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National Cyber Security Awareness Month

Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013

In countless ways, technology improves our lives. Consider the expediency of mobile check deposits, security system monitoring and online shopping. Unfortunately, many of the features we’ve come to appreciate, and even depend on, undermine our safety. Since October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month, we would like to remind our subscribers and friends to create a safe, secure and resilient cyber environment.

When the White House proclaimed October 2004 the first National Cyber Security Awareness Month, the Internet looked very different than it does today. Smartphones and social networks are just two of the electronic innovations of the last decade. Americans are communicating more frequently, with more people, and sharing more personal information than ever. As a result, cyber security threats and attacks are gaining momentum. With more than $525 million in losses due to online criminal activity reported in 2012, proper security measures are a critical component in keeping your identity and finances secure.

“Computers, Smartphones and other electronics have become a prevalent part of our daily lives,” said FEMA Region V Administrator Andrew Velasquez III. “Everyone needs to understand how frequently cybercrimes occur and arm themselves with the latest information and tools necessary to protect their families against potential fraud.”

Cybercriminals don’t discriminate. So don’t be a target! Protect your privacy and guard against fraud by practicing safe online habits. The good news is that 96% of Americans feel a personal responsibility to be safer and more secure online. Here are a few tips to safeguard yourself and your computer:

  • Set strong passwords. Effective passwords have nothing to do with the users or family members’ names, birthdays, wedding anniversaries or addresses. This information is readily available. Try to come up with something that includes upper and lowercase letters, numbers and special characters in random order.
  • Change passwords regularly. To BE SAFE, come up with a new password for all of your logins once every 72 days. And don’t use the same password for every account!
  • Don’t share your passwords with anyone.
  • Keep a clean machine. This includes making sure your operating system, browser, and security software are up to date. Don’t ignore the message to install updates. Oftentimes, these include critical virus protection.
  • Protect your personal information. Use privacy settings. This applies to your computer as well as your mobile phone. Although it is admittedly inconvenient to have to enter a password every time you want to access your cellphone, don’t sacrifice your security on the altar of convenience.
  • Connect with care.
  1. Links in email, tweets, posts, and online advertising are often the way cybercriminals compromise your computer. If it looks suspicious, delete or mark as junk email.
  2. Get savvy about Wi-Fi hotspots. Limit the type of business you conduct and adjust the security settings on your device to limit who can access your machine.
  3. Protect your financial information. When banking and shopping, check to be sure the sites is security enabled. Look for web addresses with “https://” or “shttp://” (which means the site takes extra measures to help secure your information. “http://” is not secure.
  • Be cautious about online offers. This is particularly important as the holiday season approaches. If an offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
  • Report cybercrime to the Internet Crime Complaint Center and to your local law enforcement or the state attorney general, as appropriate.
  • Maintain an open dialogue with friends, family, colleagues and community about Internet safety.

With the slogan, “Heads up. Stop. Think. Click,” FEMA encourages Internet users to think before they click. Their campaign also includes helpful hints for preventing malware, instructing kids about Internet safety, installing safe Smartphone apps, safely shopping online, preventing identity theft, protecting laptops, sharing public wi-fi networks. Detailed information and short videos can be found at OnGuardOnline.gov.

On October 24, 2013 at 3 p.m. ET, join a Twitter chat about protecting your colleagues and family from cybercrime. This will be a great opportunity to ask questions and hear from experts at the Federal Trade Commission, Department of Homeland Security, Stop.Think.Connect.org, and others. Follow @FTC and use the hashtag #ChatSTC to join the conversation. Connect with the RJWestmore Training System by Universal Fire/Life Safety Services @rjthefiredog.

When a disaster strikes, prior planning and clear decisive action can help save lives. The RJWestmore 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 workloads by 90% and saves you over 50% compared to conventional training! More importantly, IT SAVES LIVES.

The Importance of Learning How to Shelter in Place

Tuesday, June 4th, 2013

The recent tornadoes in the Midwest have reminded all of us that evacuation is not always the wisest choice for anyone facing a disaster. This is important to remember, since our natural “flight or fight” response may urge us to flee when sheltering in place may be the better move.

