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High-Rise Safety

Tuesday, May 8th, 2018

People who live or work in high-rise residential or commercial buildings face very specific disaster-preparedness challenges. Emergencies such as fires, bomb scares, weather-related incidents and earthquakes present special dangers for high-occupancy buildings, such as dormitories, apartment homes, condominiums and office complexes. The best defense is a coordinated emergency-response plan that identifies potential risks and outlines the best response.With limited access to egress, if you’re in a high-rise when disaster strikes, you might need to stay in the building until the emergency passes. Or, if evacuation is necessary, you would need to quickly find the exit.

The good news is that high-rise building requirements include more working sprinklers and fire alarm equipment than non-high-rise facilities. And if your building owner or manager subscribes to the Allied Universal Fire Life Safety Training System, first responders will have access to building-specific instructions, which will help in emergency situations. To help make sure you are prepared, we have assembled some tips to keep you safe.High-Rise Evacuation

High-Rise Disaster Safety Tips

In all situations—

  • Take responsibility for your own safety. This is important because, in some situations, first response may be delayed in reaching you.
  • Familiarize yourself with the safety features of your facility (fire alarms, sprinklers, voice communication procedures, evacuation plans and alarm response).
  • Make sure exit and stairwell doors are clearly marked, remain unlocked and are free from debris and clutter which could obstruct the walkway.
  • If an official makes an announcement, listen carefully and follow directions.
  • If you are told to evacuate, go outside and gather at the pre-arranged meeting place.
  • Stay put until an official instructs you it is safe to return to the building.

high-rise fire safetyFor Fire—

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)reports there are approximately 16,000 to 20,000 fires in high-rise buildings each year. This represents 2 to 4 percent of all building fires. If you are in a high-rise when fire breaks out:

  • Well in advance of an emergency, find the locations of all available exit stairs from your floor in case the nearest one is blocked by fire or smoke.
  • Don’t automatically run for the stairs. Stay put and wait for instructions.
  • If it is clear you should evacuate, pull the alarm on your way out, to notify the fire department and your neighbors. Don’t assume someone else will handle this.
  • If the fire alarm sounds, feel the door before opening and close all doors behind you as you leave. If the door is hot, find another way out. If it is cool, leave by the nearest exit.
  • Instead of taking the elevator, use the stairs in a fire, unless the fire department instructs otherwise. Some buildings come equipped with elevators, which are intended for emergency use. Such elevators should be clearly marked.elevator high-rise evacuation
  • If someone is trapped in the building, notify the fire department.
  • If you are unable to evacuate your apartment or high-rise workplace in a fire due to flames, smoke or a disability, stuff wet towels or sheets around the door and vents to keep smoke out. Call the fire department to alert officials to your location.
  • Slightly open a window and wave a bright-colored cloth to signal your location. However, be prepared to close the window if smoke conditions worsen.

To Shelter in Place—

high-rise flood safetyIn some emergency scenarios, you may need to stay put instead of evacuating.

High-Rise Safety Resources:Earthquake high-rise safety

FEMA Building Code Resources

National Fire Protection NFPA High-Rise Building Safety

Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) Evacuation & Sheltering-in-Place

About the Allied Universal Fire Life Safety Services System

No matter the type of emergency you may face while in a high-rise building, take steps to make sure you are safe. Our interactive, building-specific e-learning program helps commercial, residential, educational, institutional, government, retail and industrial buildings with compliance to fire life safety codes and rewards building occupants instantly! It’s a convenient and affordable solution to the training needs of your facility. Click here for more information or to subscribe.

