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Safety in Extreme Heat

Tuesday, July 23rd, 2019

City Heat Extreme Heat Summer is a great time to spend time in the sun. But while you’re enjoying summer fun, take steps to make sure you’re careful in extreme heat. According to the National Weather Service, heat is a leading weather-related killer in the United States, resulting in hundreds of fatalities each year and even more heat-related illnesses. Extremely hot and humid weather challenges the human body’s ability to cool itself. When a body heats too rapidly to properly cool itself, or when too much fluid or salt is lost through dehydration or sweating, body temperature rises. If this occurs, the victim may develop a heat-related illness. (more…)

Summer Safety and Fire Prevention Tips Part 2

Tuesday, July 9th, 2013

As we head into the heavy summer fire-season, we agree with FEMA’s assertion that the best fire prevention is fire education. To that end, this blog post is the second in a two-part series that focuses on summer safety tips. Last week, we covered fire safety before, during and after the 4th of July. This week, we will cover additional fire safety tips.

Barbeque Safety

  • Before using a grill, check the connection between the propane tank and the fuel line. Make sure the tubes where the air and gas mix are not blocked.
  • Do not overfill the propane tank.
  • Do not wear loose clothing while cooking at a barbecue.
  • Be careful when using lighter fluid. Do not add fluid to an already lit fire because the flame could flashback up into the container and explode.
  • Keep all matches and lighters away from children. Teach your children to report any loose matches or lighters to an adult immediately. Supervise children around outdoor grills.
  • Dispose of hot coals properly – douse them with plenty of water, and stir them to ensure that the fire is out. Never place them in plastic, paper or wooden containers.
  • Never grill/barbecue in enclosed areas – carbon monoxide could be produced.
  • Make sure everyone knows to Stop, Drop and Roll in case a piece of clothing does catch fire. Call 911 or your local emergency number if a burn warrants serious medical attention.

Campfire Safety

  • Build campfires where they will not spread, away from dry grass and leaves.
  • Keep campfires small, and don’t let them get out of hand.
  • Keep plenty of water and a shovel around to douse the fire when you’re done. Stir it and douse it again with water.
  • Never leave campfires unattended.

Home Smoking Fire Prevention

Of course, the surest way to avoid a cigarette, pipe or cigar-related fire is to stop smoking immediately and discourage smoking in your home or office. However, if you have contact with folks who insist on smoking, encourage the following BE SAFE tips:

  • The safest place to smoke is outside. Encourage smokers to head outdoors before lighting up.
  • Use deep sturdy ashtrays to contain potentially dangerous ash.
  • Before disposing of cigarette butts and ashes, make sure they are completely cool. The best way to do this is to distinguish them in a pail of cool water.
  • Keep all smoking materials out of the reach of children.

For More Information

The USFA has created a comprehensive Smoking & Home Fires Campaign Toolkit that contains free, copyright-free materials that can be printed and distributed. The toolkit is a comprehensive resource that contains materials for fire service personnel and others to use within their community.

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.

On the Heels of the Boston Marathon Bombings —How to Prepare for a Terrorist Attack

Tuesday, April 16th, 2013

Our thoughts and prayers go out to all of the victims and families of those affected by the Boston bombings.

It’s hard to believe our nation is once again dealing with the aftermath of what many (including the White House) consider to be another terrorist attack—a multiple-blast bombing near the finish line of the 2013 Boston Marathon. Though details continue to come in and will undoubtedly shed light on the nature and background of these bombings, what is currently certain is the fact that three people (including an eight-year-old boy) were killed and at least 176 were injured on Monday, April 15, 2013 in Boston.

Of the April 15 event, White House Rep Michael McCaul spoke to Fox News where he called for national unity and repeated the sentiments of President Obama:

“Today, we are not Democrats or Republicans. We are all Americans united against terrorism. Some evidence found at the crime scene, including ball bearings, were signs of well-planned terrorist action. We don’t know who’s behind it at this time and we don’t have all the evidence.”

Unexpected disasters like this have the potential to make Americans nervous about the likelihood of future incidents and their potential impact. But there are things you can proactively do to prepare for the unexpected and thereby reduce the stress associated with the terrorism. In fact, taking preparatory action can actually reassure you and your family, coworkers and tenants that you have a measure of control in the face of future emergencies.

Intelligence and law enforcement agencies reveal that dozens of terrorist plots which focused on commercial buildings have been thwarted over the past several years. As seen in a recent attempt in New York City, the actions of diligent civilians can also prevent catastrophe. Also, common sense and surveillance procedures increase awareness about things that “just don’t look right.”

The Allied Universal Training System by Universal Fire/Life Safety Services has devoted considerable blog space over the years to topics relative to preparation and recovery of terrorist attacks. But it seems fitting we should highlight this topic yet again today, since the Boston attack occurred on the day citizens of Massachusetts observe Patriot’s Day, which honors patriots from the Battles of Lexington and Concord—the first battles of the American Revolutionary War.

