Onward and Upward

27 Jan


If there’s one thing we’ve learned through our years in emergency services and disaster preparedness, it’s adaptability. Change is really the only constant.

Over the past few years, we have experienced incredible change and growth at Response LifeSafety. Our services have grown, our teams have expanded and our message of safety and preparedness has found new audiences. We couldn’t be more excited to take you all with us as we continue this journey.

Of course, along with change comes the things we need to leave behind…
We’ve decided it’s time to roll up the blog in favor of a more nimble and accessible approach to our company communications. Please find us on Facebook and Twitter for regular updates and information!

Onward and upward….

Response LifeSafety

Hang On A Minute — and Stay Safe This Thanksgiving!

28 Nov

It’s Thanksgiving morning and, hopefully, you’ve defrosted that turkey and are well on your way to a delicious feast with family and friends…

We openly admit it: We fry our turkey. It tastes great and frees up the oven for our favorite pies…but we always fry safely.

We thoroughly enjoy our turkey fryer safety reminders…

But truly, be safe today, especially if you plan to fry your turkey. Make it a Thanksgiving you’ll remember forever, not one that you wish you could forget!

ShakeOut. Be Ready.

15 Oct


It’s that time of the year again! In less than 48 hours we will join over 9 million California residents and participate in the Great California ShakeOut. On October 17th at 10:17am we will practice how to be safe during an earthquake with ‘Drop, Cover, Hold On’ drills. The ShakeOut has also been organized to encourage you, your community, your school or organization to review and update emergency preparedness plans and supplies, and to secure your space in order to prevent damage and injuries.

Last year we joined over 800 school-aged children at the Tech Museum of Innovation to set a ShakeOut record. This year we are busily preparing private ShakeOut events and hope to educate more than 500 people during Thursday’s events.

If you haven’t planned a ShakeOut event for your group, there’s still time! Visit shakeout.org for everything you need to host an event of any size.

Remember, while some areas of California are more likely to have earthquakes than others, all of California is at higher risk compared to the rest of the country. You could be anywhere when an earthquake strikes: at home, at work, at school, or even on vacation.

What we do now will determine our quality of life after our next big earthquake. Are you prepared to survive and recover quickly?


Smart Tips for Back-to-School Safety

16 Aug

It’s that time of the year again – summer is drawing to a close and the kids are headed back to school.

And as all of us parents breathe a collective sigh of relief, there are a few things we should all know before we leave our pride and joy in the hands of capable and caring teachers.

Safety should be a priority for all parents as children return to class this Fall. Here are a few important tips to keep everyone safe:


Backpacks…To Personalize or Not


As responders and safety experts, nothing makes us cringe more than those backpacks with embroidered names emblazoned across the back.

We understand that kids have a tendency to lose their school items (okay, they lose everything..), but this is not the safest way to label a backpack.

Think of all the people that your child passes between home and school. Do you want all of those strangers to know your child’s name?

Best to write their name on the inside of the pack or personalize it with a favorite patch or keychain.


Bikes, Scooters and Anything with Wheels

If your child will be riding their bike, scooter, skateboard or other wheeled item to school, be sure to review the rules of the road and your own expectations for their safe travel.

Most importantly, be sure that they always wear a helmet. Helmets reduce the risk of bicycle-related head injury by 80%, yet only 15% of children wear helmets all or most of the time while riding (report, Centers for Disease Control).


 In Case of Emergency

Unfortunately, large-scale emergencies and natural disasters have a habit of happening anytime and anywhere. If your child were stranded at school for an extended period of time, would there be supplies for them? Ask your child’s school if they have emergency supplies and a plan to communicate information to parents.


Reality of Campus Security

campus safety1-1
Since the tragic events in Newtown, CT and countless other campus shootings, a light has been shed on the need for campus security at every school.

It is no longer acceptable for administrators to operate without a plan for responding to a ‘threat on campus’. Simply locking the classroom and calling the office is not sufficient.

Ask your child’s teacher and the school principal what their plan is and how they practice the plan. We can’t keep our kids in a bubble or live in constant fear, but with competent preparation and planning, we can provide them with a safe and secure place to learn.

Have a Safe and Sane Fourth of July — Without Fireworks

3 Jul


It’s not yet the Fourth of July holiday and it’s already begun…As the summer sun sinks and our neighborhood quiets for another summer night, it starts. Whirrrr, whistle, pop, pop, BOOM.