Emergency management professionals have long maintained that it’s often preferable to stay put during and immediately after any disaster (as long as you are inside anything other than a mobile home.) Better by far is preparing an easily accessible safe room well in advance of any emergency.

According to a report by CNN, to date, at least 16 are dead in Oklahoma following the vicious storm which spawned at least five tornadoes. A spokeswoman from the Oklahoma Medical Examiner’s Office noted that the death toll may rise even further. Tragically, among the dead are two children — an infant who was sucked out of the car with its mother and a 4-year-old boy who, along with his family, had unsuccessfully sought shelter by hovering in a drainage-ditch. Whether or not these deaths could have been prevented, we feel it is important to remind people that the time to think about disaster preparation is while you are safe and sound…not during the actual emergency when stress mounts and time is short.

The American Red Cross defines the term Shelter-in-Place as “taking immediate shelter wherever you are—at home, work, school, or anywhere else. It may also mean “seal the room.” In other words, in the event of a natural or manmade disaster, to BE SAFE, you might need to take steps to prevent outside air from coming in.

Just a few instances where sheltering in place makes more sense than evacuating include:

  •  The release of chemical or radiological contaminants
  •  Weather-related hazards
  • Active shooter incidents (including, but not limited to terrorist attacks)

If any of these occur, it is important to listen to TV or radio to accurately be able to determine whether the authorities recommend simply that you remain indoors or that you take additional steps to protect yourself and your family and building occupants if you own or manage a facility. The first step to prepare for any such emergency is to determine which alert systems are used in your area. Fire or police department warning procedures could include:

  • “All-Call” telephoning – an automated system for sending recorded messages, sometimes called Reverse 911.
  •  Emergency Alert System (EAS) broadcasts on the radio or television.
  • Outdoor warning sirens or horns.
  • News media sources – radio, television and cable  TV
  • NOAA Weather Radio alerts. NOAA offers several online resources and apps to make sure you are made aware of any disasters in your area.
  • Residential route alerting – messages announced to neighborhoods from vehicles equipped with PA systems.
  • Facilities that handle potentially dangerous materials, such as nuclear power plants, are required to install sirens and other warning systems (flash warning lights) to cover a 10-mile area around the plant.

At Home

  1. Choose a “shelter” room in advance of any actual emergency. No matter the type of incident, the safest room is one that has as few windows and doors as possible.
  2. Consider using a master bedroom that is connected to a bathroom. This is often a good choice because it is connected to a water supply.
  3. Develop a family emergency plan so that everyone knows what to do.
  4. Find out when warning systems will be tested. If alarms are tested in your area, determine whether you can hear or see sirens and/or warning lights from your place of business.
  5. Assemble a disaster supplies kit that includes emergency water and food supplies.
  6. Check the Disaster Supply Kit regularly.
  7. Practice “sheltering in place” regularly.

Away from Home

  • Contact your workplaces, your children’s schools, nursing homes where you may have family and your local town or city officials to learn about their plans for “sheltering-in-place.”
  • Help ensure that the emergency plan and checklist involves all employees and/or tenants of your building.
  • Assign volunteers or recruits specific duties to fulfill during an emergency. Also, assign alternates to each duty.
  • Create an Emergency Supply Kit for building occupants. Check the kit on a regular basis. (Items like duct tape and first aid supplies can sometimes disappear when employees or tenants know where the kit is stored. Also, even if the kit is sealed, batteries for the radio and flashlight require regular replacement.
  • Learn CPR, First Aid and how to use an automated external defibrillator (AED). Contact your local American Red Cross chapter for more information.

