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Quit Smoking to Be Safe

Tuesday, March 29th, 2016

Hand crushing cigarettesThe CDC announced this week that, over the past three years, 1.8 million Americans were inspired to try to quit smoking and 104,000 have given up the dangerous habit for good, thanks — at least in part — to an aggressive national campaign initiated in 2014. The educational, non-smoking crusade included public service announcements and ads that shared “Tips from Former Smokers.”  Survey results were published on March 24, 2016 in the journal, Preventing Chronic Disease.

The compelling ads featured various ways that people struggle with smoking-related health issues:

  • CancerCancer syringe concept
  • Gum disease
  • Premature birth
  • Stroke caused by smoking combined with HIV.

About 80 percent of U.S. adult cigarette smokers who were surveyed reported that they had seen at least one television ad during the campaign. Tips was the first federally funded anti-smoking media campaign, and is widely considered well worth the investment, since smoking-related diseases cost the United States more than $300 billion each year, including nearly $170 billion in direct health care costs and more than $156 billion in lost productivity.

“The Tips’ campaign is an important counter measure to the one million dollars that the tobacco industry spends each hour on cigarette advertising and promotion,” said Corinne Graffunder, Dr.P.H., director of the CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health. “The money spent in one year on Tips is less than the amount the tobacco industry spends on advertising and promotion in just three days.”

The most recent Surgeon General’s Report, The Health Consequences of Smoking—50 Years of Progress revealed that cigarette smoking is the leading preventable cause of disease and death in the United States, killing about 480,000 Americans each year.man smoking dangerous cigarette with toxic skull smoke

For every American who dies from a smoking-related disease, about 30 more suffer at least one serious illness associated with first or secondhand smoke. And while the percentage of American adults who smoke is at the lowest level since the CDC began tracking such data, there are still an estimated 40 million adult smokers in the U.S.

Quitting smoking lowers the risk of diabetes, lets blood vessels work better, and helps the heart and lungs. Since life expectancy for smokers is at least 10 years shorter than that of non-smokers, quitting smoking before the age of 40 reduces the risk of dying from smoking-related disease by about 90%. Likely for these reasons, surveys show that 70 percent of all smokers have the desire to quit.Quit Smoking!

The American Cancer Society reports that quitting completely at any age has significant health and lifestyle benefits:

  1. Within minutes of smoking the last cigarette, the body begins to recover:
  • 20 minutes after quitting, heart rate and blood pressure drop.
  • 12 hours after quitting, carbon monoxide levels in blood drop to normal.
  1. Two weeks to three months after quitting, circulation improves and lung function increases.
  • Cilia start to regain normal function in the lungs, increasing their ability to handle mucus, clean the lungs, and reduce the risk of infection.
  1. Almost immediately after quitting:Sign "No Smoking" on a piece of old canvas
  • Food tastes better.
  • Sense of smell returns to normal.
  • Breath, hair, and clothes smell better.
  • Teeth and fingernails stop yellowing.
  • Ordinary activities leave non-smokers less out of breath than their smoking peers.
  • Minimizes the damaging effects of tobacco on appearance, including premature wrinkling of skin, gum disease, and tooth loss.
  1. One to nine months after quitting, coughing and shortness of breath decrease.
  2. One year after quitting, the excess risk of coronary heart disease is half that of a continuing smoker’s.

Heart attack risk drops dramatically.

  1. Five years after quitting, the risk of cancers of the mouth, throat, esophagus, and bladder are cut in half.
  • Cervical cancer risk falls to that of a non-smoker.
  • Stroke risk can fall to that of a non-smoker after two to five years
  1. 10 years after quitting, the risk of dying from lung cancer is about half that of a person who is still smoking.

The risk of cancer of the larynx (voice box) and pancreas decreases.

  1. 15 years after quitting, the risk of coronary heart disease is that of a non-smoker’s.

If you smoke and would like to quit, call 1-800-QUIT-NOW or visit www.cdc.gov/tips to view personal stories from the Tips’ campaign as well as detailed assistance developed by the National Cancer Institute to support smokers who are trying to quit.

Remember that safety is a daily priority. So be sure to think about ways to #BeSafe all of the time, not just where smoking is concerned. A convenient and affordable way to make sure you are prepared for disasters and emergencies of virtually every kind is to subscribe to the Allied Universal Training System by Universal Fire/Life Safety Services, which has been designed to help improve and save lives. For more information about the best system out there, or to subscribe, click here.

