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2017 Safety Resolutions

Tuesday, January 10th, 2017

Take steps to “BeSafe” in 2017.

The year 2016 was a banner one for declared disasters in the United States – with emergencies of virtually every conceivable type devastating landscapes, manmade structures and victims across the country.

Declared Disasters

  • Fires in Arizona, California, Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas. Kentucky, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North & South Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Tennessee, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.
  • Hurricanes/Tropical Storms in Hawaii, Kentucky, Oregon, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin
  • Mudslides & Landslides in Hawaii, Kentucky, Oregon, Washington, Wisconsin and West Virginia.
  • Severe Storms & Flooding in Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Delaware, District of Columbia (DC), Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin
  • Tornadoes in Hawaii, Kentucky, Oregon, Washington, Wisconsin and West Virginia

Equally significant “undeclared” disasters broke records in 2016. These included biological and chemical threats, cyber terrorism, droughts, earthquakes, radiation and nuclear events, and volcanoes…to name a few. The good news is that lessons learned in 2016, through endurance, recovery, and rebuilding can help us make a fresh start to #BeSafe in 2017.

Plan 

  • Take responsibility for your own personal safety. Make a mental note of emergency exits and locations of security personnel. Carry emergency contact details and special needs’ information.
  • Put together a Go-Bag/Emergency Supply Kit.
  • If you own your own business, take a cue from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to plan, prepare and protect.

Practice

  • Prepare an evacuation plan.
  • Post instructions.
  • Run drills.

Pay Attention

  • Access government websites for information about emerging threats as information is identified.
  • Listen to instructions given before, during and after disasters from local law enforcement and public safety officials.
  • Note travel alerts and warnings issued by the Department of State.
  • Wherever you are, If you see something, say something.

For more safety resolutions from Allied Universal, click here.

Remember that safety is a priority for everyone all year long. A convenient and affordable way to make sure you are prepared for disasters and emergencies of virtually every kind is to subscribe to the RJWestmore Training System by Allied 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.

National PrepareAthon Day

Tuesday, September 27th, 2016

Be prepared text on speech bubble and businessman hand holding megaphonePresident Obama officially proclaimed September National Preparedness Month, establishing September 30, 2016 as a “national day of action,” aka “America’s PrepareAthon.” Managed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the campaign is designed to spark awareness and preparedness among the general public.

The emphasis on awareness and active participation in safety-related exercises is especially timely in light of the recent terrorist attacks in New York and New Jersey. Also, in a separate and apparently unrelated incident in Minnesota, a terrorist attack was thwarted by a trained firearms expert, whose quick thinking and ready action saved the lives of innocent people.

In each of these incidents, well-prepared Americans, first-responders and members of the general public worked together to lessen the severity of incidents relative to attacks and/or helped the injured while simultaneously staying alert to additional threats.

America’s PrepareAthon encourages alertness in several types of incidents:eas-test-092816_national

  • FEMA provides free materials such as badges and posters to promote preparedness for floods, earthquakes, winter storms, etc.
  • A compelling video showcases the way bystanders helped victims.
  • Disaster preparedness-related news is announced through the #PrepareAthon Twitter feed.
  • Concerned members of the public can conduct drills, test communication plans, safeguard documents, and make plans with neighbors for post-disaster actions.
  • Common steps to follow after a disaster such as tornadoes, hurricanes, active shooter incidents, winter storms, wildfires, and earthquakes alert the public.

How America’s PrepareAthon could potentially save lives:

Active Shooter Scenarios

America’s PrepareAthon offers useful advice for active shooter incidents. Here is what you can learn:

  • Find active shooter training classes, which are held at various locations throughout the country.
  • Discern the importance of quickly running, hiding, or fighting (if necessary).
  • Take first aid classes which instruct students in emergency procedures, such as how to tie a tourniquet.
  • Determine when to report suspicious activity to law enforcement.

Winter Storms

Graphic: PlanSevere winter storms bring ice, freezing rain, and potentially crippling quantities of snow, posing risks to first responders as well as the general public.

