions pose greater risk of fire. Make sure dry landscaping around buildings is watered on a regular basis.

You can train occupants, floor wardens, and fire safety directors with our system. All user-training and testing is recorded. Get quick access to building specific Emergency Responder information and other resources.

Zealously guard your property to ensure fire safety strategies are observed. At RJWestmore, Inc., our mission is to create a safer, more informed occupant who understands their responsibilities and may be capable of helping others.

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. Check back next week, when we will begin a series about hurricane safety and preparation. In the meantime, 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.

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

Announcing Version 2.0 of the RJ Westmore Training System

Version 2.0 is available to RJ Wesmore clients at no additional charge.

The new RJ Westmore Training System is here! Version 2.0 is packed great features which include even more integration and automation that brings together property/ facility managers, fire safety directors , floor wardens, occupants and local fire departments. (Now, if only it came with some rawhide bones and chew toys…)

Version 2.0 Features:

  • Real-time reporting with just one click—
    • Identify tenants that need special assistance to evacuate in the case of emergency
    • Have ready access to lists of primary and alternate floor wardens organized by floor
    • Building-specific information is ready available to building management as well as local fire departments
      • Automatic email notification to property management and the fire safety director each time either the special assistance or floor warden list is updated by users.
  • Improved Fire Department access—
    • Access to all RJ Westmore Online Training System companies in the city through one home page (This is my favorite features because I love keeping all of the other Dalmatians informed!)
    • Monitoring of individual building testing and training for all building occupants, including floor wardens and fire safety directors
    • Fire Department approved across the United States and compliant with FDNY LL26, LAFD 57.33.19, as well as Federal OSHA and individual State fire codes.
  • Automated features—
    • Automatically creates and sends certificates of completion to each user
    • Sends employee compliance reports for each tenant
    • Sends annual renewal reminders to each user (I usually just bark loudly when I want to send out a reminder.)
  • Improved confidentiality and system control—
    • Controls information distribution with multiple tiers of system access
    • Grants access to confidential info such as maps and emergency plans

The RJ Westmore Inc. Safety Training System Version 2.0 gives building owners a complete picture of their emergency preparedness. We map out your exterior refuge map with a satellite picture of your building. We map out the lobby of your building and work out the best exit routes. Elevator banks and stairwells are graphed, to show a comprehensive picture of accessibility and egress.

More info about the Version 2.0 rollout

  • 30-day implementation with a simple monthly fee
  • All updates, training, and other resources are provided at no additional charge
  • Training and procedures are available for any kind of disaster, whether it be manmade or natural

If you own or manage a building, or know someone who does, do them a favor. Let them know about the RJWestmore Training System. Choosing our service provides a value added tenant service that limits property management and individual tenant liability. Furthermore, it cuts property management training related workloads by 90% and saves users over 50% compared to conventional training! More importantly, it saves lives. BE SAFE.