One of the Allied Universal Training System video courses covers steps to take in the event of a bomb threat. If you have not yet signed up for our system, consider subscribing today, as you and your team will have access to detailed training with videos and quizzes, maps, manuals and plans, forms, lists and guidelines, home and family preparedness, emergency info, active shooter instructions, active shooter videos, area-specific training and applicable area tornado preparedness.

Make your building a less attractive terrorism target:

  • In July 2006, a plot by suicide bombers in the NYC commuter rail was revealed by law enforcement personnel, who stated that the conspirator had already obtained detailed blueprints of the rail tunnels prior to the attack. Secure building blueprints which can be used to establish weak points for entering or destroying the structure. Limit the blueprints availability online and train your property managers to follow proper procedures for releasing building information.
  • Pay special attention to tenants who work with or produce materials that could be used to make explosive devices and those that work in aviation-related fields or construction-related companies. For example, Canadian officials recently investigated an individual who purchased a large quantity of manure that is sometimes used to make fertilizer-based bombs. Work with tenants to ensure they follow safety and securing procedures, for both their intellectual and physical properties.
  • A fundamental way to prevent terrorist attacks is to properly report suspicious activity to stop attacks in the planning stages. In the Allied Universal, Inc. surveillance blog, we talked about identifying suspicious activities but did not explore how to gather and report that activity to law enforcement.

For more about preparation and recovery from any terrorist attack, see Allied Universal How to prepare for acts of terrorism posts.

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

Get Ready to SmokeOut

Friday, October 26th, 2012

As we wind down October, it’s time to consider safety tips relative to November. Did you know that November is officially the month to “be aware” of each of the following health and safety related concerns?

Also among this month’s distinctions is the annual Great American Smokeout, to be observed on November 15, this year, which began in 1977 as a social engineering experiment to encourage 45.8 million Americans who smoke to stop. Sponsored by the American Cancer Society, the event challenges people to cease smoking cigarettes for 24 hours, with the hope that the break will lead to permanent cigarette cessation.

The reason the event is particularly significant to those of us at Allied Universal, Inc. is because smoking not only causes serious disease, it also often leads to fires. In fact, FEMA reports that, each year, approximately 1,000 smokers and non-smokers are killed in fires caused by cigarettes and other smoking-related materials.

The U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) is working to help prevent fire deaths and injuries in residential and commercial buildings caused by smoking materials. Fires of this kind affect not only the smoker, but non-smokers as well. Did you know that one in four people killed in home fires is not the smoker whose cigarette caused the fire? According to the USFA, 34 percent of fire victims are children of the smokers and 25 percent were neighbors or friends of the smokers.

The most common start of cigarette-related fires occurs when individuals fall asleep while holding a lit cigarette. However, that is not the only way that cigarettes start a blaze. Here are additional ways cigarettes, cigars and pipes can lead to fires:

  1. Tossing a cigarette from a moving vehicle. Although some people toss lit cigarettes from their car windows, most try to make sure that the butt has been extinguished. If a cigarette is hot when it is tossed into brush or even dirt, a flame can ignite.
  2. Missing the target. Although many states now prohibit smoking inside commercial buildings, to accommodate smokers, some building managers arrange for a designated area just outside of their facility. This is dangerous, as a discarded cigarette could miss the ashtray and ignite the property.
  3. Accidental disposal. Distracted smokers can unwittingly toss lit cigarettes into cushions, on rugs or in flammable areas.

The good news is that fires caused by cigarettes and other smoking materials are preventable. You can make a difference! The USFA created The Smoking & Home Fires Campaign to educate people about how to prevent fire deaths and injuries caused by smoking materials. Their key message is: “If you smoke, put it out. All the way. Every time.” Through the use of brochures, community presentations, video and radio public service announcements, posters and more, the campaign encourages smokers to “Butt out.”

Smoking Fire Action Steps

  • If you smoke, smoke outside.
  • Wherever you smoke, use deep, sturdy ashtrays.
  • Make sure cigarettes and ashes are out.
  • Be alert!
  • Check for cigarette butts.
  • Never smoke in a home or office where oxygen is used.
  • Post “no smoking” signs on the interior and exterior of your commercial property.
  • If you smoke, fire-safe cigarettes are better.

Admittedly, anyone who is at least 18 in the United States has the legal right to smoke. So, if you choose to exercise the right, consider using fire safe cigarettes. Abbreviated “FSC,” these are also known as Lower Ignition Propensity [LIP], Reduced Fire Risk [RFR], self-extinguishing, fire-safe or Reduced Ignition Propensity [RIP] cigarettes, all of which are designed to extinguish more quickly than standard cigarettes when left unattended. To make sure you are buying a fire safe cigarette in the United States, make sure you see the designation of “FSC” above the barcode.

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 3.0 system offers the best emergency training system. To learn more about smoking and fire safety, visit the Smoking & Home Fires Campaign page.

Preparing for Disaster: Golden Guardian Program

Sunday, July 31st, 2011
Golden Guardian exercise photo

The Golden Guardian program helps agencies prepare for disaster response and recovery.