When you are notified of a “Shelter in Place” disaster, take these steps:

  • Bring children and pets indoors immediately. If your children are at school, do not try to bring them home unless told to. The school will shelter them. If you have pets, prepare a place for them to relieve themselves where you are taking shelter. Pets should not go outside during a chemical or radiation emergency. Consider including plastic bags in your Disaster Supply Kit.
  • Close and lock all outside doors and windows. Locking may provide a tighter seal.
  • If you are told there is danger of explosion, close the window shades, blinds, or curtains.
  • Turn off the heating, ventilation, or air conditioning system. Turn off all fans, including bathroom fans operated by the light switch.
  • Close the fireplace or wood stove damper. Become familiar with proper operation of flues and dampers ahead of time.
  • Get your disaster supplies kit and make sure the radio is working.
  • If you are instructed to seal the room, use duct tape and plastic sheeting, such as heavy-duty plastic garbage bags, to seal all cracks around the door into the room. Tape plastic over any windows. Tape over any vents and seal electrical outlets and other openings. As much as possible, reduce the flow of air into the room.
  • Call your emergency contact and keep the phone handy in case you need to report a life-threatening condition. Otherwise stay off the phone, so that the lines will be available for use by emergency responders.
  • Keep listening to your radio or television until you are told all is safe or you are told to evacuate. Do not evacuate unless instructed to do so.
  • Stay where you are until you are told that the emergency is over. Only then should you open windows and doors and turn on ventilation systems.
  • After the “all clear,” go outside until the building’s air has been exchanged with clean outdoor air. Follow any special instructions given by emergency authorities to avoid chemical or radiological contaminants outdoors.

Although this blog post is longer than most, it should not be considered a comprehensive digest about sheltering in place. However, subscribers to the RJWestmore Training System by Universal Fire/Life Safety Services have access to instructional videos which explain the concept in great detail. For more about sheltering in place, check out previous RJWestmore blog posts, as well as information provided by the National Terror Alert Response Center, the CDC and FEMA.

The RJWestmore 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 workloads by 90% and saves you over 50% compared to conventional training! More importantly, IT SAVES LIVES!

Global Law Enforcement Tweet-a-thon

Tuesday, March 5th, 2013

Since being founded in 2006, Twitter has evolved from a virtual gathering place teenagers casually discuss fashion and celebrity news to a 175,000,000-member platform used by law enforcement and emergency management professionals worldwide to share best practices and educate the public about disaster preparedness and recovery. Celebrating the medium, police agencies around the world will connect via Twitter on March 22 to participate in a 24-hour Tweet-a-thon beginning at 8 a.m. EST.

The Global Police Tweet-a-thon is sponsored by Cops.net. So far, 90 agencies have signed up to participate. And there is still plenty of time for interested parties to register. All that’s required to enter is submission of agency name, contact information and time zone. Just email the founder of LAWS Communications, lauri@lawscomm.net. All agencies will use the same hashtag, which is yet to be determined, in order to call attention to police work and issues that police officers face as well as promote the use of social media in police work.

“We hope to send (a message) to non-law enforcement that their police officers are up to speed with social media, and that they should use social media to talk with police officers and to be stewards of public safety,” explained event organizer Lauri Stevens.

Over the years, numerous police agencies have held tweet-a-thons or tweet-the-beat events to create awareness of police work and call attention to related issues. So far, early entries are from all across the United States as well as Canada and the UK.

One state that understands the importance of relying on social media in times of crisis is Louisiana, where the Chief of Police in Thibodaux said he’s promoting transparency in policing actions and furthering proactive social media integration. A 2012 University of Maryland report called “Social Media Use during Disasters,” revealed detailed information about the public’s use of social media, both generally and during specific disasters, and addressed what prompts the public to use social media during disasters as well as what deters such consumption.

The report includes specific examples of social media consumption during key catastrophic events including 9/11, Hurricane Katrina and the 2010 Haitian earthquake. The case studies provide insights into how the public uses social media and other media, including preliminary lessons learned from these notable events. Most experts agree that if Hurricane Katrina had occurred after Twitter caught on, the exchange of information between victims and public agency officials likely would have been greatly improved.

Louisiana Police Chief Scott Silveri said his agency “will participate in the tweet-a-thon because (we) hope that other agencies break from the reactive isolationist nature of traditional law enforcement, and begin realizing the benefits of sharing timely and relevant information through social media.”