Campus Security After Parkland & Great Mills Shootings

Tuesday, March 20th, 2018

Active Shooter SafetyUnfortunately, a pattern has recently unfolded across the country. An active shooter opens fire on students during school, such as what occurred last month in Parkland, Fl., where 17 innocent victims lost their lives and –even more recently – in Maryland, where a 17-year-old student shot two others. This type of event spurs widespread panic and concern about campus safety. Students, parents and political pundits demand gun law reform, teacher armament and mental health awareness. Then, almost as immediately as the frenzy begins, conversations about the court of public opinion abound. But the issue remains. How can we keep American elementary, middle-school, high school and college students safe? (more…)

Allied Universal Campus Safety

Tuesday, January 24th, 2017

Part one of a three-part series

Attending college is a grand adventure, whether students choose to live on campus or commute. However, it also can prove risky for anyone who fails to sufficiently prepare for potential emergencies. In our ongoing effort to save lives through training, the Allied Universal Fire Life Training System is expanding our online safety education to include residence hall fire life safety. Using building-specific information, students living in campus housing who attend subscribing universities will be able to log in to modules designed to train them to be safe, whether they live in a residence hall, traditional or suite-style residence, on or off campus.

To help college students be safe while attending college, we are writing a three-part blog series about campus safety. In it, we will offer helpful tips to keep students safe relative to fire, personally, and in cyberspace. This week’s post will focus on fire life safety.

Fire Life Safety – Most modern buildings are equipped with a variety of fire protection features such as fire alarms, smoke detectors, automatic sprinklers, illuminated signage, fire extinguishers, automatic self-closing fire doors, and compartmentation construction techniques. However, regardless of age or sophistication of the building, these or other fire safety features alone cannot guarantee safety. These buildings have been designed to provide sufficient time to escape. So, for maximum safety, students should be aware of their building’s specific fire drills and emergency evacuation procedures.

The Center for Campus Fire Safety reports that almost 80 percent of fire-related fatalities in student housing occur off campus. They result from lack of automatic fire sprinklers, missing or disabled smoke alarms, and careless disposal of smoking materials. What’s more, officials with the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) report that fires in dormitories can double in size every 30 to 60 seconds, and point to the use of cooking equipment as the cause for 86 percent of property damage in dormitory-type properties. In just a couple of minutes – whatever the cause of the fire – flames and smoke can engulf an entire room.

To help prevent fire-related emergencies on or off campus, students can follow these fire life safety tips:

  • Make sure off-campus housing features smoke alarms and fire sprinklers in each bedroom, outside each sleeping area and on each level. For optimal protection, the smoke alarms should be connected so they all sound at once.
  • Test smoke alarms at least monthly.
  • Know where your fire extinguishers are, that they are inspected to function, and that residents know how to use the equipment.
  • TALK with your roommates, call a meeting to discuss personal and fire safety to reinforce each person’s commitment to shared safety values and practices. Don’t remove batteries or otherwise disable alarms.
  • Don’t remove batteries or otherwise disable alarms.
  • Learn the building’s evacuation plan and routinely practice drills as if they were actual fire events.
  • Never rent at a building that is converted into multi-tenant residences or additional rooms which do not meet local codes and/or occupancy requirements – do not hesitate to ask for proof of compliance/certification.
  • Create a fire escape plan with two ways out of every room, whenever possible. Remember that windows could potentially provide a means of exit. but always assess risk (oxygen to the fire, likelihood of serious or grave injuries, etc.
  • When the smoke alarm or fire alarm sounds, evacuate the building and stay out until cleared to reenter the building. If firefighters or other first responders arrive on scene, students should wait to hear the “all clear” from someone in authority.
  • During power outages, use a flashlight.
  • Learn the institution’s rules before using electrical appliances.
  • Cook only where permitted, and only when alert.
  • Check with the local fire department for any restrictions before using a barbeque grill, fire pit, or outdoor fireplace.
  • Many institutions offer checklist and audit programs for off-campus safety, including fire. Some campus public safety departments even offer an on-site assessment – be sure to ask your campus public safety office about what programs exist for your campus community.
  • Use surge protectors for computers and plug protectors directly into outlets instead of extension cords.

In the coming weeks, check back to read more about college safety. 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 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.

Elevator Recalls and Safety Tips

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2016
Do not use the elevator during a high-rise fire.

During an emergency which requires building evacuation, do not take the elevator.

