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April 2017 Distracted Driving Month

Tuesday, April 4th, 2017

Don’t be a distracted driver.

#BeSafe on the Road

April is National Distracted Driving Month. Increasing awareness about distracted driving is a critical endeavor, as the National Safety Council reports that 40,207 people died in motor vehicle accidents in 2016. That figure represents a 6% increase over 2015 and a 14% increase over 2014 — marking the most dramatic two-year escalation in 53 years. ​Experts agree the increase in accidents is in direct proportion to the easy accessibility of technological distractions. In other words, the more available tech-related temptations, the more likely American roadways will be filled with distracted drivers.

New York Times Business Writer Neal E. Boudette explained the phenomenon by saying, “Cars and phones now offer advanced voice controls and other features intended to keep drivers’ eyes on the road, (but) apps like Facebook, Google Maps, Snapchat and others have created new temptations that drivers and passengers find hard to resist.”

Fleet Management Weekly quotes Deborah Hersman, president and chief executive for the National Safety Council, as asking, “Why are we O.K. with this? Complacency is killing us.”

According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, “Nearly half of all people (surveyed) say they feel less safe (driving) than they did five years ago.” AAA attributes this reaction to the fact that (while they are behind the wheel) drivers spend more than half their time focused on things other than driving.

AAA also references a distracted driving term known as “latency,” which means that texting while stopped at a traffic light or while stopped on congested freeways can impact full driving engagement, for an average of 27 seconds after texting stops. Replicated across thousands of cars during rush hour, this can add up to significant delays in addition to associated accidents.

Experts agree that cell phone use, which includes talking and texting, remains the most common distraction to safe driving. In response, many states and local jurisdictions are passing laws that address these behaviors. Leading the charge is the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), whose message to all drivers is straightforward: “Don’t use cell phones or other electronic devices while driving, regardless of the current law.” 

10 Tips for Managing Common Driving Distractions

  1. Turn it off and stow it. Turn your phone off or switch it to silent mode before you get in.

the car. Then stow it away so that it’s out of reach.

  1. Spread the word. Record a message on your phone that tells callers you’re driving and will get back to them when you’re off the road, or sign up for a service that offers this feature.
  2. Pull over. If you need to make a call, drive to a safe area first.
  3. Use your passengers. Ask a passenger to make the call or respond to a text for you.

    Rely on passengers to make calls and provide directions while you’re behind the wheel.

  4. X the Text. Don’t ever text and drive, surf the web or read your email while driving. It’s dangerous and against the law in most states. Even voice-to-text isn’t risk-free.
  5. Know the law. Familiarize yourself with state and local laws before you get in the car. Some states and localities prohibit the use of hand-held cell phones in addition to texting. GHSA offers a handy state law chart.
  6. Prepare. If using a GPS device, enter your destination before you start to drive. If you prefer a map or written directions, review them in advance. If you need help while driving, ask a passenger to assist you or pull over to a safe location to change your GPS or review your map/directions.
  7. Secure pets. Unsecured animals can be a big distraction in the car.
  8. Mind the kids. Pull over to a safe place to address situations involving children in the car.
  9. Focus on driving. Multi-tasking behind the wheel is dangerous. Refrain from eating, drinking, reading, grooming, smoking, and any other activity that takes your mind and eyes off the road.

Remember These Do’s and Don’ts.

While you are driving, DO NOT:

  1. Text or send Snapchats.
  2. Use voice-to-text features in your vehicle’s dashboard system.
  3. Update Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Vimeo, Vine or other social media.
  4. Check or send emails.
  5. Take selfies or film videos.
  6. Input destinations into GPS (while the vehicle is in motion).
  7. Call or message someone else when you know they are driving.

While you are driving, DO:

  1. Reserve phone conversations in your vehicle for emergency situations only, via hands-free or Bluetooth devices.
  2. Stay on top of the distracted driving issue all year long by signing up for the National Safety Council’s free e-newsletter.
  3. Take the attentive driver pledge.
  4. Share your pledge on social media.
  5. Create awareness in your workplace, at home or in your local community by sharing the distracted driving message.

Remember that safety is important for everyone across the country, whether on the roads or not. 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 Fire Life Training System, which has been designed to help improve and save lives. For more information about the best system out there, or to subscribe, click here.