Men’s Health Month

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2015

portrait of doctor in white coat and stethoscope Each June, you likely celebrate Father’s Day with relatives and friends. But did you know that June is also the time to officially focus on men’s health? Men’sHealthMonth.org reports that:

“The purpose of the (annual campaign) is to heighten the awareness of preventable health problems and encourage early detection and treatment of disease among men and boys.” What’s more, “The month-long celebration gives health care providers, public policy makers, the media, and individuals an opportunity to encourage men and boys to seek regular medical advice and early treatment for disease and injury.”

Top 10 health risks for men:

  1. Heart Disease –The American Heart Association says that more than one in three adult men has some form of cardiovascular disease.And, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), heart disease is the leading cause of death for men in the United States, killing 307,225 men in 2009 (which is one in every four adult male deaths).homme d'age mur entrain de courir en bord de mer
  2. Cancer (Malignant Neoplasms) – The American Cancer Society reports that the types of cancer affecting men are cancers of the prostate, colon, lung and skin.
  3. Stroke (Cerebral Diseases) – Although strokes are more likely to occur in men over age 65, they can happen at any age. And strokes are more likely to be fatal and strike earlier in men than in women.
  4. Injuries (Unintentional Accidents) – Men and women are more likely to encounter everyday accidents that lead to death than something catastrophic, which we covered in last week’s blog post about National Safety Month. Since 49.1 percent of the U.S. population is made up of men, it stands to reason they should take steps to avoid injury and #BeSafe.
  5. Chronic Lower Respiratory Diseases – The causes of the chronic respiratory diseases are well known: tobacco use, unhealthy diet, physical inactivity, pollution, allergens, occupational agents, age and hereditary. While not all are preventable, men and women should take steps to rectify those that are.
  6. Blood Sugar Abnormalities (Diabetes) – The American Diabetes Association says that the fear of receiving bad news is the number one reason men don’t typically talk about or take better care of their health. If you are a man, take heed, or if you love one, encourage him to visit his doctor since many diseases, including Diabetes, need not be fatal, if caught and treated early on.
  7. Influenza & Pneumonia – Influenza and Pneumonia are a leading cause of death in the U.S., although both could easily be prevented by a vaccination, say officials from the American Lung Association.
  8. Suicide (Intentional Self-Harm) – The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention reports that, for many years, the suicide rate has been about four times higher among men than among women. If you know someone who needs assistance, connect him with a support network, such as the National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255.

  9. Chronic Liver Disease (Cirrhosis) – A doctor’s appointment is immediately necessary for anyone who has persistent signs or symptoms that could be related to liver disease. See a complete list of symptoms on the Mayo Clinic Liver Disease webpage.
  10. Kidney Disease (Nephritis) – The National Kidney Disease Foundation reports that more than 26 million American adults are living with kidney disease. Further, most don’t know they are affected. To see a comprehensive list of warning signs, visit the National Kidney Foundation website.

For more information about men’s health, check out the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website. We hope that this blog post will motivate you to do whatever it takes to #BeSafe. A convenient and affordable way to make sure you are prepared for disasters and emergencies of virtually every kind is to subscribe to the Allied Universal Training System by Universal Fire/Life Safety Services, which has been designed to help improve and save lives.

Visit rjwestmore.com to read about the many ways proper planning can make a difference in numerous aspects of your professional and personal life.

March is National Nutrition Month

Tuesday, March 10th, 2015

nutrition fitnessIn our ongoing effort to encourage subscribers and friends to be safe and healthy, we want to call attention to an important way to #BeSafe – through healthy nutrition. What better time to cover the topic than in March, which is National Nutrition Month? With the campaign slogan, “Take a bite out of a healthy lifestyle,” National Nutrition Month is a nutrition education and information program spearheaded annually by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

According to NationalNutritionMonth.org, the campaign focuses on “encouraging people to make sound eating and physical activity habits, which include consuming fewer calories, making informed food choices and getting daily exercise in order to achieve and maintain a healthy weight, reduce the risk of chronic disease and promote overall health.”