The Golden Guardian is an annual event that tests the responsiveness and readiness of a particular area of California for specific disasters. First implemented in 2004, it is now an annual statewide exercise that tests state and local government agencies, volunteer organizations and other entities. The Golden Guardian is the largest disaster planning event of its kind.

The result of multiple agency cooperation, Golden Guardian plans are developed by FEMA Region IX and the California Emergency Management Agency (Cal EMA), among others.

Each year, the Golden Guardian event has a certain theme which reflects on the risks of a potentially devastating natural or man-made disaster. For 2011, the theme was flooding for the inland region of the state.  The event brought together several agencies including the Inland Region Emergency Operations Center, the State Operations Center, federal agencies and partners in the private sector. From May 17th through the 19th, these agencies worked together to forecast the impact of a major flood and examine where responsibilities would lie for cleanup and evacuation as well as health and food assistance efforts. The risk of a major flood is demonstrated by scientists who detailed the availability of an ARKstorm for inland California. This massive storm could potentially create a flooded area 300 miles long and up to 20 miles wide in the Central Valley of California.

The theme for 2012 is a major earthquake in Southern California. For 2013, the theme is a catastrophic earthquake in the Bay Area, for 2014, it is Northwest Coast earthquake and tsunami risks, and in 2015, the theme is civil disturbance. The 2012 event is intended to open discussion about the entire scope of disaster response—from evacuation routes to shelters for domestic animals. A comprehensive review of readiness, the 2012 event will cover such issues as:

  • Protocols for airlifting supplies, including the establishment of offshore Naval resupply ships if necessary.
  • A review of the “Hub and Spoke” concept of focusing assistance efforts on areas where affected individuals will congregate, such as stadiums, schools and open areas
  • Stabilization of public utilities in order to support infrastructure for critical care facilities
  • Management of public information announcements such as traffic guidelines or water safety alerts that will help citizens manage the disaster
  • Estimation about the number of fires resulting from earthquakes and also calculations about the water and personnel needed to combat the fires

Preparation and knowledge are always critical for handling emergencies with speed and sound decision making. Thorough planning helps to uncover unforeseen circumstances and close gaps in safety, logistics and recovery efforts. There are many lessons to be learned from the Golden Guardian campaign that can be applied to individuals as well as business. The first is the benefits of cooperation and the power of groups who work together to achieve goals.

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 for more information and remember to BE SAFE.

New Hope for Burn Victims

Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011
Flames and black smoke

New treatments help burn victims.

According to the American Burn Association, more than 450,000 burn incidents require medical treatment every year, with 10% of those requiring hospitalization.

As with any other injury, always err on the side of caution. Don’t hesitate to bring a burn victim to the emergency room or call an ambulance. Any blistering, sloughing or charring of the skin means the victim needs immediate help. If not treated properly, serious burns are easily infected and can cause severe scarring.

Burns are classified from 1st to 4th-degree, which each rising level showing an increase in the severity of the burns and the risks of complications.

Basic treatment for first degree and less severe second-degree burns:

  • Run cool (not cold) water on unbroken skin, but not on severe burns
  • Avoid applying topical ointments onto serious burns. First degree burns will benefit from ointments after the initial assessment.
  • Provide over-the-counter pain medication to help with swelling and pain

Skin grafts are the current method for helping heal severe burns in cases where amputation is not necessary:

  • A section of healthy skin is removed from an unaffected part of the victim’s body, or in some cases, skin is extracted from an animal.
  • Numerous risks and complications can result from skin grafts including infections, excessive bleeding, nerve damage, and loss of the grafted skin.
  • Patients are required to avoid bending over or stretching the area for 3-4 weeks, which can be very restrictive…particularly if the wounds are on the face or hands.

But good news is at hand. An innovative treatment that could revolutionize the way burn centers treat patients is gaining popularity. Patients who succumb to burns too often die because of the infections that occur while the patient waits for his or her skin grafts to heal. And this process can take weeks or months. A new procedure known as the “skin gun” takes a different approach:

  • The revolutionary procedure uses the patient’s own stem cells to promote healing.
  • A patient’s healthy skin cells are isolated and placed into a water-based solution.
  • This solution is loaded into a spray gun similar in design to those used to spray fine paints.
  • The doctor or technician sprays the stem cell solution directly onto the patient’s affected areas.
  • Healing begins immediately and early results from the procedure show dramatic improvements within hours or days.

Of course, preventing fires in the first place is the best course of action to eliminate the complications and consequences of being burned. There are many front-end precautions that can be taken to ensure against the start of fires. And in the unfortunate event that fires break out despite careful planning, there are many ways that fire events can be quickly contained if personnel receive the right training for skills such as extinguisher usage and proper evacuation procedures.

At Allied Universal, Inc., it is our pleasure to provide complimentary information about fire-life safety, disaster preparedness, public health and emergency management as a way to further our corporate mission to “Save Lives through Training.” We recently developed a new Property Messaging Tip Sheet as a courtesy to our clients because we sincerely desire that everyone who reads our blogs, posts and press releases as well as those who join our training program will BE SAFE.

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 for more information.