Safe Springtime Travel

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2016

Terrorist has dynamite bomb in jacket. Train approaching underground station.A series of bomb explosions at Brussels Airport and a metro station in the city this week have led to heightened travel alerts across the world. Based on these events, as well as numerous other recent terrorist attacks, it is imperative that travelers exercise caution this spring. Our hearts go out to everyone whose life was affected by the Brussels’ attacks.

According to Orbitz, each March, 55 percent of college students travel by plane to celebrate Spring Break, with the most popular destinations including Las Vegas, Cancun and Punta Cana, Mexico. But young adults are not the only springtime wanderers. To wit, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is reportedly preparing to screen more than 65.1 million travelers over the 2016 Spring Break travel season. With the ever-present threat of terrorism, airline passengers can rest assured that safety is the top priority for TSA.security check

“Our dedicated officers do their absolute best to screen passengers both effectively and efficiently, with a primary focus on traveler security,” said Peter V. Neffenger, TSA administrator. “We want to ensure that everyone arrives at their destination safely, while at all times, providing the highest standards of security screening possible.”

But don’t trust your safety entirely to others. Here are five common sense steps you can take to guarantee your own safe travels this Spring Break season:

  1. Remain alert. The less you have to do while at the airport, the more focused and prepared you will be to remain alert about your surroundings. If possible, print boarding passes prior to arriving at the airport or go paperless by downloading the appropriate app onto your smartphone. Arrive early to allow enough time to park, print your boarding pass, check baggage, and proceed through the checkpoint.Vector illustration of airline boarding pass
  2. Keep calm. Passengers who violate rules will cause delays for themselves and everyone behind them. So do your part to keep a lid on traveler rage. Pack liquids, aerosols, gels, creams, and pastes in compliance with the 3-1-1 liquids rule. And avoid wearing large metal jewelry or clothing with large metal embellishments to reduce the possibility of alarming the screening machine.
  3. Watch your stuff. Thieves often case populated places like airports, looking for easy marks. Make sure your purse and carry-on bag are zipped and that your wallet is out of site. If you appear to know what you are doing, you won’t appeal to opportunistic muggers and pickpockets, who will move on to easier prey. Also, if you pay attention to your own belongings, you will be prepared to quickly identify unmanned baggage. If you see an unattended suitcase, report it immediately to airline security.

    Fotolia_89163315_XS

  4. Blend in. Refrain from carrying large quantities of cash. With the prevalence of ATMs in virtually every location, you don’t need to carry large sums of cash. Bring small amounts and keep your credit and debit cards close at hand, to protect yourself from unauthorized purchases as well as identity theft. Also, try to blend in with locals. Pull your camera out only when you’re ready to use it. Watch your footing when taking selfies. And refrain from looking at maps while you are standing in the middle of a crowded public square.
  5. Stay informed. If you are traveling internationally, in advance of your flight, check on travel warnings and alerts released by the state department. Examples of reasons for issuing a travel warning might include unstable government, civil war, ongoing intense crime or violence, or frequent terrorist attacks. Alerts might include an election season that is bound to have many strikes, demonstrations, or disturbances; a health alert like an outbreak of H1N1; or evidence of an elevated risk of terrorist attacks. For example, the U.S. Embassy has released a security message relative to the current situation in Brussels. For domestic travel, check with your airline carrier for flight delays and other updates. Security Alert

Remember that safety is a daily priority. So be sure to think about ways to #BeSafe all of the time, not just while you are traveling. 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.

Summer Safety: Planes, Trains & Automobiles

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2015

Part two of a three-part series

red spider car model on the roadThis summer, whether you plan to enjoy a stay-cation or leave your house for a short or extended period of time, there are several safety-related things to consider. In our ongoing three-week series about summer safety, we will cover safety at home, while traveling, and around water. To read part one of our series, click here. In this part two post, we will focus on ways to ensure personal safety relative to summer travel, whether you are going by plane, train or automobile. Check back next week to read about water safety.

Plane Safety

  • Pack well. In addition to making sure you have all of the clothing and personal care items you need, remember to pack with safety in mind. Leave sharp objects at home. For carry-ons, invest in airline-approved travel containers so you won’t get stopped by security.
  • Never agree to watch a stranger’s bag. If you notice unattended baggage, immediately report it to airport security. Leave that to TSA or the police.
  • Once you have boarded, place your luggage in the overhead compartment directly across the aisle from you so, that you can keep an eye on it to make sure it remains untouched throughout the flight.
  • Most airplane accidents occur during take-off and landing. So booking a nonstop flight won’t just save you time. It may reduce your risk of an in-air incident.

    retro car,road and lighthouse

    #BeSafe on the road this summer.