In recent years, health crises relative to lifestyles in the United States have reached epidemic proportions. Here are a handful of examples:

  • The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) report the leading cause of death in the nation is heart disease. In fact, about 610,000 people die of heart disease in the United States every year–which is one in every four deaths. Most experts agree that the majority of heart problems stem from physical inactivity and poor nutrition.
  • More than one third of adult Americans are obese. Some economists estimate that obesity related costs account for more than 20 percent of total U.S. Healthcare expenditures and lead to dozens of serious, associated health problems.
  • Cancer continues to exact a heavy toll on Americans, causing in excess of 600,000 deaths annually. Understandably, the disease ranks highly among health challenges that face the U.S. Although cancer is not entirely attributable to lifestyle choices, there is evidence to support the reduced risk of certain types of cancer with healthy lifestyle choices—such as not smoking, eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly and getting a good night’s sleep.
  • Sometimes related to obesity, but certainly not exclusively attributable to it, diabetes currently affects 25 million diagnosed Americans (and likely millions more, who have yet to be diagnosed). A group of diseases marked by high levels of blood glucose resulting from defects in insulin production, insulin action, or both, diabetes can lead to serious complications and premature death. Fortunately, people with diabetes can take steps to control the disease and lower the risk of complications through several means, including (but not limited) to lifestyle choices.

food_&_nutritionFew would argue that it’s wise to make healthy choices. But just what should those choices be? After all; there are virtually limitless opinions on the subject…many of which are contradictory. While some experts recommend whole grains and low fat dairy, others insist the answer lies in following a grain/dairy and legume-free Paleo diet or nearly the opposite – a meat-free and grain and legume-heavy Vegan diet.

And while some fitness gurus suggest running as the ticket to stay fit, others say that running is tantamount to suicide and that, instead, a mere 20 minutes of modest cardio a day will do the trick. With all of the conflicting information, no wonder so many decide to chuck it all and stay home watching TV and ordering a pizza! But just that sort of reaction is the root of our national problem.

So what is the answer? While this is not the definitive list, the following five suggestions should help get you on the right track. Little changes over time will result in big results. So use the month of March to get healthy!

  1. Stretch. Newton’s Law of Inertia still applies. Objects at rest stay at rest, while objects in motion stay in motion. So move your body.
  2. Move more. Once you have started to get your blood flowing on a regular basis, challenge yourself by introducing some basic exercise routines or lifting modest weights. If you are new to exercise, take advantage of introductory free trials at nearby gyms, which usually offer free fitness assessments. If your budget can’t handle gym fees, start by walking around your neighborhood, gradually increasing the duration and speed until you are taking 10,000 steps a day. Pedometers, which count steps, are inexpensive and readily available.
  3. Eat right. Trying to make your diet healthy overnight isn’t realistic or smart. Changing everything at once usually leads to cheating or giving up on your new eating plan. Make small steps, like adding a salad (full of several vegetables) to your diet once a day or switching from butter to olive oil when cooking. As your small changes become a habit, you can continue to add more healthy choices to your diet.
  4. Drink plenty of water. Kaiser Permanente nephrologist Steven Guest, MD, explains why: “Fluid losses occur continuously, from skin evaporation, breathing, urine and stool, and these losses must be replaced daily for good health.”

    nutrition 4

  5. Limit sugar and salt intake. While the debate rages about whether it is healthier to eat lots of animal protein or eliminate that source of food altogether, dieticians and nutritionists agree that sugar causes energy ups and downs and can add to health and weight problems. And too much salt can cause high blood pressure and lead to other health problems. So consume sugar and salt in moderation.

We hope that this blog post will help you take steps to eat right and be active in order to stay healthy. A convenient and affordable way to make sure you are prepared for disasters and emergencies of virtually every kind is to subscribe to the Allied Universal Training System by Universal Fire/Life Safety Services, which has been designed to help improve and save lives. Visit rjwestmore.com to read about the many ways proper planning can make a difference in numerous aspects of your professional and personal life.

National Health & Fitness Day

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014

Fitness Corp 2National Family Health & Fitness Day USA is an annual event observed the last Saturday of September, to encourage families to deliberately include physical activity in their daily lives. Since this year’s event will take place on Saturday, September 27, we wanted to devote this week’s Allied Universal blog posts to encourage subscribers and friends to develop a fit lifestyle for optimum health and wellness.