How to properly manage a major winter storm:

  • Prepare by stocking up on valuable supplies, such as food and water.
  • Create a backup heat source in case electrical or gas power are compromised.
  • Understand the potential dangers of fallen power lines, which can be pulled down by ice accumulating on trees.
  • Prepare your car by keeping the tank full to prevent the gas line from freezing. Also, pack extra blankets and water in your car as well as chains.
  • Set outside faucets to trickle to keep the pipes from freezing.
  • Create a travel bag containing several layers of clothing, a first aid kit, and signaling devices.
  • Prepare a “Go Bag.”

Remember that safety is a daily priority, not just on September 30th during America’s PrepareAthon. Take advantage of the resources offered through FEMA and other agencies, which can provide you and building occupants with lifesaving tips. 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.

September is National Preparedness Month – Are You Ready?

Thursday, September 1st, 2016

Fail to Prepare, Prepare to Fail reminderSeptember marks National Preparedness Month, an annual awareness campaign sponsored by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The event is intended to encourage individuals and businesses to take steps to proactively plan for disasters. The need for such awareness is great, since 60 percent of American adults say they have yet to put together and/or practice an emergency plan.

This year’s theme is “Don’t Wait, Communicate. Make Your Plan Today.”NPM15_logo2


The campaign also features a sub-theme for each week of the month

  • Week 1: Kick-off to National Preparedness Month
  • Week 2: Preparing Family and Friends
  • Week 3: Preparing through Service
  • Week 4: Individual Preparedness
  • Week 5: Lead-up to National Day of Action on September 30

Since a well-made emergency kit or “go-bag” (AKA a Bug-Out Bag) is the epitome of preparedness, we thought it fitting to focus this week’s post on how to prepare your own kit. With the right “go-bag,” you will be ready for any type of emergency and able to take care of yourself and possibly help others.

Include These Items in Your Disaster Kit

  • A container for storage. If the kit will be stored in your home or office, you could use a new 33-gallon trash can. If you plan to stow the bag in the trunk of your car, consider using a large backpack or duffel.
  • A fixed-blade knife
  • A paper map of the immediate area
  • A portable, hand-crank radio or a battery-powered radio with extra batteries
  • Blankets or sleeping bagsEmergency car kit on white background
  • Books to read, games for kids to play
  • Can opener
  • Cash, preferably in small denominations
  • Copies of personal documents such as birth certificates, passports, deeds, proof of address, insurance policies, etc.
  • Duct tape
  • Emergency contact information (Don’t rely on the information contained in your cell phone, as cell service could be temporarily disrupted depending on the type of emergency.)
  • Enough food for up to three days, per person if evacuated, and enough for seven days per person at home.
  • Enough water for one gallon per day, per person, for three days if evacuated, and enough for seven days per person at home.
  • Extra clothing and a spare set of shoes (If packing for children, remember to swap out sizes as they grow.)
  • Extra set of house and car keys
  • First-aid kit with adhesive bandages, cold packs, sanitizer, gauze, tweezers, and antibiotic ointment
  • Latex-free disposable gloves
  • LED flashlights – especially valuable for building occupants who might need to spend the night in the dark following a major disaster
  • Liquid bleach
  • Matches
  • Multi-purpose tool, such as a Leatherman
  • Mylar-coated space blankets, which conserve heat and serve as signals
  • N-95 or surgical masks (in case air quality is compromised)
  • Pay-per-use cell phone and chargers, in case yours is damaged during the disaster
  • Personal hygiene items
  • Pet supplies including water and food as well as bowls and medication
  • Plastic sheeting
  • Portable water containers, ideally in non-breakable containers
  • Prescription drugs, especially insulin, inhalers, or other life-dependent medicines (seven-day supply)
  • Prescription eyeglasses, reading glasses, and/or contact lenses
  • Rain gear
  • Scissors
  • Stainless steel water bottle that can withstand boiling water, if necessary (to purify drinking water)
  • Towels
  • Whistle
  • Work gloves

When preparing a go-bag, consider the types of disasters you’re likely to encounter in your area. For example, if you live in a hurricane zone, pack dry clothes, ponchos, waterproof containers, and water purification tools. In wildfire country, pack breathing masks and extra water. If you live in Tornado Alley, add bike helmets to your kit, to keep your head safe from flying debris and add sturdy shoes to keep your feet safe while walking around devastated areas.images-1