  • Even on domestic flights, bring your passport with you. During a crisis, U.S. flights could be diverted to Mexican or Canadian airports. If this occurs, you will be glad you have your passport at border crossings.
  • For more airline safety tips, check out OperationLifeSaver.org.

Train Safety

  • Did you know that someone is hit by a train once every three hours? Since trains can come from either direction at virtually any time, be careful when you are near train tracks or in stations.
  • Pay attention to painted or raised markings at the platform edge. And remain at least three feet from the train whenever it is coming in or out of the station.
  • Listen carefully to directions from the train operator or conductor.
  • Be careful getting on and off the train, as there may be a gap between the train and platform or steps.
  • Follow directional signs so you will be sure to cross tracks only when it is safe to do so. Crossing anywhere else is dangerous as well as illegal.
  • For more information about railway safety, check out OperationLifeSaver.org.

Automobile

  • Plan, map and estimate the duration of your drive ahead of time. Then, let family and friends know about your plans.
  • As you plan, remember to expect the unexpected—for instance, you may run into roadwork, road closures, slow traffic or crowded highways. So try to allow enough wiggle room in your schedule so you won’t be tempted to speed to make time.
  • Before you leave, check the tires to make sure they are properly inflated and have plenty of meat on them.
  • Hire a mechanic or inspect the car yourself. Evaluate the engine, battery, hoses, belts and fluids for wear and proper levels, and check the A/C.
  • Test the vehicle’s interior and exterior lights, wipers and washer fluid.
  • Prepare an Emergency Roadside Kit. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has some great recommendations about what to include in your kit.

Check back next week, when we will wrap up our series with our final summer safety post, about water safety. We hope 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.

How to #BeSafe this Summer

Tuesday, July 7th, 2015
Keep calm and enjoy summer

#BeSafe this Summer

Summertime equates to fun. Barbecues, backyard parties, picnics, swimming pools and travel beckon. But your fun in the sun could be short-lived if you fail to take summertime safety precautions. To help you make the summer of 2015 your best ever, we have compiled some tips to help you avoid potential pitfalls that could dampen your joy.

Summertime Safety Starts at Home

Whether you plan to enjoy a staycation or leave your house for a short or extended period of time, there are several things to consider, which will keep your home safe this summer. In this three-part series, we will cover ways to protect yourself in the summer whether you plan to leave or stay at home. In the next several blog posts, we will cover safety at home, while traveling, and in and around water.

Beach accessories on the wood background.

This week, we will focus on ways to make your home safe.

  • If you plan to leave for vacation, make copies of all of your important information, so you will have everything on hand. For example, record your credit card account numbers as well as customer service phone numbers in case you notice fraudulent activity on your statements while you are away from home. Also, don’t forget to pack vital documents such as insurance cards, passports and emergency contacts.
  • Before you leave, lock every door and window in your home. And, if applicable, call your alarm company to let them know you will be on vacation. This is critical even if your trip is short. According to the FBI, more than half (53%) of home burglaries happen during the day. So homeowners should secure doors and windows every time they leave their home—even if they plan to be gone for only a few hours.
  • No matter how excited you are to share your travel experiences on social media, resist the urge to post everything on Facebook or Twitter. Thieves have learned to check out social media posts to determine targets of opportunity. When it comes to your house, keep them guessing.
  • Don’t leave clues about your absence on your front porch. Nothing says “empty house” more than having stacks of newspapers on the porch or mail hanging out of an overstuffed box. You can avoid both by putting a vacation hold on subscriptions as well as mail.
  • Make your home as unattractive to burglars as possible. Make sure shrubs are well trimmed, so there is nowhere for thieves to hide. Consider installing a security system with cameras to deter would-be robbers.
  • Take steps to make sure your house is as difficult as possible to break into.
    1. Don’t ever hide a key under the mat or above the door.
    2. Use heavy, solid doors with deadbolt locks.
    3. Don’t forget about doors between an attached garage and the house. Purchase and install as heavy duty equipment on it as you do for the front and back doors.
    4. Install poles so windows and sliding glass doors won’t slide.
    5. Light up your house with motion sensors and floodlights. Thieves don’t like to operate on stage. So lighting is an inexpensive way to burglar-proof your home.
    6. Prominently display security signs…even if you don’t subscribe to a security system. The idea is to deter as many would-be thieves as possible.
    7. If you do subscribe to a security system, don’t write your passcode on a post-it and put it next to your keypad. Doing so will defeat the entire purpose of having the system.