One of the goals of the U.S. Surgeon General’s Report on Physical Activity and Health, family fitness is crucial for anyone who wants to do their part to avoid costly and uncomfortable health crises. Of course, no course of action can guarantee perfect health. But countless studies confirm that people who exercise on a regular basis are healthier, by far, than their sedentary peers.

According to Health.Gov, regular physical activity reduces the risk of many adverse health outcomes, and additional benefits occur as the amount of physical activity increases through higher intensity, greater frequency, and/or longer duration. The Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion also points out five important facts about physical activity:

  1. Most health benefits occur with at least 150 minutes a week of moderately-intense physical activity, such as brisk walking. Additional benefits occur with more physical activity.
  2. Both aerobic (endurance) and muscle-strengthening (resistance) physical activity are beneficial.
  3. Health benefits occur for children and adolescents, young and middle-aged adults, older adults, and those in every studied racial and ethnic group.
  4. The health benefits of physical activity occur for people with or without disabilities.
  5. The benefits of physical activity far outweigh the possibility of adverse outcomes.

Fitness CorpUnfortunately, despite the fact most people agree that activity is the key to optimum health, the Surgeon General reports that the majority of Americans, and especially young people from 12 to 21, do not exercise nearly enough. In fact, CBS News reported that 80 percent of American adults do not get the recommended amount of exercise each week. Data analyzed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) came from more than 450,000 U.S. adults ages 18 and older who were randomly phoned across all 50 states.

To help correct the trend, Health Information Research Center (HIRC) staff members help local organizations throughout the country host events such as health fairs, family walks, low-impact exercise demonstrations, health screenings, open houses, games and workshops at schools, park districts, hospitals, YMCAs/YWCAs, malls and health clubs. Thousands of adults and children are expected to participate in this year’s health and fitness activities.

“We are now entering our 18th year as a national family health and fitness event,” says Pat Henze, FHFD director. “Our goals for Family Health & Fitness Day are to emphasize the importance and fun of regular physical activity and to encourage families of all ages to take advantage of the many health and fitness programs offered in their communities.”

What Can Adults Do To Get Enough Physical Activity?Fitness Corp 3

When it comes to exercise, remember that every little bit adds up. And doing something is always better than doing nothing. Here are 10 ideas for getting fit:

  1. Choose activities that you enjoy and can do regularly. Fitting activity into a daily routine can be easy — such as taking a brisk 10 minute walk to and from the parking lot, bus stop, or subway station.
  2. Join an exercise class or workout to an exercise video. Keep things interesting by trying something different on alternate days.
  3. Walk up and down the soccer or softball field sidelines while watching the kids play.
  4. Walk the dog — don’t just watch the dog walk.
  5. Clean the house or wash the car.
  6. Walk, skate, or cycle more and drive less.
  7. While watching television, do stretches, exercises, or pedal a stationary bike.
  8. Mow the lawn with an old-fashioned push mower. Increase activity level by planting and caring for a vegetable or flower garden.
  9. Start a walking group in the neighborhood or at the local shopping mall. Recruit a partner for support and encouragement.
  10. Get the whole family involved — enjoy an afternoon bike ride with your kids.

We hope you will observe National Health & Family Fitness Day, so you will avoid the problems so often associated with living a sedentary life. The Allied Universal 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 many aspects of your life.

National Public Health Week

Monday, April 7th, 2014

National Public HealthThe CDC announced that the week of April 7, 2014 is National Public Health Week. During the first full week of April each year since 1995, the American Public Health Association (APHA) brings together communities across the United States to observe National Public Health Week (NPHW), which is a time to recognize the contributions of public health and highlight issues important to improving our nation.

This year, during the annual campaign, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are hoping to inspire everyone to be a: “Public Health Nerds,” who focus on bringing communities together to promote good health.

Each day of the weeklong promotion, the CDC will release a relevant image to represent the daily theme. Monday’s image pays homage to the theme, “Be healthy from the start,” supporting the health benefits of breastfeeding. From maternal health and school nutrition to emergency preparedness, the message is that public health starts at home. Other daily messages will include:

Tuesday: Don’t panic. Disaster preparedness starts with community-wide commitment and action.

Wednesday: Get out ahead. Prevention is now a nationwide priority.

Thursday: Eat well. The system that keeps our nation’s food safe and healthy is complex.