To participate in the Tweet-a-thon, email Lauri Stevens at lauri@lawscomm.net with agency name, contact name and email address. Then mark your calendar for March 22 and don’t forget to tweet! When a disaster strikes, prior planning and clear decisive action can help save lives. The RJWestmore Training System by Universal Fire/Life Safety Services helps commercial buildings with compliance to fire life safety codes. 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). 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!

RJWestmore Training System Legacy to Continue after Unexpected Passing of CEO

Monday, August 20th, 2012

Robert James Westmore, founder and CEO of RJWestmore, Inc., who made a career out of providing safety and security solutions to commercial real estate owners, managers and tenants, died on August 9, 2012 after suffering cardiac arrest. He was 56.

For over 20 years, Bob, as he was commonly known, was a significant figure in the development of national standards for fire safety, embracing and carrying out the mission to save lives through his e-based training, with the motto: “Be Safe!” Under his direction, the RJWestmore Training System has become the most successful online fire life safety training system in the country, providing service to more than 400 million square feet of commercial real estate and Fortune 500 clients across the United States.

Without skipping a beat, RJWestmore Training System users will continue to enjoy the same great service and training they have come to count on through the RJW system.

“Bob was committed to disaster preparedness and recovery and emergency management training. And, as a tribute to him, we will continue to carry out the cause he held so dear to his heart,” says Kimber Westmore, his wife  and RJW administrator.

A firm believer that all high-rise occupants should have the ability to be trained anytime, at their convenience, as often as they want to learn, Bob created a safer, more informed system to train occupants so they would understand their responsibilities and may be capable of helping others.

Bob was an active member of numerous professional organizations and had extensive professional training including BOMA Los Angeles-Safety & Security Committee International, LAPD-Specialist Reserve Police Officer/Archangel Anti-terrorism/LEAPS Conference Treasurer, and FBI-CA3 graduate, InfraGard Member, Family Safety Squad Instructor, LAFD-CERT Certified and Online Training/Education Consultant, FEMA-ICS 100 and Active Shooter certified, NFPA-National Fire Protection Association Education Section Member, CAL-OSHA/NIOSH-Protection of High Risk Building Certification, NASP-National Association of Safety Professionals and the U.S. Green Building Council.

More than just a successful businessman, Bob was a devoted husband, father, son, brother and friend, whose legacy extends far beyond the work he did through RJWestmore, Inc. In lieu of flowers, the family is asking that donations be made to Living Water International, which helps communities acquire desperately needed clean water and to experience the “living water.” The family hopes to fund a new well for a village or school in Bob’s name.

RJWestmore Announces New Upgrade to Fire Life Safety Training System

Wednesday, May 16th, 2012

The RJWestmore Training System Version 3.0

RJWestmore Training System Version 3.0

RJWestmore Inc. is proud to announce the release of Version 3.0 of our comprehensive e-based safety training program. The new system boasts features that property managers and building owners, employers and occupants have come to depend on for building specific safety training, such as the integration and automation that brings together facility managers, fire safety directors and local fire departments. The system upgrade showcases our continued commitment to offer the most user-friendly and complete training system on the market. Here is a snapshot of some of the new functionality that RJWestmore trainees will enjoy with Version 3.0:

New “Basics for individuals who need Special Assistance”

Basic Special Assistance Guidelines are now automatically sent when individual users add themselves to the RJWestmore Special Assistance List. Users will find copies of this in “Your Resources,” under the “Forms, Lists and Guidelines bullet point.

Version 3.0 offers lots of great features.

New “Management Report”

All user-training base information (relative to the past and current year) is contained in one easy-to-use Excel report.

New “Occupants” Page

The “Occupants” Tab in all users’ database management system now displays:

  • Floor and suite information for every person
  • Color-coded “Previous” and “Current Year” certification dates
  • Past due training alert icon (over12 months)

New “System Notifications” Page

  • How users choose how to view messages
  • New Messages
  • Read Messages
  • Archived Messages—users can choose which messages to archive

New Social Media Links

  • This enables users to share news of their life-saving training with friends.