Check back next week, when we will cover personal safety relative to summer travel. We hope 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.

Patriot Day 2014

Tuesday, September 9th, 2014

911 2014What is Patriot Day?

On September 11, 2001, four planes were hijacked by terrorists who deliberately flew three of the planes into the Pentagon in Washington D.C. and both of the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City. The fourth plane crashed into a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. The loss of life and damage that these hijackings caused remain the largest act of terrorism ever committed on United States’ soil.

Patriot Day is not to be confused with Patriot’s Day, which commemorates two of the earliest battles in the American Revolutionary War (Lexington and Concord in 1775). In observance of 9/11/2001, when nearly 3,000 people died (including 227 civilians and 19 hijackers aboard four planes and three emergency responders), we mark each September 11 as Patriot Day. Since Patriot Day is not a federal holiday, schools and businesses do not close and public transit systems run on their regular schedules. But many national observances are made:

  • Flags are prominently displayed outside American homes, inside the White House and on all United States government buildings in the world. Some flags are flown at half-mast as a mark of respect to those who died.
  • A moment of silence is often observed at 8:46 AM (Eastern Daylight Time). This marks the time that the first plane flew into the World Trade Center.
  • Some communities, particularly in the areas directly affected by the attacks, hold special church services or prayer meetings.
  • People who personally experienced the events in 2001 or lost loved ones, may lay flowers or visit memorials.

9/11 Memorial at World Trade Center Ground ZeroTo commemorate Patriot Day, we at the Allied Universal Training System by Universal Fire/Life Safety Services would like to call attention to just 10 of the myriad lessons learned from the events of 9/11:

  1. Terrorism Hits Close to Home. Before 9/11, Americans tended to feel secure at home. September 11 made us realize that terror is next door instead of on the other side of the world.
  2. Heroes are everywhere. As a nation, we are at our best when times are at their worst.
  3. Don’t Judge a Book by its cover. Terrorism has many faces. So it is important to avoid judging people based on their race, religion, sex, or age.
  4. Air travel is integral to our way of life. When air travel completely ceased the week after 9/11, our entire country was at a standstill. We now realize how crucially important air travel is to our way of life and how important it is to safeguard the entire process.
  5. America remains vulnerable. Terrorism is a post 9/11-fact-of-life. As a nation, we were previously mostly aware of terrorist activities in foreign lands but did not expect them at home. Although security is tight and our defenses are up, we remain at risk.
  6. We can’t let the terrorists win. Although it might be tempting to hide and alter our lives greatly because of the fear generated by the 9/11 attacks, doing so would only help terrorists accomplish their goals. Our way of life is worth preserving and protecting.
  7. We each need to do our part. Never leave your bags unattended when you’re in a public location. Be aware of your surroundings. Speak up if you witness anything suspicious.
  8. Training is important. DHS has developed a variety of infrastructure protection training and educational tools for partners at the state and local level. Since 9/11, in total, more than 35,000 partners have taken risk mitigation training on a range of topics.
  9. Our resolve remains strong. As a result of 9/11, in many ways, we are stronger than we were before the attacks.

  10. Preparation is imperative. The best way to handle a disaster of any kind is to prepare long before it strikes. Our system is designed to provide online life safety training because it guarantees time efficiency, offers inexpensive rates, and helps bring your buildings up to code.

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.

MERS Virus—What You Need to Know  

Tuesday, May 6th, 2014

MERS corp 2
The Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) has reported and verified the first case of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) infection in the United States. Based on this information, clinicians and health officials should consider MERS-CoV infection a possibility in people who have traveled from the Arabian Peninsula and neighboring countries. This information is particularly important to infectious disease specialists, intensive care physicians, primary care physicians, and infection specialists, as well as emergency departments and microbiology laboratories. Although there is only one confirmed case in the U.S. to date, the CDC has issued a Health Advisory.

Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) is a viral respiratory illness. MERS belongs to the coronavirus family that includes the common cold and SARS, or severe acute respiratory syndrome, which caused more than 800 deaths globally in 2003. Most people with MERS-CoV developed severe acute respiratory illness with symptoms of fever, cough, and shortness of breath.

Mers corpUnfortunately, the morbidity rate is high–30% of the people who were infected died. Some people were reported as having a mild respiratory illness. MERS is caused by a coronavirus called “Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus” (MERS-CoV). Generally speaking, you are not in danger if you have not traveled to or from that region or have not been exposed to someone who has traveled to that region.

Although the origin of MERS is unknown, it likely came from an animal source. In addition to humans, camels in Qatar, Egypt and Saudi Arabia, and a bat in Saudi Arabia have contracted the disease. Camels in a few other countries have also tested positive for antibodies to MERS-CoV, indicating they were previously infected with it or a closely related virus.

Here are some details about the virus:

  • People who have MERS will develop severe acute lower respiratory illness within 14 days after traveling from countries in or near the Arabian Peninsula.
  • Although similar, MERS-CoV is not the same coronavirus that caused severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in 2003. However, like the SARS virus, MERS-CoV is most similar to coronaviruses found in bats. CDC is still learning about MERS.
  • The first known cases of MERS-CoV occurred in Jordan in April 2012.
  • The virus is associated with respiratory illness and high death rates, although mild and asymptomatic infections have been reported too.
  • All reported cases to date have been linked to six countries in the Arabian Peninsula: Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Oman, and Kuwait. Cases in the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Greece, Tunisia, Egypt, and Malaysia have also been reported in persons who traveled from the Arabian Peninsula.
  • There have been a small number of cases in persons who were in close contact with infected travelers.
  • Since mid-March 2014, there has been an increase in cases reported from Saudi Arabia and UAE.
  • Public health investigations are ongoing to determine the reason for the increased cases.
  • No vaccine or specific treatment is currently available.
  • In some cases, the virus has spread from infected people to others through close contact. However, there is currently no evidence of sustained spread of MERS-CoV in community settings.

Countries where cases have been reported:

Countries in the Arabian Peninsula

  • Saudi Arabia
  • United Arab Emirates (UAE)
  • Qatar
  • Oman
  • Jordan
  • Kuwait

Countries with Travel-associated Cases

  • United Kingdom (UK)
  • France
  • Tunisia
  • Italy
  • Malaysia
  • United States of America (USA)

How to protect yourself:

  • Wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact, such as kissing, sharing cups, or sharing eating utensils, with sick people.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces, such as toys and doorknobs.

When to take action:

  1. If you have been in close contact with a symptomatic recent traveler from this area and you develop a fever and acute respiratory illness.
  2. Another way to contract the illness is if you are in close contact with anyone who has a confirmed case of the virus. Testing for MERS-CoV and other respiratory pathogens can be done simultaneously.
  3. If you have been exposed and develop a fever or 100 or higher.
  4. If you develop a fever above 100 degrees, or respiratory symptoms within 14 days following contact with an infected person.

When a disaster of any kind 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.

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.

10 Tips to BE SAFE this Winter; Avoid Weather-Related Traffic Accidents

Tuesday, December 10th, 2013

A cold front is moving across the nation, dumping rain, sleet, hail and snow, icing roads, compromising visibility and generally wreaking havoc on America’s roadways.

National headlines underline the hazards of traveling in severe winter weather conditions:

Five die in weekend weather-related Texas accidents.

At Least 14 Deaths As Ice, Snow Create Dangerous Travel in Plains, South.

Deadly Storm System Moves East, Threatens Holiday Travel

Winter Storm Brings Snow, Traffic Accidents to Region

25 Weather-related Wrecks after Winter Weather Hits the Region

 

Unfortunately, driving in hazardous conditions is not always optional. So follow these 10 tips for winter travel safety:

