Lions and Tigers and Bears! Oh, My!

June 18, 2008

Ever had one of those days where you’ve looked at so much material, read so many words, considered so many people’s points of view, that you thought your head would just explode? Ever see the motion picture “Scanners” ? (I rest my case)

As you probably know, Prism Safety tries to focus on three areas all the time: Home Safety, Workplace Safety, and Community Safety. Last Friday there we were, minding our own business trying to prepare the June Newsletter for publication and distribution, when we received an email from one of our certified Safety Directors overseas. They had not responded to some emails we’d sent, but that happens, and we’d not been overly concerned. The reason had been that the Director had been abducted and held hostage for 10 days, was now vacating the country where they were working, and would be in touch when relocation was complete.


Now, back to the Newsletter process for a moment… There had been debate between two Topics we take the Emergency Response Topic first for June, and then do the Security Focus in July. That had been Plan “A”. Before the email.

Bringing us to Plan “B”.

So, from then until now, we’ve been preparing not only the June Newsletter, but also a comprehensive Report on Threat Assessment for the public. You’d be amazed at how much material has been generated worldwide between assassination, targetted violence, school shootings, and judicial and public spaces.  HOWVER, equally, there is not that much for normal workplaces and private spaces except for some excellent OSHA material focusing on the Health Care and Retail sectors.

Research led us back to self-defense and personal protection, which brought us again to a truly fine resource on line from Michael Loftus, Sr. at www.Crime-Safety-Security.com . Really excellent materials and good links to other resources. You’ll see his site on our Blog Roll to the right.

At the same time, considering the issues of safety for school aged children, we have run across another WordPress Blog that is just fascinating and may interest you at www.FreeRangeKids.com. Free Range Kids seems to be a parenting movement for reducing “hypervigilance” on the part of parents, and for empowering their children to do more things on their own. Prism Safety is neither advocating nor condemning the view, but we’re just bringing it to your attention and consideration.

About Statistics: One really important element to note is that news stories always sensationalize the grotesque. It goes without saying that Prism Safety is first and foremost concerned with… um… well, “Safety”. Home, school, community, workplace… Safety. However, especially with regard to children and schools, the headlines do our schools a disservice. All the statistics, all the reports, all agree that the odds of a child dying from violence in a school is astronomically less than just riding in an automobile.

Bottom line: Every situation is different. Risk is defined by environment, behaviors, preparation, and interactions. You always have to consider risks and make your plans individually. But we thought you would enjoy looking at some of the diversity of safety view out there.

My head feels much better now. Perhaps from “sharing the load”. Stay Safe… Dr. G.


Time for a Fire Drill Party!

April 20, 2008

“Children under the age of 5 are twice as likely as the rest of us to die in a fire. Each year, thousands of children are killed or injured in fires, and 40 percent of them are under age 5. U. S. Fire Administration

Fire SafetyWow! Memo to all Parents, Grandparents, Teachers, and Babysitters! Here’s an EXTREMELY COOL thing we can all do to help save the lives of our most treasured!

Throw a Party! Sometime soon, sit down with you child/children and go over the right things to do if they hear the fire monitor go off, or if they hear fire or smell smoke.

Specifically, teach them to:

  • Get down and crawl on the floor to get to safety (the air is clearer and safer down there)
  • Reach out to touch and feel any door before opening it. The door may be a barrier and protection between them and fire on the other side.
  • Know two ways out of any room. (For example, door and window, or door and a wall panel with no plumbing in it)
  • Get out of the house and go to the pre-planned “Meeting Spot” (oak tree, front gate, pink hydrangea bush, doesn’t matter as long as all agree and the spot is clear of any fire danger).
  • Wait at the Meeting Spot until you arrive and can take them to safety.

Simple, isn’t it? Now, here’s the Party Part. Have a practice “Fire Drill” with them. Bake or buy cookies or cupcakes ahead of time, and make sure they know/see them. Tell them these are special, for after the “Fire Drill”. Of course they will ask when that is, and tell them it will be a surprise, but take the opportunity to review what they should do in a Fire Drill or a Fire.