Friday: Be the healthiest nation in one generation. Best practices for community health come from around the globe.

contagian4

The CDC hopes they’ll strike a chord with what they are referring to as their “nerd” campaign, encouraging people to track and participate in the conversation using the hashtag #PHNerd.

“Those of us who work in public health have the shared responsibility of communicating information to save and improve lives of Americans,” said CDC Deputy Director Judith A. Monroe, MD. “CDC’s Public Health Nerd campaign and APHA’s National Public Health Week achieve this objective by increasing awareness about health issues, which helps Americans make informed health care choices.”

Despite the dramatic progress achieved through a century of public health advancements — the elimination of polio, fluoridation of drinking water and seat belt laws — our nation’s health falls far short of its potential:

  • The U.S. life expectancy has reached a record-high of 78, but still ranks 46th behind Japan and most of Europe.
  • A baby born in the U.S. is more likely to die before its first birthday than a child born in almost any other developed country.
  • The U.S. is among the top 10 countries that have the most people with HIV/AIDS, and it is estimated that one in 20 residents in the nation’s capital are HIV-positive.
  • Disparities persist with ethnic minority populations having nearly eight times the death rate for key health conditions, such as diabetes, than that of non-minority populations.

Next year’s public health week will be April 6-12, 2015. But you don’t have to wait for an official marketing campaign to take care of yourself. The good news is that we have the potential to greatly improve our population’s health in the future by adopting these 10 good health habits:

  1. Eat right and drink plenty of water.
  2. Get plenty of sleep.
  3. Move.
  4. Manage stress.
  5. Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  6. If you’re sick, stay home.
  7. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing.
  8. Keep your hands clean.
  9. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth.
  10. Keep your home and workplace safe. Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces, especially when someone is ill.

When a disaster strikes, prior planning and clear decisive action can help save lives. The best way to prepare for disasters of any kind is to be aware. Our system is 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.

February is National Heart Month

Wednesday, February 12th, 2014

Although heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women, it is also preventable and controllable. Since February is American Heart Month, we wanted to join the CDC and the American Heart Association in providing helpful tips for better heart health.

Did you know?

  • Each year, about 715,000 Americans have a heart attack.
  • In the United States, 600,000 people die each year from heart disease, which is one out of every four deaths.
  • Cardiovascular disease, including heart disease and stroke, costs the United States $312.6 billion each year, including the cost of health care services, medications, and lost productivity.
  • Heart disease is the leading cause of death in America for both men and women.
  • Some heart attacks are sudden and intense, where no one doubts what’s happening. But most heart attacks start slowly, with mild pain or discomfort. Often people affected aren’t sure what’s wrong and wait too long before getting help.

The term “heart disease” refers to several types of heart conditions. The most common type in the U.S. is coronary heart disease (also known as coronary artery disease), which occurs when plaque builds up in the arteries that supply blood to the heart. Coronary heart disease can cause heart attack, angina, heart failure, and arrhythmia’s.

Although the situation is admittedly alarming, there is good news—heart disease is preventable and controllable. Some health conditions and lifestyle factors can put people at a higher risk for developing heart disease. You can help prevent heart disease by making healthy choices and managing preexisting medical conditions.

Plan for Prevention

  • Eat a healthy diet. Choose healthful meal and snack options to ward off heart disease and associated complications, including stroke. Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. Adults should have at least five servings each day. Also, eat foods that are low in saturated fat, Trans fat, and cholesterol. (One way to do this is to eat plenty of fiber.) Limit salt or sodium, which can lower blood pressure. For more information on healthy diet and nutrition, visit the CDC’s Nutrition and Physical Activity Program website.
  • Maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight or obese could increase your risk of heart disease. To determine whether your weight is in a healthy range, calculate your Body Mass Index (BMI). Doctors sometimes also use waist and hip measurements to calculate body fat.
  • Exercise regularly. Physical activity can help you maintain a healthy weight and lower cholesterol and blood pressure. The Surgeon General recommends that adults should engage in moderate-intensity exercise for at least 30 minutes on most days of the week.
  • Monitor your blood pressure. High blood pressure often has no symptoms, so be sure to check yours on a regular basis.
  • Don’t smoke. Cigarette smoking greatly increases the risk for heart disease, among many other problems. If you don’t smoke, don’t start. If you do smoke, quit as soon as possible.
  • Limit alcohol use. Avoid drinking excess alcohol, which can increase blood pressure. Men should have no more than two drinks per day, and women, no more than one.
  • Check your cholesterol. Your health care provider should routinely test your cholesterol levels at least once every five years.
  • If applicable, manage your diabetes. Monitor blood sugar levels closely, and talk with your doctor about treatment options. To avoid diabetes, maintain a healthy diet and exercise regimen.
  • Take necessary mediation. If your doctor has prescribed medication to treat high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or diabetes, follow his or her recommendations.
  • Familiarize yourself with Danger Signs and act quickly if you suspect heart attack or stroke.