For home or business, consider these additional items for managing a disaster that won’t fit into a traditional go-bag:

  • A portable generator, along with extra gasoline
  • Large LED lamps
  • Long-term food storage containers should be on hand and should be stocked to feed everyone in the home for at least two weeks
  • Water barrels and various accessories to purify and periodically clean the water

Develop a Communication Plan

As part of National Preparedness Month, the Federal Emergency Management (FEMA) agency offers tips for creating a family communication plan for usage during an emergency. Such a plan is as important as food or water because it provides a guide for staying connected with loved ones when disaster strikes.

To create the plan:

  • Collect information about each family member including health history, as well as contact information for their physicians.
  • Print the contact information and ensure every member of the family has a copy in their bag. Also, consider posting a copy in a central area of the home.
  • Make sure that contact and communication information expressly details meeting places after disaster.
  • Practice following directions in the communication plan, including drilling children so they will memorize phone numbers and necessary safety steps to take following an emergency.

Maintaining a state of preparedness is essential for every month of the year, not just during September. 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.

June is National Pet Preparedness Month

Tuesday, June 21st, 2016
Image provided courtesy of FEMA

Photo courtesy of FEMA

According to the American Humane Association, June is National Pet Preparedness Month. Pet safety is important because animals suffer in the face of natural and man-made disasters in many of the same ways as their human counterparts. The American Veterinary Medical Foundation reports that 36.5 percent of American households include a dog, 30.4 percent have a cat, 3.1 percent own a bird and 1.5 percent include a horse. With such robust pet-representation and because our corporate mascot, RJ the Firedog, is a Dalmatian, we thought it fitting to focus this week’s post on the importance of making safety preparations for your pets.

Whether the disaster you and your pet face affects an entire community of just your household, there are steps you can take before emergency strikes:

  1. Order a pet alert sticker. Offered free of charge from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), these stickers are placed near the front door to alert first responders about the presence of a pet. In addition to noting on the sticker whether pets have been evacuated, information should include the types and numbers of pets in the home.

    Photo courtesy of FEMA   

    Photo courtesy of FEMA

  2. Choose designated care givers or arrange a safe haven. Pets should never be left behind in unsafe conditions. So, before disaster strikes, contact your vet to ask for contact information for suitable boarding kennels and foster care shelters for pets. Click here for information about local animal shelters.
  3. Identify dog-friendly hotels and motels in the area, in case your entire family is evacuated. Or ask friends and relatives if they would be willing to temporarily house your pet if the need arises.
Photo courtesy of FEMA

Photo courtesy of FEMA

During an emergency

  • Stay calm. This will help you handle the disaster and, since pets can sense emotion, it will help lessen their stress.
  • Bring pets indoors, at the first sign of an emergency. Animals can easily become disoriented and could wander away during a crisis.
  • Create a “lost pet” flier to store on your smartphone, so you will be prepared to instantly share via social media, if your pet is lost.
  • Prepare an emergency kit for your pets.

What to include in a pet preparedness kit (FEMA recommends building one for humans and another one specifically for pets. And the American Red Cross and CDC implore pet owners to include their furry friends in emergency prep.):

  • Water – enough for at least three days
  • A week’s supply of canned or dry dog food (Don’t forget the can opener!)

    Image courtesy of FEMA

    Image courtesy of FEMA

  • Bowls for food and water
  • 2-week supply of prescription pet meds
  • Collar & leash and/or pet carrier (Make sure all tags include updated information or consider having your pet micro-chipped.)
  • Medical records, including record of immunizations
  • First Aid Kit with pet-specific items
  • Contact list including info for pet-friendly hotels and veterinarians
  • Favorite toys and comfort items
  • Disposable bags for dogs, litter boxes for cats
  • Photo of your pet
  • Flashlight
  • Blanket
  • Click here for a list of supplies to include in your emergency kit for humans.

Be sure to think about ways to #BeSafe all of the time, not only during pet preparedness month and not just relative to your pets. After all, preparation for humans and pets can save lives. 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.