The advancing age of many elevators and decreased preventative maintenance have recently given rise to the number of elevator failures, such as stalled cars. Nevertheless, elevators remain an exceedingly safe mode of transportation, with the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Consumer Product Safety Commission reporting an average associated fatality rate of just 0.00000015% per trip, which represents a total of 27 deaths per year resulting from 18 billion rides. This statistic positions elevator rides as safer than vehicles, airplanes or even stairs

Elevator manufacturers stake their reputation on safety, investing considerable resources into redundant systems to help protect elevator occupants. Nevertheless, elevators occasionally malfunction and even break down. Safety malfunctions can involve doors, buttons, cables, and additional components.

Here are a few facts about elevator safety:

Core safety features of modern elevators:in case of fire use stairway for exit sign. vector symbol

  • Electromagnetic brakes are used to keep the car in place, and will automatically snap shut if the elevator system loses electrical power. Modern elevators also feature braking systems located at the top and bottom of the elevator shaft, which can detect excessive elevator movement and apply brakes, when necessary.
  • Despite the common Hollywood movie scene of an elevator cable snapping and elevator car plummeting, this scenario is unrealistic. Elevator cables are comprised of sturdy steel strands, which have been designed to single-handedly support the entire weight of the car and occupants. Each elevator contains between four and eight cables for each car, which provides multiple levels of redundancy.

Stuck in a Tin Canimage002

As alarming as it can be, getting stuck in an elevator is rarely a life-threatening situation. Elevators occasionally get stuck. But even when this occurs, core safety systems remain intact.

Elevator safety tips:

  • In any emergency such as an earthquake, fire or anything that may require building evacuation, do not take the elevator. Take the stairs!
  • Do not attempt to rush into an elevator while the doors are closing. Simply wait for the next car. Also, keep young children and leashed pets very close to you, for their safety as well as the safety of everyone in the car.
  • Try not to panic about oxygen. While the car is an admittedly confined space, you should have plenty of available air to breath. Elevator cars are not airtight.
  • Never, ever try to exit a stalled elevator car through the roof hatch or by prying the doors apart. This is the most important tip, as several deaths have tragically occurred when people try to escape stalled cars. In many cases, the elevator will stop between floors, leaving occupants with the mistaken impression that they would be able to crawl out to safety. However, if the elevator moves as someone is trying to escape, they could be trapped and tragically, crushed. So stay put and be patient.
  • If the elevator car stalls, use the elevator phone and/or your cell phone to alert authorities. Remain calm.

 

woman hands try to stop doors of the closed elevatorAdditional Elevator Safety Tips, courtesy of Allied Universal

While elevators have proven to be a very safe way of transporting both people and merchandise, occasionally malfunctions do occur. Common problems can include elevators that do not correctly align with the floor, doors that do not open or close properly, stopping between floors or stopping altogether and entrapping occupants.

Universal Services of America offers the following tips to help ensure your safety and knowledge regarding proper elevator use.

When you approach the elevator

  • Stand aside for exiting passengers.
  • Wait for the next car if the elevator is already full.
  • Do not attempt to stop a closing door.
  • Use the stairs, not an elevator, if there is a fire in the building.

When you enter and exit the elevator

  • Watch your step, as the elevator floor may not be level with the landing.
  • Stand clear of the doors, and keep your clothing and any carry-on items away from the opening.

When riding on the elevator

  • Stand back from the doors and hold the handrail, if available.
  • Pay attention to the floor indications, so you may exit when you arrive at your floor.
  • Discern between the “open door” button and the “close door” button to avoid confusing them, if needed.

If you find yourself in an elevator that has become stuck

  • Push the “door open” button. If that does not work, ring the elevator alarm.
  • Use the emergency phone, alarm or help button, if available, to summon emergency personnel. Or use your cell phone to call 9-1-1.
  • Do not attempt to force the doors open.
  • Never try to leave the elevator car on your own, as doing so could result in serious injury.
  • Remain calm. Elevators contain sufficient oxygen levels to last until help arrives.

For more info on elevator safety or to learn about escalator safety, visit the National Elevator Industry website at www.neii.org. Remember that safety is a daily priority, whether or not you use elevators. 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.

