Posts from — May 2012

Memorial Day 2012

We pause this Memorial Day weekend to reflect upon the meaning of this special holiday.  We think it is important to remind ourselves that this day of remembrance has nothing to do with furniture sales, picnics, swimming pools and barbecue cookouts. It is a holiday that was originally started in the 1800’s by former slaves after the Civil War to honor the unknown Union dead.  It was first called Decoration Day.  It is now a day we honor great American men and women who’ve lost their lives in wars and conflicts the world over. Freedom was not born nor is it maintained in the quagmire of politics.  In every instance of true freedom, birth comes and longevity is assured because of the courageous and honorable men and women who have fought and continue to fight around the globe.

We offer our solemn gratitude to those valiant soldiers who paid the ultimate price to ensure freedom continues to ring loud and true in the United States of America.  We extend our heart-felt appreciation to those courageous soldiers and their dear families who continue to pay great sacrifice every day of their lives that we may be free to exercise our rights and privileges in this magnificent country.

God bless them all.  God bless America.

Facta non Verba

May 25, 2012   1 Comment

Building Evacuation Technology Takes a Step Forward: iEvac® Smoke/Fire Hood Receives NIOSH Approval!

We have to commend Ira Gurvitch President of Elmridge Protection for his determination to manufacture the best smoke/fire escape hood in the world. Although the iEvac product has been on the market since 2009 and certified well beyond ANSI 110 testing standards, the approval process with NIOSH took more time.  We’ve briefed and demonstrated the iEvac smoke and fire escape hood to many federal agencies and private sector organizations and NIOSH approvals were high on their list despite outstanding performance in the demanding ANSI 110 trials.

The following photos were taken during a live demonstration & workshop for iEvac at our local Albemarle County Fire Department’s Burn House.

Considering  the iEvac is an advanced emergency preparedness product that is specifically engineered to help you safely evacuate a smoke compromised building, we thought it worthwhile to revisit a prior blog post published on that very subject.  Enjoy!

Escape and Evacuation:
Emergency Egress from High Rise Buildings, Factories and Industrial Facilities

Whether you work in a modern skyscraper office building or live in a residential high-rise condominium apartment, you have to plan how you will safely evacuate and egress to safety in the event of an explosion or fire emergency. If you travel internationally for work, we’re confident your company’s risk management department has cautioned you against occupying a hotel room higher than floors which can typically be reached by local fire department ladder trucks.

Building fires with dense toxic smoke are not specific to high-rise structures and, in fact, can occur in any building, factory or industrial complex. A practiced building evacuation plan with posted escape routes, trained personnel and fire drills is the logical place to start. Imagine the reality of you and your co-workers traversing debris strewn floors, collapsed ceiling grids, smoke-filled darkened stairwells, and passing intensely hot areas consumed by fire as you make your escape from the building. Where are you meeting others from your office? Is everyone accounted for and has anyone been injured? Did everyone make it out? Where’s Bob? I thought he was with you?

The most likely potential danger faced by a workforce, whether as a result of industrial accident, terrorist activity or from other causes, would be fire and the highly toxic smoke and gases it generates. The next step is choosing the most appropriate and effective means of protecting people and this means finding a way to assist them in safely evacuating a building engulfed with smoke and fire. A number of safety devices have been engineered to address the issue of high-rise building evacuation.

Another element of the ICE PACK™ brand are Escape & Evacuation systems that provide persons potentially trapped by smoke and fire, with a safe and protective means to egress the building. There is no doubt that toxic smoke and fire are deadly combinations especially inside a darkened building. Being prepared and equipped to egress through and out of a building fire takes courage, determination and technology at a very personal level.

The ICE PACK™ Building Evac-Pack is a lightweight gym bag sized package that easily fits under your office desk. It is designed to provide the user with basic to advanced levels of protection, and in the most dire of circumstances, approximately 15 to 30 minutes of respiratory protection from smoke, carbon monoxide, toxic gases and radiant heat. The Building Evac-Pack’s cornerstone of protection is the advanced technology iEvac Smoke/Fire Hood. The Evac-Pack also includes eye, hand and body protection, emergency lighting and signaling equipment.

Time, tools and tenacity are what you need to escape safely!

Facta non Verba

May 18, 2012   No Comments

Your Community in Dialogue: Nursing Homes/Elderly Care Facilities – Will Your Loved Ones Be Adequately Cared For During a Disaster or Emergency?

The degree of neglect and abuse which has been attributed with far too many of our nation’s nursing homes is deeply troubling to say the least.  Neglected, abused, and threatened, nursing home residents may suffer physically and emotionally. Painful bedsores, broken bones, or even premature death can result from neglectful and outright abusive treatment.  Unfortunately, in many cases it seems a serious lack of emergency preparedness by these nursing home facilities may just be one more offense to add to the list.

Almost seven years ago, the devastation of Hurricane Katrina revealed the critical failures of nursing homes to provide adequate care and safe evacuation for their residents during a disaster or significant emergency.  35 elderly residents of the St. Rita Nursing Home alone, for instance, drowned during that horrific event.  According to a Houston Chronicle investigation, it was estimated that 139 nursing home residents died overall during that hurricane or in the immediately following aftermath.

The owners of St Rita’s were found innocent of negligent homicide and cruelty to the infirm in 2007, but have gone on to face more than 30 civil lawsuits from family members of those who needlessly perished. How were the owners found innocent of the criminal charges?  One juror indicated that he was directly swayed by the arguments of the defense which emphasized the government was largely to blame for the tragedy because of breached levees and the state’s failure to help evacuate nursing homes.

A recent government investigation of 210 nursing homes across seven states found that as a whole, such facilities are woefully unprepared in the face of hurricanes, floods or wildfires.  Amongst a litany of emergency preparedness shortfalls, a few standout.  For instance 19 of these homes had absolutely no plan whatsoever to transport their patients in the face of disaster threatening the facility.  To make that fact worse, 17 homes indicated that transportation contracts they did have in place to transport patients were not honored during an emergency evacuation.

Considering that in 2009, 3 million people spent time in a nursing home, there’s a good chance someone you know and love is a permanent or temporary resident of such an elderly care facility.  If so, there are questions about that facility’s emergency plans to which you need answers. Many residents of such homes lack mobility and are already in frail health, so failure to have adequate emergency plans could be a death sentence.

  1. What is the plan to notify family members of residents in case of an emergency or evacuation?
  2. How is the evacuation of residents conducted?  How are they transported?  Where are they transported to? How do you communicate with your loved ones under such circumstances?
  3. How does the facility manage the medication requirements of residents during an evacuation?
  4. What is the plan to coordinate with local authorities during a crisis?
  5. Does the nursing home’s emergency plans in any way rely upon external resources (such as local, state, or federal government) to facilitate the safe evacuation and care of residents during a disaster?  If so, to what degree and specifically which organization or agency is being relied upon? (similar questions need to then be asked of said organization or agency)
  6. If the facility relies on third-party contractors to provide transportation, has that third-party ever been put to the test during a live emergency?  How can you be assured that such third-party will fulfill its contractual obligations?
  7. When was the last emergency drill conducted by the elderly care facility?
  8. Is emergency evacuation covered in the contract that you signed with the facility for your loved one?
  9. Does the nursing home have a Shelter-In-Place capability?
  10. In the event of an extreme weather emergency can the facility sustain itself for at least 72 hours without endangering the health and welfare of the patients? Does the facility have back up power for HVAC and refrigeration of medications and food?

Ask the questions and make a real difference in the quality of care of your loved ones living in a nursing home or elderly care facility!

Facta non Verba

May 7, 2012   No Comments