7 Safety Resolutions for 2016

Tuesday, January 5th, 2016
Resolve to Be Ready in 2016

Resolve to Be Ready in 2016

According to StatisticBrain.com, 45 percent of Americans make New Year’s resolutions, but only eight percent actually succeed in achieving them. So maybe the first resolution you should make this year is to keep the resolutions you make! Our idea for ensuring success? Buck the trend of focusing your goals on popular resolutions involving weight, money and relationships in favor of resolving to be safe.

Seven safety resolutions for 2016:

  1. Review recent history. Where safety is concerned, consider the steps you took to be safe in 2015 as well as the emergencies that arose, so you can identify emergency strengths and weaknesses. For example, did anyone slip or fall at one of your properties in 2015? If so, how was the incident handled? What steps can be taken to prevent future accidents? The National Safety Council offers several ideas for reducing the risk of slips and falls.Emergency fire exit door  sign icon
  1. Plan for earthquakes. Review your earthquake preparedness plan, making sure that evacuation routes are clear and furniture, boilers and water heaters are secure. If your building is located in an earthquake-prone area such as Southern California, use this interactive map to see if your building is located on an active fault line. Understanding the severity of the risk can aid in earthquake planning.
  1. Remove clutter throughout the building. Hallways that are littered with boxes impede safe passage. So make sure stairwells remain accessible and that exits are clearly marked. For suggestions about preparing exit routes and creating a fire prevention plan, check out the emergency evacuation fact sheet on the OSHA website.
  1. Reduce fire risks. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), cooking equipment is the leading cause of fires that start at home. As for nonresidential buildings, the most recent available data from FEMA (for 2013) suggests the leading reported causes of fires are cooking, followed by arson, carelessness and heating equipment. Prominently display safety guidelines for heating food, reporting suspicious behavior and carefully dealing with electricity and open flames.
  1. Assemble a “Go-kit.” After any emergency, building occupants might need to shelter in place or move to a safe location on your property, potentially for days. The important components of a go-kit are one gallon of water per person, for three days, non-perishable food, flashlights, medications, first-aid kit, whistle, hand-crank or battery-operated radio (and extra batteries) and emergency blankets. Learn more about assembling an effective go-kit from the Red Cross.
  1. Emphasize cybersecurity. IT security experts predict 2016 will bring an increase in cybersecurity threats such as ransoming, cloud infiltration, identity theft, and advanced phishing. The damages from a hacking attempt and possible leak of electronic data can be enormous. Learn best practices to prevent cybersecurity breaches, such as using strong passwords, limiting access to key employees, and regularly installing software updates and patches that can plug security holes.Be Prepared
  1. Subscribe to the Allied Universal Training System by Universal Fire/Life Safety Services. The system helps commercial, residential, educational, institutional, government, retail and industrial buildings with compliance to fire/life safety codes. Our interactive, building-specific e-learning training system motivates and rewards building occupants instantly! It’s a convenient and affordable solution to all of the training needs of your facility, cuts property management training related workloads by 90% and saves building owners and managers over 50% compared to conventional training! Most importantly, IT SAVES LIVES! For more information about the best system out there, or to subscribe, click here.

The Amerian Red Cross Offers ReadyRating

Tuesday, November 10th, 2015
Courtesy of The American Red Cross. © 2015 The American National Red Cross. All rights reserved.

All photos in this post provided as a courtesy of The American Red Cross. © 2015 The American National Red Cross. All rights reserved.

We, at the Allied Universal Training System by Universal Fire/Life Safety Services, frequently work side-by-side, with an iconic disaster relief agency – the American Red Cross. Although the agency is always at the front lines of a disaster and is best known in that regard, its mission extends beyond immediate relief into disaster preparedness and education, much like our own.

Why is disaster planning so important for business owners? According to FEMA, 40% of small businesses will not reopen following a disaster, a sobering statistic, which illustrates both the challenge in managing a small business and the severe impact disasters can have on otherwise potentially successful companies.

The American Red Cross Rating Program

Courtesy of The American Red Cross. © 2015 The American National Red Cross. All rights reserved.