Managing Fire Risk in Residential Buildings

Tuesday, April 26th, 2016

building on fire / big fires /newsProper fire emergency planning and prevention for residential high-rise buildings require special tactics. To that end, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has assembled a “High-Rise Building Safety Advisory Committee” to spot the unique needs and issues relative to safety in high-rise buildings. Since the Allied Universal Training System by Universal Fire/Life Safety Services has recently launched several residential training modules, we wanted to take the opportunity to highlight some of the NFPA strategies, with the goal of helping our subscribers and friends to #BeSafe.

Prepare Your Building and Residents

Fire in the buildingMany fires are preventable if proper protocols are put into place and building occupants acquaint themselves with recommended safety procedures. Here are several tips for high-rise building property owners and managers help prevent the occurrence and reduce the impact of fires:

  • Create a formal plan. A written fire emergency plan is essential for optimal safety of residents as well as property. Map evacuation routes, meeting zone locations, sprinkler plans, and fire extinguisher locations.
  • Keep halls and stairways free of impediments. A minute delay can be the difference between occupants’ safe escape and catastrophe. Keeping walkways clear will provide first responders with easy access.
  • Test backup and safety systems including emergency lighting and building communication systems. fire break glass
  • Produce a floorplan of the entire building with floor-by-floor layouts, including the location of floor drains, water valves, utility shut-offs, and standpipe locations. Make the evacuation information easily accessible to building occupants.
  • Conduct drills. Residential occupants of a high-rise might be tempted to brush off fire drills as “false alarms.” Inform occupants that they should never assume alarms are part of a drill. Instruct them about the need to evacuate or quickly take other directives in the event of any and all alarms.

Install and Maintain Sprinkler Systems

Sprinkler systems installed in high-rise buildings reduce both the loss of life and property damage. In addition, they are essential for high-rise buildings, since fire truck ladders only reach six or seven floors. And since sprinkler systems are designed to go off only in the immediate area of the fire, you need not worry about unnecessary water damage.

According to NFPA data between 1996 and 2001, the costs incurred in buildings with functioning sprinkler systems was less than $400,000, while buildings without such systems saw losses averaging $2.2 million.

Maintenance tips and best practices for sprinkler systems:

  • Check water supply and pressure levels. High-rises require greater water pressure to push water against gravity.
  • Ensure water valves are open and fire pumps are in good working order.
  • Properly brace water sprinkler pipes for buildings that are in high-risk earthquake zones.
  • Inspect pipes for corrosion or leaks and check sprinkler heads blocked by dust.
  • Test the main drain lines to see how far the water pressure drops with open valves when water is flowing. If the test shows, for example, a bigger drop in pressure difference every six months, then there is likely a valve problem somewhere in the system that should be addressed.

In case of fire do not use elevatorEvacuation Guidelines for High-Rise Occupants

In a typical single-story residence, with sufficient warning from smoke detectors, occupants will likely escape unhurt. In a high-rise, however, people have to navigate stairwells and hallways to exit the building. What’s more, evacuation routes could be blocked due to fire and smoke. Evacuating people from a high-rise is difficult, and requires the formation of a sound evacuation plan and following best practices for residents including:

  • Memorize the plan. Residents must know what they will do in a fire emergency.
  • Practice the plan. Encourage residents to conduct their own mock drills (in addition to your formal drills) in order to make the evacuation route familiar.
  • Do not use elevators. Create contingency plans for residents who might have trouble walking or difficulty navigating stairs.
  • Stay low to stay safe. Smoke rises, so residents should proceed under the smoke whenever possible.
  • Remain in the residence. If occupants cannot enter hallways because of impassable smoke or fire, they should stay in their residences and mark their location on exterior windows. Also, place towels at the bottom of the door to block smoke.

Remember that safety is a daily priority. So be sure to think about ways to #BeSafe all of the time, whether or not you live or work in a high-rise facility. 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.