Heart Attack Warning Signs

  • Chest Discomfort
  • Discomfort in Other Parts of the Body
  • Shortness of Breath
  • Breaking out in a Cold Sweat
  • Nausea and/or Lightheadedness

Stroke Warning Signs (Spot a Stroke FAST)

  • Face Drooping -Does one side of the face droop or is it numb? Ask the person to smile.
  • Arm Weakness-Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
  • Speech Difficulty-Is speech slurred, are they unable to speak, or are they hard to understand? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence, like “the sky is blue.” Is the sentence repeated correctly?
  • Time to call 911-If the person shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call 911 and get them to the hospital immediately.

Beyond F.A.S.T. – Other Symptoms You Should Know

  • Sudden numbness or weakness of the leg
  • Sudden confusion or trouble understanding
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
  • Sudden severe headache with no known cause

Cardiac Arrest Signs

  • Sudden Loss of Responsiveness – Victim won’t respond to tapping on his or her shoulder.
  • Interruption of Normal Breathing -The victim does not take a normal breath when you tilt the head up and check for at least five seconds.

Fast action can save lives — maybe your own. If you experience any of the above signs and symptoms or witness someone else doing the same, remember that minutes matter! When in doubt, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Don’t wait more than five minutes to call 911 or your emergency response number.

When active shooter incidents or other disasters strike, prior planning and clear decisive action can help save lives. The Allied Universal Training System by Universal Fire/Life Safety Services is 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.

All About Strokes

Tuesday, April 30th, 2013

National Stroke Awareness Month has been observed each May since 1989 to increase public awareness about strokes. Unlike many other diseases, stroke is often treatable if caught early. And since one person in the U.S. suffers from a stroke every 40 seconds, awareness is critical to prevention and successful treatment. There are two types of strokes—Ischemic occurs when a blocked artery prevents blood from reaching the brain and Hemorrhagic, which occurs when blood vessels in the brain start to leak and blood pools around and in the brain. At the Allied Universal Training System by Universal Fire/Life Safety Services, we are all about educating people to prepare for and recover from manmade and natural disasters. So we take pride in posting about strokes to help educate our training system subscribers, associates and friends.

Spearheading the annual official educational movement is the National Stroke Association, which sponsors campaigns such as the Faces of StrokeTM. Designing easily accessible tools and resources, the association raises awareness about the signs and symptoms strokes, which are the second leading cause of death in the world, responsible for 4.4 million (or 9 percent) of the total number of deaths each year.

Don’t make the crucial mistake of ignoring the information—thinking it won’t happen to you. Virtually everyone, including children, is potentially at risk, as strokes strike regardless of age, race or gender. Stroke can affect the senses, speech, behavior, thoughts, memory and emotions.

The five most common symptoms of stroke are:

  • Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm, or leg.
  • Sudden confusion or trouble speaking or understanding others.
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes.
  • Sudden dizziness, trouble walking, or loss of balance or coordination.
  • Sudden severe headache with no known cause.

Signs of a stroke are always sudden. If symptoms come on suddenly but then quickly dissipate, the stroke might actually be classified as a “mini-stroke,” or Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA). TIAs do not cause permanent damage but can be a warning sign that a full stroke may be on the horizon. 

The chances of having a stroke increase given certain risk factors. According to the Mayo Clinic, these are the most common risk factors:

  • High blood pressure—the risk of stroke begins to increase at blood pressure readings higher than 120/80
  • Cigarette smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke
  • High cholesterol—a total cholesterol level above 200
  • Diabetes
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Physical inactivity
  • Obstructive sleep apnea
  • Cardiovascular disease, including heart failure, heart defects, heart infection or abnormal heart rhythm
  • Use of some birth control pills or hormone therapies that include estrogen
  • Heavy or binge drinking
  • Use of illicit drugs such as cocaine and methamphetamines
  • Personal or family history of stroke, heart attack or TIA
  • Being age 55 or older
  • Race — African-Americans are more likely to have strokes than people of other races
  • Gender — Men have a higher risk of stroke than women. Women are usually older when they experience strokes. But they are more likely to die of strokes than men.