ReadyRating is designed to help schools, companies, and other organizations prepare for disasters. This free service provides members with access to information about how to both evaluate and improve their disaster planning procedures and save lives… something that we strive to do through our own training modules.

The ReadyRating is promoted by agencies such as the Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD), an agency with which we are proud to partner. We are pleased to join agencies such as LAFD to encourage businesses to participate in the Red Cross program, in order to gauge and improve their disaster readiness. Free membership into ReadyRating provides users with a dashboard that helps them evaluate their level of preparedness. Customized feedback is based on assessment scores, as well as the ability to create an “Organization Manager” with linked member-accounts. The steps and recommendations found within ReadyRating are adopted from scientific research and expert opinions from noted industry professionals.

Courtesy of The American Red Cross. © 2015 The American National Red Cross. All rights reserved.

ReadyRating features a three-step process for participating members:

  1. Conduct an Assessment

Organizations can choose either a “ReadyGo” assessment or a “ReadyAdvance” assessment to determine preparedness. The ReadyGo 25-question version is basic, designed to help companies see the most critical steps they should undertake to best manage disasters. The ReadyAdvance plan is more in-depth, with 60 questions. More comprehensive in nature, ReadyAdvance results effectively measure the merits of an organization’s existing preparedness plan, and provides users with roadmaps for improving their existing plans.

The assessment contains five sections that score the preparedness level of the company, including level of current emergency planning, commitment to preparedness, knowledge of hazards, implementation of the plan, and resiliency of the community.

  1. Create a Well-Informed Emergency Plan

ReadyRating features a template generator that utilizes the company’s assessment information to create an Emergency Action Plan (EAP), specific to the company. The plans are OSHA-compliant, which is a primary concern for businesses required to meet OSHA regulations.

  1. Leverage Expert Resources

Courtesy of The American Red Cross. © 2015 The American National Red Cross. All rights reserved.

The final component of the plan is to encourage businesses to utilize Red Cross resources such as emergency preparedness guides, checklists, and other tools. For example, the resource center on the Red Cross website includes disaster drill forms, emergency contact card templates, and a step-by-step guide for organizing a blood drive. The resources, including videos and guides, are designed to be actionable – offering clear advice to companies that want to strengthen their disaster planning.

Remember that safety is a daily priority, so be sure to think about disaster planning all of the time. 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 our system, or to subscribe, click here.

Celebrating National Preparedness Month

Tuesday, September 15th, 2015

Preparedness Month_grey_houseWhy is September National Preparedness Month? The month was chosen, in part, to honor the victims of the September 11 attacks and, also, because it falls at the height of hurricane season. Sponsored by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), National Preparedness Month is intended to promote individual and business safety preparedness to help people effectively manage man-made threats such as terrorism as well as natural disasters. While safety should be of utmost concern every month, it’s useful for companies to designate an entire month to review and adjust safety plans and procedures.

Here are some initiatives that property managers can take during National Preparedness Month:

Use Available Resources

Billboard promoting knowing where to find your family in an emergency and visiting Ready.gov.

Would you know how to find your family members in an emergency?

The Ready.gov website has a wealth of free safety resources:

  • Information about becoming a safety leader, with classes offered through FEMA, Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT) and other organizations.
  • Disaster-specific information and appropriate responses are offered for power outages, chemical hazards, severe weather, floods and dozens of other scenarios.
  • Information about disaster kits, including wise food choices and management of water resources is crucial for surviving a major emergency.

Revisit Disaster Plans

National Preparedness Month is an ideal time to take a critical look at your facility’s disaster plan. Learn about best practices for disaster management and make sure that your plan matches up to the latest standards. Perhaps your building has changed since the creation of the last plan, with a new addition or additional parking structure, or an influx of new tenants? Walk through every part of the plan to be sure it still makes logical sense for current conditions. You should also talk to building occupants to ensure they have copies of the plan and to address questions and concerns. Work with tenants to nominate floor wardens and other volunteers who can assist others.

