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Prepare Your College-Bound Students to Deal with a Disaster

Tuesday, August 20th, 2013

As September draws close, families throughout the country are preparing to send their teenagers to college— many of whom will be away from home for the first time. As students settle into their college routines, the transition may be easier if they know they are prepared to handle themselves in emergencies.

Whether it’s as simple as a power outage or as challenging as a super storm like Sandy, being prepared can help your child remain safe so he or she can calmly handle the situation and even potentially help other classmates do the same. So, as you plan for your son or daughter’s practical needs during their months away, such as clothing, dorm supplies, medications and toiletries, don’t forget to also provide items to help them in emergencies. Teach your student that weathering a disaster can be similar to passing a challenging course. All it takes is doing their homework and staying prepared!

Here are things to purchase and/or assemble for your college-bound student:

  • Put together a Disaster Readiness Kit, which should include a flashlight, small radio, extra batteries, a solar-powered or hand-cranked cell phone charger, energy bars, water, and first aid supplies. Ready-made disaster kits designed for students can be ordered from the American Red Cross. Information about compiling your own disaster readiness kit is available at Fema.gov. For more information about building a basic disaster kit and developing a family communications plan, go to Ready.gov.
  • Make sure your child knows their college’s Disaster Management Plan. Schools today outline procedures for safely handling natural and manmade disasters and include them in manuals. If your child isn’t automatically issued a copy of the plan, secure one. Check the website to see if its plans are posted or call an admissions officer to request a copy and to confirm that your student is registered with its emergency notification system.
  • Suggest your son or daughter update their cell phone contact list and adds a contact called “In Case of Emergency.” Remind them that cell phone service may be unreliable in the aftermath of a disaster. When cell phone calls can’t be placed, texting or communicating via social media may be possible.
  • Create a Family Communications Plan so your student knows where to contact you and your family at any given time. Also let them know where they can leave a message if communications between home and school are disrupted.
  • Prepare an emergency information sheet listing the names, locations and phone numbers for family members, physicians, medical insurance, and other important resources.
  • Check your homeowners’ or rental insurance policy to make sure covers your student’s belongings at school.
    You might need to purchase an additional policy to cover items in your student’s dorm room.
  • Advise your student to keep their emergency kit under their bed or on the top shelf of a closet so it will be easily accessible in an emergency.

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.

Hazardous Materials in the Workplace

Monday, March 15th, 2010
Help Hazmat Crews Help You

Help Hazmat Crews Help You

Virtually every workplace and tenant has chemicals or other potentially hazardous materials. These include simple, everyday cleaners that might be stored under the kitchenette sink as well as heavy-duty chemicals stored in manufacturing facilities. Remember that effective planning for any emergency requires education and preparation. Detailed information about what chemicals your tenants use will give you a head start in any disaster. For example, Hazmat crews need ready information about potential threats so they can contain and clean the area. If you do your homework beforehand, you’ll be able to help emergency personnel when they arrive on the scene.

Those who work with chemicals run an increased risk of chemical fires. Work with your tenants to be sure all protocols are in place and flammable and explosive materials are properly stored. The fire department needs to know exactly which chemicals are present, such as whether any agents are present that could potentially explode if they come in contact with water.

Dealing with Hazardous Materials:

  • In the kitchen, bathroom or storage areas:
    • Take an inventory of tenants’ cleaning products and where they are stored. Too many chemicals in a cramped area can lead to danger.
    • Instruct tenants and cleaning crews not to mix chemicals. For example, bleach products should never be mixed with ammonia.
    • Make sure janitorial personnel alert your facility team to all major spills.
  • Chemical Labeling and Identification:
    • Proper labeling of materials is a first step in safety. For example, NFPA 704 is a group of standards on hazards denoting different degrees of potential harm.
      • The system uses a diamond shape that denotes red for “Flammability”, blue for “Health,” yellow for “Instability,” and white for “Special” hazards, such as chemicals that react violently with water. Allied Universal Training System users have access to information about “How to Read a Fire Diamond.”
      • Numbers from 0 to 4 rate the severity of the hazard.
      • Remind tenants of new code changes regarding labeling practices to help them stay in compliance.
  • Emergency Management:
    • Knowing which types of chemicals are being used or produced by tenants will help with proper emergency response.
    • Inform tenants about the different types of fire extinguishers needed for a variety of fire types, such as those caused by certain chemicals. Make sure you and tenants know what to expect and how to be prepared.
  • Teach your tenants to remember S.I.N.
    • Safety – Assume the materials are dangerous and keep a good distance.
    • Isolation – Close off the room or affected area of your building.
    • Notification – Make sure tenants notify 911 and building management.

If you take time to glance at the dozens of OSHA regulations for chemicals, from Nitrous Oxide to pool cleaning supplies, it will become apparent that attention and detail are required to ensure safety. If your tenant is producing complicated products using a variety of materials, it is your shared responsibility to follow all code requirements to protect your building.

Allied Universal Training System users have unrestricted access to lots of helpful links that will help identify and prepare hazardous materials-related emergencies. For the latest emergency management training for facility/building managers, contact Allied Universal. Our e-based system offers the best emergency training available, with automated and integrated features. Visit rjwestmore.com for more information and remember to BE SAFE.