Have the Fire Drill sometime in the next 24 hours. Make it simple and straightforward. Meet them rapidly at the Meeting Spot and praise them for their actions. Go inside and party, and let them talk about what they did in the Drill. If there is an improvement they can make, praise them for what they did right, and mention that next time they should [insert improvement here].

Why in the world should you have a Fire Drill Party at home? Simple, most small children do not know the right things to do in a home fire. This, and their dependence on caretaking adults, is why so many tragically die.

Why don’t we teach them the right things to do? Because we:

  • Don’t think of it
  • Don’t know the right things to do
  • Don’t know how to teach them the right things to do
  • Are afraid of “scaring them”, thinking they are too young to deal with emergency information

So here is the Good News! You are reading this, so you are now thinking of it. Here are the right things to do, and you can get more at www.usfaparents.gov . There are lots of ideas and activities for teaching your children, no matter what age, at that website. From emergency response experience, small children are not terrified when rehearsing emergency scenarios or training, because they have never experienced the reality. If anything, they take everything as a game, because it is NOT scary enough to them. This is a blessing, because they will learn and rehearse the drills, learning the information, and have it available for them in actual emergency situations. If adults do not communicate “fear” when teaching the right things to do, children do not generally become fearful, so they can simply learn the information.

If you have any ideas on how to teach child safety at home, please comment. Feel free to pass this article along to a friend!


First — You Gotta Get Their Attention

April 8, 2008

How frustrating is it for all the Safety Managers and Safety Directors out there to spend all the time we do keeping abreast of developments, technology, regulations, landmark cases and events, and all the myriad details we track… just to be seen as a “Cost Centre”? The Safety Office of most companies find themselves caught between a rock and a hard place. To employees, safety people are often seen as a “nuisance”, and by managment often seen as an “unavoidable expense”. Death… taxes… safety…

What’s the Reality?

Simple. Workplace accidents are “Expense”. They cost direct compensation, insurance premiums, lost time (often by multiple personnel), work stoppage, turnover, and training/retraining costs. There is a great analysis of workplace injury expenses available in an eTool from OSHA at Loss Estimator. Accidents are the “Problem”, Safety is the “Solution”.

If you are a typical Safety Administrator feeling like salmon swimming upstream against the rapids when it comes to getting programs implemented and budgeting, try tearing a page out of the Marketing and PR books. (If you have access to these departments in your company, it’s worth making a friend over there and discussing this.) Prepare and circulate a “Brag Sheet” on a regular basis, among the management of your firm. You have Programs and Projects in place, and you probably have Benchmarks in place for measuring effectiveness. You certainly have figures available from prior years’ performance.

Calculate your savings through effective performance, then USE THE eTOOL to convert those savings into EQUIVALENT SALES VOLUME!!!

You may have noticed that while the Safety Department is often looked upon as the ‘necessary evil’, a Sales Department is seen as the life blood of operations. Let someone close a $100,000 sale, and word gets around quickly.

But watch this. If your new Safety Program results in a $10,000 reduction in loss, and if your business runs on a 10% profit margin (which is not unusual), then your program has had the same bottom-line impact as if you had just closed a $100,000 sale. That is, $10,000 loss reduction is pure profit. The $100,000 sale, on a 10% profit margin, is $10,000 profit. There’s the equivalence.

See if you can make a habit of expressing your safety victories in terms of sales equivalents, and you may start to make a more positive image in the Board Room. This is not a matter of personal ambition or political jockeying for gain. You need this leverage to free the funding and approval for more proactive programming or safety improvements.

Sometimes, it’s all in the words you use. The most effective one for your needs, may be “Profit”.


Mission Critical – Security Guard! But What Mission?