The disaster plan should not only cover ways to safely evacuate or handle dangerous situations, but should also provide a road-map for resuming business after the crisis is over. Building occupants will want to return to work and/or their residences as soon as possible following a disaster. So you may want to retain the services of construction/plumbing/ electrical contractors that might be needed for repairs or inspections following a disaster.

Focus on Communication

The official motto of the 2015 National Preparedness Month is “Don’t wait. Communicate.” The theme promotes proactivity among individuals to create and talk about disaster plans. For building managers and owners, communication is crucial to disaster planning:

  • Alert tenants and other parties about how to access disaster plans.
  • Keep building occupants updated about any changes to the plan.
  • Use social media and other channels, such as mobile apps, to send crucial information about upcoming threats and/or to distribute updates after an emergency occurs.

By simply communicating what is being done, property management shows that they care about the well being of occupants and understand the importance of transparent communication.

Review the Details

In addition to reviewing your disaster plan, take time this month to check other areas of your readiness. One of the keys to being prepared is to be proactive, which means checking to make sure you and your team have the tools, supplies and information they need to best handle an emergency.

Here are some areas to evaluate during National Preparedness Month:

  • Check fire extinguishers for expiration dates.
  • Perform routine maintenance and inspection of sprinkler systems.
  • Review insurance coverage.
  • Restock emergency kits with flashlight batteries.
  • Evaluate food and water expiration dates.
  • Review evacuation plans.
  • Make sure designated “safe spot” meeting areas remain ideal.
  • Monitor property management staff members’ knowledge about emergency procedures, including how to shut off water or gas lines, if necessary.

Remember that safety is a daily priority, so be sure to continually consider disaster planning–not just during September. 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 our system, or to subscribe, click here.

New Year’s Safety Resolutions

Tuesday, December 30th, 2014

BeeSafeHow to #BeSafe in 2015  

New Year’s Resolutions. Most people write a few down, even if they have no intention of ever following through. According to USA.Gov, the 10 most popular resolutions are to:

  • Lose weight
  • Volunteer to help others
  • Quit smoking
  • Get a better education.
  • Get a better job
  • Save money
  • Get fit
  • Eat healthier
  • Manage stress
  • Manage debt

Happy New Year 2015

As good as those aspirations are, we propose they fail to incorporate one of the most important goals anyone could make—to #BeSafe! So, as our gift to you for 2015, we have prepared a list of our suggestions for 10 New Year’s Safety Resolutions:

  1. Create/update home and workplace emergency preparedness kits. The contents of your kit will vary depending on individual needs. Set aside a three-day-per-person supply of foodwater and other essentials. Local officials and relief workers will be on the scene after a disaster but they cannot reach everyone immediately. Help could arrive in hours or it could take days for relief workers to get to you.
  2. Develop and practice an emergency preparedness plan. The Ready Campaign and Citizen Corps encourages households, businesses and communities to prepare for emergencies by making plans to be self-reliant for three days without utilities and electricity, water service, access to a supermarket or local services. If you own or manage a facility, make sure tenants and employees are well-informed of emergency procedures. Develop a plan and run periodic drills. Practice makes perfect.
  1. Don’t play with fire. When fires break out, the potential for loss is high if occupants are untrained and proper fire life safety systems are not utilized. So take precautions to make sure you are fire safe, whether you are located in an area with a high risk of wildfire; visiting, living or working inside a high rise building; or just hanging out at home.