Workplace Safety in High Rises

Tuesday, September 29th, 2015

Fotolia_85856075_XSThis week, we are covering several threats to workplace safety in high-rise buildings: earthquakes, fire, and accidents. High-rise buildings pose specific risks for occupants as well as property owners and managers, due to their large size and the sheer number of potential affected tenants, visitors and on-site staff. September is National Preparedness Month, which makes it the perfect time to review workplace safety procedures.

Earthquakes

Sitting in even a well-built, retrofitted high-rise during an earthquake can be a harrowing experience. The building can sway and moves ever so slightly (which is intentional). The result can cause light nausea and movement of light fixtures, blinds and ceiling panels. Building managers and owners can help their tenants manage the risk of earthquakes and feel relatively secure during them by:

  • Encouraging tenants to stay seated during an actual earthquake. Most quakes are quite short. In fact, most last less than one minute. So it is highly recommended that people not use elevators while the earth shakes. It’s better to simply sit down (away from built-in bookcases and artwork) and wait for the shaking to stop.

Fire

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reports that fires cost stores and businesses upwards of $708 million. This is a staggering sum of money, and can be reduced if building occupants closely follow fire prevention best practices. In high rises, the damages caused by fires can be severe, as fires can rise quickly to upper floors, and it can be logistically challenging to evacuate large numbers of people unless those people have been properly trained about emergency evacuation procedures.

Don't take the stairs if an earthquake hits.

Don’t take the stairs if an earthquake hits.

To prevent high-rise fires:

  • Remove combustible materials and eliminate walkway obstructions. Talk to tenants about the importance of maintaining clutter-free offices. Mounds of paper can fuel fire, and cluttered pathways could impede evacuation, and block the entrance to firefighting crews. Stairways should always be clear of debris.
  • Locate and check fire extinguishers. Consider creating and posting a video instructing building occupants about the proper use of fire extinguishers. Selecting and installing the right type of extinguisher for any given area is also important. High-rise buildings can contain thousands of extinguishers, so it’s important to monitor their locations and expiration dates.
  • Plan and practice evacuation plans. Property owners and building managers should work closely with tenants to explain and practice evacuation procedures in the event of fire. Moving a large number of people through the stairwells can pose a challenge, particularly for the disabled and elderly individuals. Fire drills can help identify evacuation roadblocks and educate residents about safe evacuation routes.

Accidents

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 4,679 individuals were killed on the job in 2014, with tens of thousands of deaths attributable to occupational diseases. Although great strides have been made over the decades to improve worker safety, companies and property managers and their tenants will benefit when the safest possible workplace environment is provided.

Workplace Safety Best Practices:

  • Eliminate slippery floors. Falls are one of the most common causes of workplace accidents. Property managers can arrange to have floors cleaned at night, to allow surfaces to dry properly before workers arrive. In snowy climates, melting ice and snow could leave slick surfaces. Non-slip mats and salt can reduce this risk.
  • Uneven floors can cause falls. Look closely at cracked sidewalks and entryways, as well as the transitions between different types of flooring. For example, if tenants are allowed to make office or residence improvements and choose their own flooring, examine the area between hallways and tenant entrances to make sure the height of the surfaces match.

Remember that safety is an ever-present priority, at home and at work. So be sure to think about disaster planning all of the time–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.

How to Prepare for Active Shooter Incidences

Tuesday, February 4th, 2014

In the not so distant past, most members of the general population were unfamiliar with the term, “active shooter.” Unfortunately, that is no longer the case, due to the frequency of recent active shooter events. Despite increased security most organizations have developed of late, according to the FBI, the number of active shooter incidences has tripled in recent years.

A group of former Navy SEALS is trying to change the paradigm, joining forces in 2008 to form an organization aimed at helping civilians learn how to best respond to active shooter situations in the minutes before first responders arrive. The group, Move2Safety spent the recent one-year anniversary of the Newtown shooting offering an instructional seminar to a group of 50 people in Los Angeles.

“It…feels like the world has become a global battlefield,” said Move2Safety President Rorke. “Our background is in Special Forces and, as Navy Seals; we train for the possible worst case scenarios.”

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has also stepped up to prepare people for active shooter incidences, preparing free resources which offer helpful instructions.