  1. Stay home. If you don’t have to go out in poor weather, don’t. Even if you can drive well in the snow, others who are on the road may be inept. Don’t tempt fate!
  2. Don’t warm up your car in an enclosed area, such as a garage. Annually, 400 people die from unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning.
  3. Before heading out, do safety checks on your vehicle. Make certain your tires are properly inflated and you have plenty of gas in case you get stuck. Also, you should keep your gas tank at least half full to avoid gas line freeze-up.
  4. Don’t mix radial tires with other tire types. TireRack.com explains, “Drivers should avoid mixing tires with different tread patterns, internal constructions or sizes, and use identical tires on all of their vehicle’s wheel positions in order to maintain the best control and stability.”
  5. Every single time you get into your vehicle, use your seat belt. The CDC reports, “Adult seat belt use is the most effective way to save lives and reduce injuries in crashes. Yet millions of adults do not wear their seat belts on every trip.” Also of note, most accidents occur within a 25-mile radius of drivers’ homes. So don’t make the mistake of assuming you are safest while driving in familiar territory.
  6. Don’t drive while you’re tired. Rest before getting behind the wheel.
  7. Avoid using your parking brake in cold, rainy and snowy weather.
  8. Never use cruise control when driving on slippery surfaces (including surfaces which are wet, icy, and sandy or covered with salt and cinders).
  9. Look and steer in the direction you want to go, since your reflex will be to point the steering wheel wherever your eyes are focused.
  10. If you are driving in the snow:
  • Drive slowly. Everything takes longer on snow-covered roads—accelerating, stopping, turning—nothing happens as quickly as on dry pavement. Driving slowly will allow plenty of time to maneuver.
  • The normal dry pavement following distance of three-to-four seconds should be increased to eight-to-ten seconds. Increasing this margin of safety will provide more time in case you need to unexpectedly stop.
  • Applying the gas slowly to accelerate is the best method for regaining traction and avoiding skids.
  • If you skid out, don’t try to move in a hurry.
  • Take plenty of time to slow down for stop signs and stoplights. It takes longer than usual to slow down when driving on icy roads.
  • Know your brakes. Keep the heel of your foot on the floor and use the ball of your foot to apply firm, steady pressure on the pedal.
  • If you can avoid it, don’t stop. There’s a big difference in the amount of inertia it takes to start moving from a full stop versus how much it takes to continue moving while still in a roll. If you can slow down enough to keep rolling until a traffic light changes, do it.
  • Don’t power up hills. Applying extra gas on snow-covered roads could start your wheels spinning. Instead, try to generate a little inertia before you reach the hill so you can let it carry you to the top. As you reach the crest of the hill, reduce speed and proceed downhill as slowly and carefully as possible.

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.

Summer Sun Safety Tips

Tuesday, August 13th, 2013

We’ve still got several more weeks left of summer sun. Are you taking steps to make sure your family and friends remain sun-safe? Whether you are boating, swimming, lying out in the sun or barbecuing in the backyard, it’s important to understand the dangers of unprotected exposure to the elements. There are lots of consequences for excessive sun exposure—sunburn, premature aging of the skin and skin cancer, to name a few.

In the Continental United States, the most dangerous time of the day to go outdoors is between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Harmful UV rays damage the skin. So if you are going to spend any time outside this summer, use sunscreen with an SPF (Sun Protection Factor) of at least 15. Also, make sure the product you buy provides protection from UVA and UVB rays. Ultraviolet radiation is composed of three wavelengths: UVA, UVB and UVC. While UVC isn’t a concern for skin cancer, UVA and UVB play different roles when it comes to tanning, burning and aging.

The Skin Cancer Foundation reports that: “With the ongoing debate about the best way to get Vitamin D and the controversy surrounding tanning beds, there is a huge amount of misinformation surrounding ultraviolet radiation (UV). However, one thing is clear: UV radiation is the main factor responsible for skin cancers, including Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC), Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC) and possibly Melanoma. In fact, the National Institutes of Health and the World Health Organization have identified broad spectrum UV as a human carcinogen.”

While the differences between UVB and UVA need to be further explored, exposure to the combination of UVB and UVA is a proven, powerful attack on the skin. It can create irreversible damage that ranges from sunburn to premature aging to skin cancer. So protection from these rays is the only way to avoid a myriad of problems.

Did you know that even if you’re using a high-quality sunscreen, you may not be out of the woods? Sunscreen washes off in water and wears off even if you are just lying in the sun. What’s more, every bottle has an expiration date. So be careful to keep your eye on the pull-date so you won’t use inert lotion. The standard shelf life for lotions and creams is three years. But sunscreen can wear out sooner if it is exposed to high temperatures.