  • 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 cuts property management training related workloads by 90% and saves users over 50% compared to conventional training! More importantly, IT SAVES LIVES! BE SAFE.

When a disaster of any kind strikes, prior planning and clear decisive action can help save lives. For the latest emergency management training for facility/building managers, contact RJWestmore, Inc. Our new Version 3.0 e-based training system offers the best emergency training system with automated and integrated features. What’s more, the NEW RJWestmore Property Messaging System is included FREE for all RJWestmore Online Training System users. Visit RJWestmore.com for more information.

Cloaking Device Could Protect Buildings from Disasters

Monday, March 5th, 2012

Avid fans of the television series Star Trek are familiar with the term: cloaking device. In a turn proving the fact that truth is stranger than fiction, physicists from the University of St. Andrews In Kentucky have created a cloaking device that is literally capable of hiding 3D objects. In their paper published in the New Journal of Physics, the St. Andrew’s team explains that the new device hides microscopic objects from view as seen from any angle.

In the same way that cloaking devices make objects appear invisible by deflecting light around them, pressurized rubber could be used to “hide” structures from shock waves produced by earthquakes, sending them around the structure rather than through it. This is good news for building owners and property managers since cloaking could potentially defend structures against earthquakes and other natural disasters.

The whole idea of cloaking works because light is the means by which we see everything around us. For example, consider how light strikes a computer keyboard and then bounces back through the user’s pupils into the back of his or her eyes, enabling writers to see what they are typing. If something were to be placed under a keyboard that caused the light behind it to bend before it hit the keyboard, and then caused it to bend back on the other side before it came to our eyes, we’d see nothing but the table the keyboard is sitting on.

If cloaking technology had been available last year, the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant might have been able to escape damage from the earthquake and associated tsunami. According to mathematicians from the University of Manchester, invisibility cloaks could be used to protect key structures such as nuclear power plants, government facilities and electric pylons from earthquakes and terrorist attacks.

“Significant progress has been made, both theoretically and practically in the area of cloaking. We showed theoretically that stressing a naturally available material—rubber—leads to a cloaking effect from a specific type of elastic wave,” wrote Dr. William Parnell in The Proceedings of the Royal Society. “Our team is now working hard on more general theories and to understand how this theory can be realized in practice. If the theory can be scaled up to larger objects then it could be used to create cloaks to protect buildings and structures, or perhaps more realistically to protect very important specific parts of those structures.”

The new cloaking device won’t be on the market in the immediate future since the experiment used elements too small to be seen by the human eye. After more research is done, it will eventually be sized up and expanded to cloak everyday objects such as buildings.

When a disaster strikes, prior planning and clear decisive action can help save lives. For the latest emergency management training for facility/building managers, contact RJWestmore, Inc. Our new Version 2.5 e-based training system offers the best emergency training system with automated and integrated features. What’s more, the NEW RJWestmore Property Messaging System is included FREE for all RJWestmore Online Training System users. Visit www.RJWestmore.com for more information.

Occupy Wall Street Movement—History and Risks to Property

Tuesday, October 25th, 2011

Are you prepared for an occupy movement?

The recent Occupy Wall Street protests brought more than 100,000 protestors to New York City on October 15th and now have reached 70 major cities. While the movement does not have official leadership, its main goals are to bring awareness to income inequality in the country, especially in regards to the “1%” of individuals who earn and hold a disproportionate amount of wealth, up to 40 percent in some studies. The popularity of the protests has even made them a NYC tourist attraction.

While many of the protesters are undoubtedly pacifists, there is the potential for violence, as recent clashes with law enforcement have demonstrated. The risks are inherent to property whenever large groups of people gather to vociferously demand something that is difficult to tangibly achieve. As time goes on, entrenched protestors might turn to mischief simply out of boredom or frustration. Building owners who encounter these types of protests should prepare to take steps to make sure their property remains protected at all times.