The good news is that up to 80 percent of strokes can be prevented. The CDC has come up with an easy way to remember how to guard against the likelihood of stroke—remembering your ABCs:

    • Appropriate Aspirin therapy
    • Blood pressure control
    • Cholesterol management:
    • Smoking cessation: Get help at 1-800-QUIT-NOW.

Other helpful stroke-prevention habits include:

  1. Exercise regularly.
  2. Eat a healthy diet that’s low in sodium.
  3. Maintain a healthy weight.
  4. Prevent or control diabetes.
  5. Limit alcohol intake (fewer than two drinks per day for men, or one drink per day for women).

If you or someone you are with appears to be experiencing any of the signs or symptoms of a stroke, do not delay. Call 911 right away! Minutes matter. Getting treatment as soon as possible after a stroke can help prevent permanent brain damage.

When a disaster strikes, prior planning and clear decisive action can help save lives. The Allied Universal Training System by Universal Fire/Life Safety Services is an interactive, building-specific e-learning training system which motivates and rewards tenants instantly! It’s a convenient and affordable solution to all of the training needs of your building(s). Choosing our service cuts property management training related workloads by 90% and saves you over 50% compared to conventional training! More importantly, IT SAVES LIVES!

Using New Technology to Gauge Threats

Monday, April 18th, 2011
Seal of the US Dept of Homeland Security and Twitter

The Dept of homeland Security is using social media to alert the public about disasters.

Very shortly, news network viewers will no longer find out about updates via color-coded threat levels from the Department of Homeland Security. The current threat-level chart will be replaced by a two-level threat system known as the National Terrorism Advisory System. The first threat level will be coined “elevated,” and would warn about a credible threat, but not list possible targets.

A distinct difference to the previous system is that the two-level system will provide a start and end date for the threat. The second level will be “imminent” when law enforcement officers working with DHS determine a credible threat will very likely be attempted against certain targets. This level of alert would continue for not more than seven days, but could be extended. DHS will also incorporate social media alerts into the two-level system, recognizing the reach and the importance of such networks in the fast sharing of information.

First put into use in March 2002, the current system (officially known as the Homeland Security Advisory System), was established in response to the devastating 9/11 terrorist attacks. The system initially came under frequent criticisms, with many individuals claiming the threat level was often raised for political motives to incite citizen unrest. Others claimed the threat level did not move sufficiently to recognize actual threats, and was often held at an elevated status level.

According to DHS, the risk of terrorist attacks on U.S. soil remains, and citizens are encouraged to remain vigilant and report suspicious behavior. Law enforcement is continually training for possible attacks, even participating in testing exercises to measure readiness.

This type of readiness was evident in the thwarted New York’s Time Square bombing attempt in 2009, where a quick-thinking street vendor alerted authorities to a smoking van. The terror alert system reminds citizens about the threat of terrorism and encourages common sense as well as a broader sense of civic responsibility.

Government officials announced that terror alerts and information about threats will be distributed via two primary social networks when deemed appropriate, Twitter and Facebook. The department’s Twitter alerts page is @ntasalerts. The Department of Homeland Security’s Facebook page can be found at Facebook.com/HomelandSecurity. In some cases, distribution of specifics regarding an alert could jeopardize ongoing investigations. In such cases, information about terror threats might not reach the public until after the alleged terrorists are captured and the threat has been mitigated.

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 Allied Universal, 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.

 

March is American Red Cross Month

Monday, March 7th, 2011

Save a life. Give blood.

Victims of disasters large and small almost always enjoy relief provided by the Red Cross. But not everyone is aware of the myriad ways that the American Red Cross goes beyond delivering basic first-responder assistance to deliver essentials such as blood and related supplies, CPR, First Aid training and more.

To recognize the important role of this venerable organization, each March is classified as American Red Cross Month. American Red Cross Month has a 68-year history which began in 1943 during the presidency of Franklin Roosevelt, who was the honorary chairman of the Red Cross at the time. His goal of raising $125 million was surpassed when $146 million in gifts rolled in, prompting Roosevelt to call the effort “the greatest single crusade of mercy in all of history.”