Another way to protect your skin is to wear appropriate clothing. Your best bet for sun protection is a lightweight long sleeve shirt and long sleeve pants made from a tightly woven fabric. Research shows that darker colors may provide more protection than lighter ones. A standard, dry T-shirt provides an SPF lower than 15. A better choice altogether is sun-protective clothing.

Hats offer important sun protection. Choose one with a wide brim to shade your face, ears, neck and forehead. For sun safety, the CDC recommends hats or visors made from tightly woven fabric such as canvas. Avoid straw hats which may allow light to filter through. In general, darker hats offer more protection than their lighter colored counterparts.

Another important item for sun safety is a good pair of sunglasses. Sunglasses protect eyes from UV rays and reduce the risk of cataracts. For optimum protection, find a pair that wrap around and offer 100% UV protection. When all else fails and you find yourself unprotected in the sun, head for the shade! Whether you find it with an umbrella or under a tree or the eaves of a building, take cover.

And no matter how much you love the look of tan skin, avoid indoor tanning beds. Indoor tanning has been linked with skin cancers including Melanoma (the deadliest type of skin cancer), Squamous Cell Carcinoma, and cancers of the eye (ocular melanoma). Indoor tanning also causes premature skin aging such as wrinkles and age spots.

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

International Travel Safety Tips

Wednesday, August 7th, 2013

We care about your safety!

If you are currently traveling abroad or are planning an international holiday, Allied Universal asks that you keep the following safe international travel tips in mind.

  • Renew your passport six to nine months before it expires, as some countries will not grant you entry if your passport expiration is eminent.
  • Some countries require both a passport and visa for entry; make sure you know which documentation is needed from you well ahead of time.
  • When traveling to another country, be aware that you must follow their laws. It is important that you are familiar with the local rules and regulations of each place you plan to visit. The U.S. Department of State provides a full list of updated country customs and laws.
  • Make copies of your itinerary, passport and visa. Leave a copy with family or friends and place another in your checked luggage.
  • Do research before you leave. Check to make sure your medical insurance policy apply overseas. If it does not and you plan to stay abroad for awhile, you may want to purchase a temporary supplemental policy.
  • Do not forget to check with your health care provider regarding vaccinations you may need prior to your trip.
  • To stay healthy during your travels, keep the following in mind:
    • When flying, stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids: water, juice and non-caffeinated tea are best.
    • Avoid alcohol and caffeinated beverages such as soda and coffee.
    • Keep your distance. By staying at least six feet away from others while you travel (especially those who appear to be sick), you could decrease your risk of contracting germs.
    • Frequently wash your hands. Use warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds at a time. You should also carry a small bottle of alcohol-based hand sanitizer, for times when water and soap are not readily accessible.
  • Carry your ID at all times. Remember to bring your driver’s license and another set of photo identification. Also, make sure you bring:
    •  Health insurance card
    • Allergy bracelets
    • Emergency contact information.
    • Make sure your passport and visa are signed and the emergency information sections are completed.
  • Safe hotels rooms should be equipped with deadbolt locks, peepholes, fire sprinklers and telephones which allow for outside dialing. Also, look for well-lit interior hallways and grounds.
  • Ask for a hotel room located above the first floor and below the sixth. This will limit easy break-ins. Stay within reach of fire ladders. Always lock your door. Use the peephole and do not leave unsecured valuables in your room.
  • Use the ATM only in groups during daylight hours and use caution when entering your PIN number.
  • Electrical outlets outside North America are generally different. Consider purchasing a travel plug adapter in order to access your appliances via foreign outlets.
  • Avoid being the victim of crime.
    • Do not leave luggage unattended in public places.
    • Keep jewelry to a minimum.
    • Do not carry large amounts of cash or credit cards. Consider purchasing one of the numerous money carrying safety devices available, such as the money belt or leg pouch wallet. If you plan to carry a wallet, keep it close to your body and if you carry a purse, pick one that crosses over your body.
  • While traveling, it is a good idea to familiarize yourself with the location of the nearest U.S. Embassy and Consulate. A list is available at: http://travel.state.gov/. During the event of an emergency while overseas, you can contact 202-501-4444 for assistance.
  • For extra security while traveling, sign up for the State Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program. Registering your travel plans will help the government to assist you in an emergency. The free service is available at https://travelregistration.state.gov/ibrs/ui/.

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