The first priority of property ownership is to ensure the safety of tenants, residents and/or employees. The second objective is to protect the integrity of the building. Here are some ideas for steps you could take as a property owner or manager to ensure both:

  • Post signage on your property stating that trespassing and/or camping is not permitted. Numerous signs will help you delineate your property. This type of signage could also help deter people from using your space in other objectionable ways.
  • Coordinate with local law enforcement. They should have a plan for where protestors would be allowed to congregate and which areas would be considered off limits.
  • Use barriers to deny access to important areas. If you have a sensitive part of your business that will be closed to short-term protests, then consider closing it down or blocking if entirely to avoid any issues.
  • Use window film to block the view into lower-level offices. You wouldn’t want tenants to feel harassed or nervous about the potential for violence if a group gathers outside.
  • Install video cameras with signs that clearly state the fact that your area is under constant surveillance. While video won’t likely stop organized protests, it can deter violent or vandalistic acts.
  • During the actual protests, consider hiring uniformed security officers to guard the perimeter of your building to discourage criminal behavior.

Hopefully, any protests in your area will remain peaceful expressions of free speech and will not turn to violence or unrest. By taking some proactive measures, you can better protect your building and tenants from potential harm

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.

The RJW Training System is User-Friendly

Sunday, October 23rd, 2011

The RJW Training System is extremely easy to navigate. Sign up today!

2011 Marks Banner Year for U.S. Disasters

Monday, October 3rd, 2011

2011 Has Been a Banner Year for Natural Disasters in the U.S.

RJWestmore Shares 5 Tips for Dealing with Weather-Related Disasters

President Barack Obama recently named New Jersey a federal disaster area as a result of floods that came before Hurricane Irene. In so doing, he cemented 2011 as the United States’ most disaster-prone year ever.

As of the third week of September, Obama had issued 84 federal disaster declarations at the request of governors. That is more declarations than in any year since the score was first kept 60 years ago. And there are still three months left in 2011! Since many of the recent emergencies resulted from extreme weather, we want to use this week’s blog post to discuss the ways that you can prepare for weather-related disasters.

While weather has always been a contributing factor to damage to hearth, office and home, natural disaster-related damage affects more people than it used to because of urban sprawl. When tornados strike open, undeveloped areas, dollar amount damage is relatively low. Centered in a densely populated area, the same storm will wreak considerably more havoc.

So how should urban residents and professionals who work in major metropolitan locations prepare for natural disasters? Here are some tips, prepared for you by the fire life safety training professionals at RJWestmore, Inc:

  1. Take cover. This is important regardless of temperature. If you’re outside in the heat, make sure you have a hat, sunglasses and lip balm as well as sunscreen in case you get caught in any situation that leaves you stranded for an extended period of time.

Likewise, in snow, rain or hail, you should make sure you have plenty of protection against the elements. Invest in protective, waterproof outerwear and make sure your emergency supply kit includes plenty of blankets and waterproof matches.

Also, one of the best ways to protect from loss is to purchase insurance to cover repairs to infrastructure. We are not experts in insurance. But it is likely that a standard policy will not cover flood damage. The only way to protect against flood losses is to purchase flood insurance directly from the National Flood Insurance Program. Policies must be in place for 30 days before coverage takes effect. For information, contact your insurance professional.

  1. Drink Up. One of the risks of any type of disaster is dehydration. Consider miners who are stranded for hours underground or motorists whose cars get stuck on snowy roadways in blizzard conditions. Dehydration is not relegated to desert environments.  A good rule of thumb is to make sure you include plenty of water in each of your emergency preparedness kits. You should have one in your car, one at work and a third at home, all in easily-accessible locations.
  2. Tune In. Another suggestion for your disaster preparedness kit is to include a portable, hand-crank radio to make sure you can stay connected even in power outage. Storms of any kind can knock out phone lines, electricity, gas, water and even wireless cell phones. So don’t make the mistake of relying on high-tech forms of communication to stay abreast of news in emergencies. Tuning in will alert you to the threat level relative to the storm, be it Winter Storm Watch, Winter Storm Warning or Winter Weather Advisory.
  3. Stay Put. In many cases, you will be safer if you shelter in place than if you venture out in hazardous conditions. Of course, you must use common sense when deciding whether you should stay or go. For example, in the event of a tornado, seek shelter in a steel-framed or concrete building. However, in case of a flood, you might be putting yourself in danger by staying in an area that will likely be consumed by fast-flowing water. For detailed instructions about what to do in every possible weather scenario, visit the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Weather Service website. All RJWestmore Safety Trainees have immediate access to NOAA information from inside our fully-integrated training system.
  4. Remain Calm. Whatever the disaster, you will make better choices if you avoid the temptation to panic. How can you remain cool, calm and collected when surrounded by turmoil? One surefire way is to prepare well in advance of emergency.