Continuing the history of presidential promotion of the American Red Cross Month, President Obama recently released a proclamation that detailed the vital role the organization plays in disaster recovery efforts.

How you can help:

  • Host a blood drive for your tenants. As host, you only need to provide a location and publicize the event. The Red Cross will manage donations and distribute funds.
  • Distribute donation information. A great option for those who would rather remain behind the scenes, the Red Cross offers a video detailing this process.
  • If you are interested in donating platelets, plasma, or double red cells, drop by an American Red Cross Blood Donation Center.

Corporations and individuals can help support the American Red Cross through other means:

  • Donate your frequent flier miles! Major carriers including Continental, United, US Airways and Delta allow the transfer of miles to the American Red Cross to help cover travel expenses for Red Cross volunteers.
  • Donate Hotel Loyalty Points. Several major hotel chains offer the option of transferring guest points to the Red Cross so they can be used to accommodate people who are displaced by disasters.
  • Become a volunteer! A searchable database is available to help you discover volunteer opportunities in your area.
  • It’s important to get a sense of the scale of relief and services that are provided by the American Red Cross in order to understand the organization’s needs. The American Red Cross:
  • Responds to nearly 200 disasters a day throughout the United States.
  • Supplies blood and blood products to 3,000 hospitals.
  • Manages the 38,000 blood donations are needed every day.
  • Alerts the public when supplies run low.
  • With 650 chapters and more than 30,000, the American Red Cross manages logistical and operational planning which requires considerable resources.

The American Red Cross is an integral part of our society, helping not only with large-scale disasters, but also assisting individuals who are involved in accidents and anyone who wants to prepare to administer First Aid.

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 Allied Universal, 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.

 

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Safety: Put your heart into it.

Monday, February 7th, 2011
Heart at end of EKG line

Take steps to guard your heart.

February is designated as “American Heart Month.” And while stores are filled with heart-shaped chocolates and red and pink floral arrangements, the hearts we are referring to aren’t metaphorical. American Heart Month is all about the organ that keeps us alive! Heart disease affects men and women alike. So take care of heart matters in February and all year long.

Shockingly, according to the CDC, one American dies from a coronary event every minute in this country. Not so surprisingly, the best defense against heart disease and Myocardial Infarction (Heart Attack) is to follow a daily regimen that includes a healthy diet and plenty of exercise.

Here are the common signs of an impending heart attack (If you experience these, do not hesitate to call 911):

  • Uncomfortable chest pressure or a squeezing sensation
  • Discomfort in the arm, neck, or jaw
  • Shortness of breath
  • Cold sweats
  • Lightheadedness

What can you do to stay heart-healthy?

  • Get moving!
  • Use the stairs instead of elevators. (First, check stair railings and make sure non-slip surfaces are present on each step.)
  • Instead of jockeying for premium parking places, purposely park your vehicle away from the front door.
  • Track your physical activity by wearing a pedometer. Health experts suggest walking a minimum of 10,000 steps per day.
  • Take advantage of free or discounted gym memberships offered by some insurance companies and/or employers.

Eat right!

  • Eat plenty of fiber. The best way to do this is to include plenty of fruits and vegetables at every meal.
  • Stop eating and drinking foods that contains refined sugar. Soda intake has been linked to increase risk of heart disease.
  • Cut diet soda from your diet, as well. Some studies indicate that diet carbonated beverages increases the risk of heart disease. Your best bet for good health is water.
  • Buy fresh ingredients at your local farmer’s market.

Additional tips and safety:

  • Stock aspirin in your Go-Bag. Studies show that people who experience symptoms of a heart attack can chew an aspirin to reduce the severity of the episode.
  • Try not to stress out. Most medical professionals agree that people who are under a lot of stress have an increased risk of heart disease.
  • Take advantage of programs such as “The Heart Truth,” which provides tools for preventing and treating heart-related health problems.
  • Take a CPR class, so signs symptoms and treatments of heart attack will become second nature.

While disaster planning for earthquakes, fires, and mudslides is a no-brainer, it is equally critical to prepare for smaller-scale but no less serious disasters such as heart disease, which claims millions of lives. So Go Red not just in February, but all year long.

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 Allied Universal, 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.