February 6, 2008

A major part of Health & Safety for any institution has to be their Security Guard force, or “Safety Officers”. In many situations, these personnel do not receive all the training they should have. So, if you or your business wanted to provide appropriate but affordable training, what should be covered?

The first question to be answered would be, “What do you expect your Security Guards or Safety Officers to do? What is their role in the overall Safety Plan? In short, what is their mission?

Some situations are primarily “custodial”. A municipal building at night generally has a security guard on duty simply to provide an alert awake pair of ears and eyes make periodic rounds and assure that doors are properly secured, that there are no fire hazards, and that equipment and materials are undisturbed.

At the opposite extreme, some situations are pre-arrest law enforcement. School, store, or transit security may be sworn peace officers there to enforce the law in the event of a crime being committed. Depending on the laws of the jurisdiction and the authority and certification level of the security officer (such as being an off duty sworn peace officer), a suspect may even be detained subject to arrival of police officers and arrest.

Training times vary from 8 hours to 500 hours between these two extremes. So, in considering what training is appropriate for your particular situation and location, you first have to ask what your mission, your overall purpose, is going to be.

A few basic requirements would certainly include:

  • Monitor and report/respond to any emergencies that arise (fire, catastrophe, environmental or hazardous release)
  • In a Medical Emergency, establish that conditions are safe, report and activate EMS response, and prrovide first aid services until responders arrive
  • Patrol and monitor the area of responsibility, assuring that safe conditions exist
  • Respond to requests for information or assistance by patrons

Beyond these basics, the function will vary from loss prevention surveillance and monitoring patron or employee activity, to maintaining order or providing personal security for visiting dignitaries.

Post comments and suggestions for other functions expected of security personnel.


Introduction to First Aid

December 13, 2007

Vodpod videos no longer available. from www.ustream.tv posted with vodpod


So Much New Stuff

November 16, 2007

Welcome to Prism Safety 2.0!

 We’ve been making improvements, and all our members should know about this.

  • You see this blog space, which everyone is welcome to use.
  • We now have a calendar up on the Academy site, and we’ll be scheduling regular classes there.
  • The blog margin down there on the lower right is running OSHA news updates.
  • Over in the left margin of the Academy you’ll see a Chat/Class Space button that goes to a chat area.
  • Office hours will be set up soon in the calendar, so that anyone with questions can reach the Administrator or an instructor on a regular basis.
  • You are welcome to use the chat space for conversations with anyone you like, and you do not have to be registered to use it, so Enjoy!

The Free First Aid and Adult CPR courses continue to be popular, and there has been interest in seeing class material in video form. So, we’re putting together training materials on video that we’ll either post through here using YouTube, or perhaps… not sure whether to make this regular a commitment yet or not… put as a live scheduled program on UStream.tv.

 We’d be very interested in your input on this. Would you like to see Safety and Health material, First Aid and more, available in a live broadcast/chat format such as UStream? Please let us know. Post a comment here, or send email.

More new features upcoming in the next blog entry. For now, have a good and safe night! 🙂


Safer Children + Halloween

October 17, 2007

Here’s a really brief and simple sniglet about Halloween safety.

LIGHT is your child’s friend. Even if trick or treaters will be accompanied by an adult or older sibling, neighborhood walking is risky in the dark. Reflective tape, reflective bags or containers, and a light source of some kind for EACH child will help prevent accidents.

One flashlight for big brother or sister herding a flocklet of six little ones is just not enough. On the plus side, children LOVE lights in general. Glow sticks carry a particular fascination, and can be activated and hung like a necklace or from a belt or waistband using ribbon or a sash. If flashlight is the illumination of choice, be sure it can be fastened somehow to the costume so that hands can be free. Asking a child to hold onto a lit flashlight throughout the mission is not likely to succeed. The flashlight will wind up in a pocket, (if you’re lucky), or more likely dropped and broken before the trip has gone halfway.

 Just a quick sniglet for family safety. Please feel free to post any ideas for child safety this upcoming Halloween right here.