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 cuts property management training related workloads by 90% and saves users over 50% compared to conventional training! More importantly, IT SAVES LIVES! BE SAFE.

Get Ready for the Great California Shakeout 2011

Monday, September 26th, 2011

Get involved in the 2011 Great California ShakeOut

When earthquakes struck the east coast in August 2011, they shocked the nation. After all, earthquakes strike mostly in the west. And, previously, quakes so strong (average magnitude 5.9) hadn’t been felt east of the Mississippi since World War II.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the quakes averaged magnitude 5.8. And, by west coast standards, that is, admittedly, mild. But the east coast is not accustomed to earthquakes at all. So these quakes unsettled some of the nation’s biggest population centers. In fact, USA Today reported that Twitter lit up with personal accounts following the quakes, including mockery from quake-hardened veterans on the West Coast:

“5.9? That’s what us Californians use to stir our coffee with,” tweeted one west coast marketing manager.

One of the reasons the quakes were so unnerving, many say, is because they came so near the 10-year anniversary of 9/11. So, the unexpected jolts jarred nerves that were already frayed. On the plus side, folks in Georgia, Missouri and Virginia and surrounding areas will be better prepared for subsequent jolts because quakes will no longer be able to take residents by surprise. And this is good, since preparation is a crucial step in successfully dealing with and recovering from disasters of every kind.

It’s for this very reason that RJWestmore, Inc. participates each year in the Great California Shakeout. As we count down to Shakeout Drill 2011, we’d like to encourage you to sign up for this year’s event. Here is how to prepare:

  1. Sign up. This year’s drill will be held at 10:20 a.m. on October 20, 2011. (If this time slot won’t work for you, don’t worry. You can hold your own drill when it is most convenient for you and your employees or tenants.) Click to sign up today.
  2. Secure and review ShakeOut materials. These items are available online at www.ShakeOut.org/updates. Choose from drill manuals, banners, signs, triangle of life rebuttal, PowerPoint presentations, 7 Steps to an Earthquake Resilient Business and additional items available at the ShakeOut Shop.
  3. Meet with your leadership team. Discuss plans and get their buy-in. Decide what level (1-4) of drill you will conduct.
  • Level 1—Simple: Drop, Cover and Hold On.
  • Level 2—Basic: Life Safety Drill
  • Level 3—Intermediate: Decision-Making Drill
  • Level 4—Advanced: Business Operations Simulation Drill
  1. Create a drill/exercise plan. Make sure the plan includes an overview of what your drill will consist of, and what you expect to happen before during and after the drill (including feedback discussion to discuss strengths and areas for improvement.)
  2. Encourage participation. Invite your suppliers, vendors, contractors and partnering businesses to participate along with you. The more integrated your drill, the better prepared you will be in the event of an actual earthquake.
  3. Promote the ShakeOut Campaign:
    1. Hang shake-out banners and signs throughout your property to encourage participation.
    2. Develop an email marketing campaign to promote the event.
  4. Hold briefings afterward, to discuss the event. For guidelines to stimulate discussion, check out these free resources.

Don’t miss out on this great opportunity to prepare for an earthquake next month, on October 20, 2011. 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 cuts property management training related workloads by 90% and saves users over 50% compared to conventional training! More importantly, IT SAVES LIVES! BE SAFE.