“An active shooter is an individual actively engaged in killing or attempts to kill people in a confined and populated area,” according to DHS. “In most cases, active shooters use firearm(s) and there is no pattern or method used to their selection of victims.”

Because active shooter situations are often over 10-15 minutes after they begin, and before law enforcement officers are able to arrive on scene, it is particularly important for individuals to understand how to prepare themselves mentally and physically to deal with active shooter situations. If you are ever in an active shooter situation: run, hide or fight…in that order!

If you follow these simple steps, your chance of being a victim could be greatly reduced:

  1. Be aware of your environment and any possible dangers.
  2. Take note of the two nearest exits in any facility you visit.
  3. If it is at all possible, run so you are out of danger.
  4. If escape is impossible, find a place to hide.
    • If you are in an office, stay there and secure the door.
    • If you are in a hallway, get into a room and secure the door.
  5. Only as a last resort, attempt to take the active shooter down. When the shooter is at close range and you cannot flee, your chance of survival is much greater if you try to incapacitate the perpetrator.
  6. CALL 911 WHEN IT IS SAFE TO DO SO!

A free DHS Active Shooter booklet includes comprehensive instructions for evacuating, hiding, responding when law enforcement arrives, training staff members for active shooter situations [including creating an Emergency Action Plan (EAP)], as well as additional suggestions for preparing for and preventing active shooter situations.

If you would like to make advanced preparations for active shooter incidents, you could take advantage of an independent study course offered by DHS, entitled “Active Shooter: What You Can Do.” The course was developed to provide the public with guidance on how to prepare for and respond to active shooter crisis situations.

Upon completion of Active Shooter: What You Can Do, people should be able to:

  • Describe the actions to take when confronted with an active shooter and to assist responding law enforcement officials.
  • Recognize potential workplace violence indicators.
  • Describe actions to take to prevent and prepare for potential active shooter incidents.
  • Describe how to manage the consequences of an active shooter incident.

The Allied Universal Training System by Universal Fire/Life Safety Services also offers detailed information and video instruction about active shooter preparation and survival. When active shooter incidents or other disasters strike, 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.

Easy Access to Information about the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

Monday, August 6th, 2012

According to Disability.Gov, more than 54 million people in the United States live with a disability of some kind, whether sensory, physical, intellectual, developmental, emotional or mental. Passed just 22 years ago, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is landmark legislation for our country because it advanced the civil rights of people who have disabilities. In short, the ADA guarantees equal access for all. But the ADA was just the first of many laws written to benefit persons with disabilities—the Assistive Technology Act, Fair Housing Act and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA.)

One valuable Ready.Gov’s online resource for this group of individuals is a customized portion of the Be Ready Campaign, created specifically for people who have disabilities (and their friends and family). Still following the basic program guidelines to be informed, make a plan and build a kit, the Emergency Preparedness Plan for people with disabilities is unique in that it takes into account the unique challenges which face disabled people deal with when it comes to preparing and responding to natural and manmade disasters.

Although specific steps will vary depending on each individual’s specific disability, these are some of the highlights of the Be Ready Campaign for Americans with Disabilities:

  1. Be Informed. Your ability to recover from an emergency tomorrow may depend on the planning and preparation you do today. Whether or not you have a disability, you need to be aware of the emergencies which would likely affect your region. To find out, go to Ready.gov/be-informed. Please note that you may need to adapt the information you find to your personal circumstances.
  2. Make a Communications Plan. A disaster can interfere with your ability to communicate with family, friends or those you work with. For this reason, it’s imperative you create a plan for staying in touch with your support network. This can be particularly difficult to do if your disability involves speaking, mobility or hearing. Nevertheless, it is just as important (maybe even more so) for you to plan to communicate with your friends and family in a disaster regardless of the specific challenges you face.
  3. Get Involved. As a person who faces particular challenges with regard to preparing for and responding to emergencies, you undoubtedly have worthwhile information to share with emergency planners. So, if at all possible, help your community by contributing to community and neighborhood emergency preparedness activities. Your insight could help assist people with disabilities with access and functional requirements whose needs could otherwise be forgotten. People who have disabilities often have first-hand experience adapting and problem solving. And these are useful skills in emergencies.