New_Year_Resolutions_

  1. Learn CPR. Sudden cardiac arrest, the leading cause of death in adults, accounts for 325,000 annual adult deaths in the United States. Prompt, effective administration of CPR/AED and first aid can mean the difference between life and death.
  2. Take advantage of available vaccines. Because some people second-guess the wisdom of vaccinating their children, once eradicated diseases such as polio and tuberculosis are reemerging. Do your due diligence by researching booster shots your pediatrician suggests. However, refusing critical vaccinations could put the rest of the population at risk.
  3. Learn how to determine whether any given disaster would be best handled by evacuation or sheltering in place. Since every natural or man-made disaster is unique, you won’t be able to predict the best course of action. But, you can educate yourself about the various types of emergencies and how to respond most appropriately in each situation.
  1. Wash your hands often. Use soap and water or hand sanitizer to prevent spreading germs. During flu season, this is especially important! The CDC likens hand washing to a “do-it-yourself” vaccine. Effective hand washing involves five simple and effective steps, including wet, lather, scrub, rinse and dry. Regular hand washing, particularly before and after certain activities, is the best way to remove germs, avoid getting sick, and prevent the spread of germs to others.
  2. Be mindful of safety risks associated with natural disasters. Extreme heat, mudslides, flash floods, tornadoes, hurricanes and earthquakes pose significant and very specific safety-related issues. So the best way to prepare is to research the risks that pertain to your geographic location.
  1. Eat better and move more. Why are these suggestions on a list of safety tips? Because many health-related issues are brought on by lack of exercise and poor diet. So, eat right and keep moving to beef up your immune system. Doing so will help you avoid contagious bugs such as Influenza, and prevent you from developing serious health conditions like Diabetes.
  2. Be careful when you travel. This is important for several reasons:
  • Remain alert at the airport to help circumvent terrorist activity. When you fly, pay attention to suspicious activity and refuse to watch bags for anyone you don’t know.
  • Research the potential health risks associated with your destination (West Africa, relative to Ebola), and take proper precautions.
  • Don’t drink and drive!
  • Do not text while driving. Did you know that people who text while driving are 23 times more likely to get into an accident than those who resist the urge to pick up their cell phones while driving? More than 1.6 million automobile accidents that occurred last year in the U.S. were related to texting while driving (National Safety Council). Put the phone down or pull over to use it. It can wait.

We hope that this blog post will help you make safe choices in 2015 and beyond. One convenient and affordable way to do so 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.

How to Mark National Preparedness Month

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014

National Prep Month 2014 corp

The recent newsworthy earthquakes in Napa, California, in Chile, and off the coast of northern Japan, earlier this month, are sobering reminders that it is always prudent to prepare for major shakers. Since September is National Preparedness Month, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is partnering with communities in Arizona, California, Nevada and Hawaii to encourage families, individuals and businesses to act now to increase preparedness for emergencies of every type throughout the U.S. We, at Allied Universal Training System by Universal Fire/Life Safety Services, join with FEMA to encourage preparedness throughout the month of September and beyond.

Nancy Ward, FEMA Region IX Administrator said, “Preparedness is a shared responsibility. It takes a whole community and this is why you see federal, state, and county government agencies partnering with local municipalities, non-profits, and private businesses to spread the message about the importance of being prepared for emergency situations.”

PrepareAthonNational Preparedness Month is a nationwide, month-long effort hosted annually by the Ready Campaign and Citizen Corps, which encourages households, businesses and communities to prepare and plan for emergencies. One of the key messages is to be prepared in the event of an emergency, which includes making plans to be self-reliant for three days without utilities and electricity, water service, access to a supermarket or local services. People are further encouraged to prepare for the possibility of the unavailability of immediate response from agencies such as police, fire or rescue. According to FEMA, preparing for such disaster realities starts with five important steps:

  1. Stay informed about emergencies that could happen in your community. This year’s campaign will focus on “Family Connection,” encouraging families to prepare.

Identify sources of information in your community that will be helpful before, during and after an emergency. If you are aware of the potential emergencies that could strike your region, you will be better prepared during and after such an event. In other words, if you live in an area where tornadoes strike, take steps to prepare for tornadoes. If you live near a fault line, make sure you understand how to prepare for an earthquake, etc. Also, ask officials about your community’s disaster plans.

