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Archive for September, 2011

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 Allied Universal, 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 Allied Universal 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.

Announcing Version 2.5 of the Allied Universal Training System™

Tuesday, September 20th, 2011
Screenshot of Allied Universal Training System Version 2.5

The Allied Universal Training System has been upgraded to Version 2.5

Allied Universal Inc. is proud to announce the release of Version 2.5 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 Allied Universal trainees will enjoy with Version 2.5:

  • A New User Interface
  • New Special Assistance for Evacuation Interface
  • New NOAA Weather Interface
  • New Facebook Interface
  • New Twitter Interface
  • New pop-up notifications

What’s more, new and current Allied Universal trainees will continue to benefit from program features that have made us the e-based safety training program of choice among property managers and building owners from coast to coast: We are approved by every major fire department and are now training more than 350 million square feet across the United States

Version 2.5 of the Allied Universal Training System demonstrates our continued commitment to provide the most user-friendly, complete training system on the market.

Our system offers real-time reporting with just one click which—

  • Identifies tenants that need special assistance in the case of emergency
  • Provides instant access to a list of floor wardens that is shared with building management and the fire department
  • Enhanced Fire Department Access—
    • One home screen allows department access to all Allied Universal System companies in the city
    • Departments can monitor individual building testing and training of floor wardens and fire safety directors.
    • Building-specific emergency manuals, diagrams and maps provide pre-response building information.
    • Automated Features—
    • Automatic personalized certificates are sent to each user via email immediately upon completion
    • Employee compliance reports are prepared for each tenant. View, print or export to Excel.
    • Annual reminders are sent to each user on their training anniversary date.
    • State of the Art Confidentiality and System Control
    • Multiple tiers of system access help control the distribution of information
    • Confidential Information Access is granted for resources such as maps, emergency plans and reports.

The Allied Universal Training System, Version 2.5 gives building owners a complete picture of their emergency preparedness as well as user-friendly interfaces. We map out an exterior refuge map with a satellite picture of each building. We can also include a map of the lobby showing the best exit routes, fire control room location, hose connections, etc.  Elevator banks and stairwells can also be graphed, to show a comprehensive picture of accessibility and egress.

More info about the Allied Universal Training System Version 2.5:

  • 30-day implementation with a simple monthly flats-rate fixed fee
  • All updates, training, and other resources are provided for no additional fee
  • Property managers can easily print and export building training information via their Management section.
  • Training and procedures are available for any kind of disaster, be it manmade or natural

If you own or manage a building, or know someone who does, do them a favor. Let them know about the Allied Universal 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.

Final Thoughts about 9/11–Lessons we’ve learned

Sunday, September 11th, 2011
Twin Towers Memorial

Allied Universal, Inc will never forget the events of 9/11.

Part 4 of a 4-part series

In honor of the 10-year anniversary of 9/11, we have devoted three of our past four blog posts to discuss the 10 lessons the world has learned from that fateful day. We have tried to use our voice as experts in safety and disaster training to recommend emergency precautions that you should take now to give you and your family, friends, employees and colleagues the best chance of surviving another terrorist attack. In this, our fourth and final installment, we’ll cover the final lessons we’ve learned since that fateful day.

Remembering 9/11:

The September 11 attacks were a series of four coordinated suicide attacks by al-Qaeda upon the United States on Tuesday, September 11, 2001. On that morning, 19 al-Qaeda terrorists hijacked four commercial passenger planes. The hijackers intentionally crashed two of the airliners into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City, killing everyone on board and thousands of people working in the buildings.

Both towers collapsed within two hours, destroying nearby buildings and damaging others. A third airliner was crashed into the Pentagon. Hijackers redirected the fourth plane toward Washington, D.C., targeting either the Capitol Building or the White House, but were diverted when passengers tried to retake control. The airliner crashed in a field in rural Pennsylvania, leaving no survivors.

Nearly 3,000 victims and 19 hijackers died in the attacks. Among the 2,753 victims who died in the attacks on the World Trade Center, there were 343 firefighters, 60 police officers from New York City and the Port Authority, and 8 private EMTs and paramedics. Another 184 people were killed in the attack on the Pentagon. The overwhelming majority of casualties were civilians, including nationals of more than 70 countries.

Lessons about terrorism we’ve learned from 9/11:

  1. Clean-up could take many months and cost millions. Counting the value of lives lost as well as property damage and lost production of goods and services, losses associated with the events of September 11, 2001 exceed $100 billion. According to the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security, “The loss in stock market wealth—the market’s own estimate arising from expectations of lower corporate profits and higher discount rates for economic volatility—the price tag approaches $2 trillion.” The best way to prepare for this type of hit is to try to prevent attacks. As a nation, over the past 10 years, we have improved security on many levels. As a building owner or property manager, make sure you take precautions to beef up security.
  2. Public fear, fed by extensive media coverage, may continue for a prolonged period of time. As a result, workplaces, government offices and schools might be closed. According to the Huffington Post, television stations broadcasted more than 3,000 hours of 9/11 coverage. And while much of that coverage was desirable and understandable, portions might have been unnecessary and contributed to anxiety…especially among children. If another large-scale terrorist attack occurs, monitor the amount of associated television programming you allow your children to view. Likewise, try not to watch every televised minute of disaster coverage, yourself. While you will benefit from information about things like restrictions on transportation, make sure you take breaks from the madness to eat and rest and talk to people in the real world.
  3. Terrorism has many faces. Racial profiling is not only unfair but insufficient because terrorists come in all shapes and sizes. Consider terrorists like the Unabomber Ted Kaczynski, Timothy McVeigh, Clayton Lee Waagner, Irv Rubin or the two females who have been blamed for the Twin Metro Blasts in Moscow. Terrorists don’t always wear turbans and speak Arabic. So pay attention to anything out of the ordinary and report it to local authorities.
  4. The world was forever changed by the events of 9/11. Time Magazine writer Nancy Gibbs wrote that we, as Americans, now share: “a sharp resolve to just be better, bigger, to shed the nonsense, rise to the occasion.”

As you honor the innocent and brave folks who died on that fateful day in September 10 years ago, give note to portraits of courage, self-sacrifice and hope instead of focusing on images of the jets and the flames. Paying homage to the brave will encourage us all.

When a disaster strikes, prior planning and clear decisive action can help save lives.  For the latest emergency management training for facility/building managers, contact Allied Universal, Inc. Our new Version 2.0 e-based training system offers the best emergency training system with automated and integrated features. Visit rjwestmore.com for more information and remember to BE SAFE.

Celebrate National Preparedness Month by Making Sure You’re Ready!

Tuesday, September 6th, 2011
natural disasters

We can learn from things that are handled right in natural disasters.

Recent events, such as Hurricane Irene, the east coast earthquake and this year’s tornadoes in Tuscaloosa and Joplin are critical reminders about the importance of preparedness. So we’d like to take a one-week break from our ongoing series about lessons learned from 9/11 to discuss ways that you and your community can prepare for natural disasters. It seems particularly fitting we do so now, since September is National Preparedness Month.

FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate kicked off National Preparedness Month last week with a visit to New York. He posed one important question: “Are you ready?”

As active members National Preparedness Month Coalition, we at Allied Universal Inc. would like to echo Fugate’s implied call to action. We believe the more people are aware of available online and real world tools, the more prepared they will be to cope and bounce back when disasters strike.

A great way to learn how to prepare is to learn from past mistakes. This method is effective because people are always quick to point fingers and paws and complain. But let’s take a different tact this week, by learning from what went right in the recent events on the east coast as well as Missouri and Alabama.

Hurricane Irene: For Washington, D.C., Hurricane Irene was not only the most dangerous weather system to rip through Washington in some time, but it was also a test of whether the beleaguered power company, Pepco, could claw its way out of the basement of public opinion by keeping the lights on and restoring them when they blinked out.

Pepco’s response was to make automated phone calls alerting citizens before the hurricane hit and then to restore power within 24 hours to 140,000 of the 220,000 affected customers. Fewer homes served by Pepco in the District and Maryland suburbs lost power than did those served by neighboring power companies. Pepco bounced back from bad PR by keeping lines of communication open with their customer base. Whatever line of business you are in, make communication an integral part of your emergency management plans.

East Coast Earthquake: Immediately after the 5.9 earthquake centered near Mineral, Virginia, the FAA ordered planes at airports around the country to stay on the ground rather than fly to airports in New York, Philadelphia, New Jersey, Washington, D.C., and Virginia where traffic was temporarily halted. Among major airports in the region, only New York’s LaGuardia continued operations throughout the day. But by late afternoon, traffic at all the airports was returning to normal, although delays were expected into the evening. Controlling transportation is crucial to effective disaster management.

Tornadoes: According to an article in USA Today, the Alabama tornado killed 41 people, devastated vital parts of the city’s infrastructure, destroyed or damaged more than 7,000 buildings and affected 10% of local businesses. It was part of a system of twisters that killed 238 people in Alabama alone and another 100 or so in other states across the South.

Tuscaloosa is said to be further along the road to rebuilding than Joplin, Mo., which was struck by a tornado that killed at least 125, blasted 2,000 homes, took out one of the city’s two hospitals, ravaged big-box stores and smashed several hundred small businesses.

Thankfully, funds for survivors and reconstruction are coming in from many sources, including the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and other federal agencies, state and local governments, private insurers, volunteer and faith-based organizations and other non-governmental sources.

Although the rebuilding efforts will likely take years and millions of dollars, thanks to coordinated efforts of state and federal agencies, these devastated communities are on their way to recovery. Handling any large scale disaster, whether manmade or natural, requires coordination and cooperation.

When a disaster strikes, prior planning and clear decisive action can help save lives.  For the latest emergency management training for facility/building managers, contact Allied Universal, Inc. Our new Version 2.0 e-based training system offers the best emergency training system with automated and integrated features. Visit rjwestmore.com for more information and remember to BE SAFE.