The Allied Universal Training System is committed to including resources for Americans with Disabilities in our materials, as well…even going so far as to provide easy access to a screen inside the training system which enables subscribers to register their special assistance status. This information is critical because, as soon as first responders are notified about emergency situations, while they are still en route, they understand special steps which might be necessary to rescue and assist disabled personnel well before they arrive on scene. Since every second is crucial in virtually any disaster, the notification system is extremely helpful and can even save lives. Allied Universal special assistance registration is confidential.

The Disability.Gov website is a valuable resource because it provides free comprehensive information about disability programs and services available nationwide including material about protecting your civil rights. If you are among the Americans who live with a disability of any kind, you can check out the site to learn about your rights relative to employment, discrimination, filing complaints and ADA and related legislation enforcement. What’s more, you can find out how to apply for benefits, obtain health care, find a job and pay for housing.

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 e-based training system offers the best emergency training system.

How to BE SAFE During an Active Shooter Incident

Wednesday, July 25th, 2012

The deadly rampage at an Aurora, Colorado movie theater on Friday, July 20 is being called the worst shooting in U. S. history. Twelve people were killed and 59 were injured when 24-year-old James Holmes allegedly purchased a ticket and walked into the suburban theater along with other movie-goers. He immediately left the screening room and reemerged moments later, dressed in full tactical gear and a mask. After releasing two canisters of gas, the suspect is said to have used an assault rifle, shotgun and at least one handgun, to fire more than 40 rounds into the crowd.

Minutes later, 200 uniformed Aurora police officers converged on the complex and arrested Holmes, who initially cooperated by warning about booby traps he had rigged in his nearby apartment— including incendiary and chemical devices and trip wires.

The shooting has struck a collective nerve across the country because:

  • The event occurred in a “safe” bedroom community.
  • Aurora is located just 17 miles southeast of Littleton, which was the site of the infamous Columbine shootings in 1999.
  • The shooter was a very bright, well-educated student who graduated from Westview High School in San Diego, where he excelled at school and played soccer. He later studied science at the prestigious Salk Institute in La Jolla.
  • It brings to light the fact that incidences of this type can occur anywhere and anytime.

For their part, one of the largest theater chains in the country, AMC, has banned costumes, tightened private security and is working with law enforcement to strategically place plain clothes’ officers in theaters throughout the country. What’s more, officials are increasing security at large venues such as concerts, railway stations and the airport.

The Department of Homeland Security has prepared several free resources which provide lots of helpful instructions, and defines an active shooter scenario:

“An active shooter is an individual actively engaged in killing or attempts to kill people in a confined and populated area; in most cases, active shooters use firearm(s) and there is no pattern or method used to their selection of victims.”

Because active shooter situations are often over within 10-15 minutes, before law enforcement officers arrive on scene, it is important for individuals to prepare themselves mentally and physically to deal with active shooter situations.

Here are FEMA’s best practices for coping with an active shooter situation. If you follow these simple steps, your chance of being a victim can be greatly reduced:

  1. Be aware of your environment and any possible dangers.
  2. Take note of the two nearest exits in any facility you visit.
  3. If you are in an office, stay there and secure the door.
  4. If you are in a hallway, get into a room and secure the door.
  5. As a last resort, attempt to take the active shooter down. When the shooter is at close range and you cannot flee, your chance of survival is much greater if you try to incapacitate him/her.

CALL 911

The FEMA Active Shooter booklet includes comprehensive instructions for evacuating, hiding out, responding when law enforcement arrives, training staff members for active shooter situations [including creating an Emergency Action Plan (EAP)], as well as additional suggestions for preparing for and preventing active shooter situations.

We provide all users of the Allied Universal Training System ready-access to FEMA active shooter booklets, pocket cards and posters. What’s more, you can go online (through the Allied Universal Training System) or directly to FEMA.org for Active Shooter Certification. 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 e-based training system offers the best emergency training system.