  1. Ask Questions:
  • What hazards are most likely?
  • How will I get alerts and warnings?
  • What is the advice and plans for sheltering and evacuation for the hazards that may impact the community?
  • Are there emergency contact numbers I should have for different situations?
  • Are there opportunities for preparedness education and training?
  • Does my community have a plan? If so, can I obtain a copy?
  • What does the plan contain?
  • How often are plans updated?
  • What should I know about this plan?
  • What hazards does it cover?
  1. Make a plan for what to do in an emergency. Include the kids in your plan. For business, make sure you include your employees. If you own or manage a facility, don’t forget your tenants or building occupants.
  2. Build an Emergency Supply Kit. Your kit should include a collection of basic items your household members would need in the event of an emergency.
  • Try to assemble your kit well in advance of an emergency. Since you may have to evacuate at a moment’s notice, be prepared to take essentials with you since you probably won’t have time to search for and/or shop for the supplies you need.
  • Set aside 3-days-per-person supply of foodwater and other essentials. Local officials and relief workers will be on the scene after a disaster but they cannot reach everyone immediately. Help could arrive in hours or it could take days for relief workers to get to you.
  • Additionally, basic services such as electricity, gas, water, sewage treatment and telephones may be cut off for days or even a week, or longer. Your supplies kit should contain items to help you manage during these outages.
  1. Get involved. A variety of activities and events are planned each year to commemorate National Preparedness Month. If you own a business, make sure you get everyone in your firm involved in the effort to prepare. An ideal way to do this is to subscribe to the Allied Universal Training System by Universal Fire/Life Safety Services. Our system allows property management companies to manage one site or an entire portfolio, with all users in the same system. You can train occupants, floor wardens, and fire safety directors; all user training and testing is recorded. Get quick access to building specific Emergency Responder information and other resources.

This year’s National Preparedness Month focuses on establishing family connections in any emergency preparedness plan. For information about preparedness events, check out FEMA’s Ready.Gov website. When a disaster of any kind strikes, prior planning and clear decisive action can help save lives. Our system offers a convenient and affordable solution to all of the training needs of your building(s). Choosing our service cuts property management training-related costs by 90% and saves you over 50% compared to conventional training! More importantly, it saves lives.

Safety in Sochi

Tuesday, January 28th, 2014

Thousands of athletes and their families are either en route or have already arrived to compete in and support the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia. Dubbed by some as the “Security Games,” this year’s competitions have sparked intense scrutiny because of credible terrorist threats levied mostly against the United States, which will likely boast at least 200 athletes and more than 10,000 spectators.

CBS News senior security contributor Michael Morell, a former CIA deputy director, reports that, “the terrorist group that’s threatening the Olympics is considered capable, dedicated, determined and has been around a long time. They’ve already conducted two recent attacks in Russia, and are saying they want to attack during the Games.”

A Quinnipiac poll conducted in the United States last week found that half of the people surveyed believe a terrorist attack at the Winter Olympics is very or somewhat likely.

Despite the warnings, the Obama administration has made it plain they are not warning Americans to stay away from the games. And, according to an article in Time, officials refuse to compare the threat level before Sochi to past Olympics events. One official confirmed that “common sense” advice has been given by their security coordinator for American athletes to refrain from wearing their uniforms beyond Olympic venues, for fear of attracting malevolent attention.

For their part, the U.S. Olympic Committee is informing athletes and coaches about recommended safety precautions. In a statement, Scott Blackmun, chief executive of the U.S. Olympic Committee, said: “The safety and security of Team USA is our top priority.”

Publicized Olympic Safety Precautions:

Other nations are well aware of the security risk attached to any such major event, as well; CNN asserts they are “more coy about their precautions.” Darryl Seibel, spokesman for the British Olympic Association, declined to go into detail about the security measures planned for Team GB in Sochi.

“We will take some extra measures for our delegates,” he said. “But that is not new. We have done that for a number of Games. That’s been part of our planning from the beginning.”

Whether or not you plan to attend the games, there are lots of great safety lessons to be learned from terrorism preparation at the Olympics, which can be applied anytime you are in a large crowd:

  1. The Dept of Homeland Security (DHS) advises people to train, anticipate and drill.
  2. Remain alert about your surroundings. Move or leave if something doesn’t “feel right.”
  3. If you see anything suspicious, report it to authorities.
  4. Take precautions while traveling.
  5. If anyone abandons a package, suitcase or backpack, don’t pick it up. Walk away and inform authorities immediately.
  6. Familiarize yourself with emergency exits so you can act quickly if an emergency occurs.

For more detailed information, see our previous posts about terrorist attacks or download free materials provided by DHS, FEMA, the FBI, or the American Red Cross. 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 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.