Fireworks are illegal in the city where we live and throughout most of the Bay Area, but that hardly stops many residents from purchasing and using them (‘safe and sane’ or otherwise).  While fireworks may, at first thought, seem pretty harmless on the spectrum of potentially lawbreaking activities, consider these facts:

  • In 2011, fireworks caused an estimated 17,800 reported fires which caused 8 reported civilian deaths, 40 injuries and $32 million in property damage.
  • In 2011, US hospital emergency rooms treated an estimated 9,600 people for fireworks-related injuries.
  • On Independence Day in a typical year, more US fires are reported than on any other day, and fireworks account for two out of five of those fires, more than any other cause.

Source: NFPA Fireworks Report, June 2013. See more fireworks-related statistics on the infographic below, provided by CPSC.

For may of us, fireworks are as American as the Fourth of July and backyard barbecues; But there really are no “safe” fireworks and the best way to see them is when they’re provided by professionals.

Find a display in your area and have a safe and happy Independence Day!


Logan International Airport AED Program Takes Flight

7 May


Airports across the country are implementing Automated External Defibrillator (AED) programs and training staff to use them. In one international hub, their hard work is showing…

According to a ZOLL Corporation case study, Logan International Airport in Boston could be one of the safest airports in the world if you suffer sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) while traveling.

Logan was one of the first airports to install automated external defibrillators (AEDs) as far back as 1996. More recently, the Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport), which owns and operates Logan, undertook a technology upgrade and installed over 170 ZOLL AED Plus® units throughout Logan and the other transportation facilities it operates in Massachusetts.

Today, Logan can boast that over the past year it has achieved a 75 percent survival rate from sudden cardiac arrest. “That’s triple the national average,” said Chief Robert Donahue, who heads Massport Fire and Rescue.

To date, over 50 percent of Logan’s workforce — some 8,000 employees — have been trained to use the AED Plus as part of Massport’s ongoing training program, which includes first aid, CPR and AEDs.

The AED Plus units are dispersed throughout the airport in high-volume areas at intervals that are no greater than a 90-second brisk walk. Signage is very conspicuous. When a cardiac arrest event is reported, a call goes out over the public address system signaling the victim’s location to the four EMS rescue stations at Logan; Massport Fire and Rescue mobilizes a rapid response ambulance crew to be at the scene in less than three minutes. From Logan, SCA victims can be transported to some of the best hospitals in the world within two minutes.

That systematic approach, and Boston’s robust hospital network, paid off in lifesaving dividends for 48-year-old computer programmer, Doug Hale, whose SCA was witnessed by two transportation security officers Massport had trained. Both TSA officers and a passenger, an off-duty police officer, jumped to his aid with CPR and an AED Plus. Fire dispatch arrived in three minutes, shocked Hale, and continued CPR. He was rushed to Massachusetts General Hospital, where he was treated with therapeutic hypothermia and then sent to rehab for a few weeks. After his recovery, Hale and his wife came back to Logan to publicly thank his rescuers for saving his life.

“What happened to me is testament to how critical having AEDs in public places can be,” said Doug Hale. “And having one that coaches rescuers with visual and audio prompts through a lifesaving event gives rescuers assurances when every second is vital.”

Doug’s wife, Tammy, a dental hygienist trained in CPR and AEDs, witnessed the event. “It seemed the rescuers were there almost immediately and hooked Doug up to the AED so fast. The AED Plus coached them every step of the way — where to place the electrodes, when the compressions weren’t deep enough. This was so critical because when you are usually doing compressions, you are blind to how effective they are.”

“Anyone could use this AED. It was so simple, not like the one I was trained on,” she added. “We’re grateful this happened in Boston because we might have had a different outcome if it had happened someplace else.”

For more information on AED implementation and training programs, please visit us at rlsafety.com.

Terrorism – thoughts following Boston

16 Apr


Our Co-Owner and Coordinator, Luisa Rapport, wrote this commentary yesterday following the tragic events that unfolded during the Boston Marathon and we think it deserves a repost.

Our hearts and prayers go out to everyone involved and affected by the attack.


Many years ago, when I was employed in public safety, I had the opportunity to meet a group of responders from Magen David Adom, the Israeli national emergency medical service. They were educated, skilled responders, just like me, with families just like mine. They dealt with terrorist acts on a daily basis and made it clear to us that they would not be surprised to see it happen in the United States. Maybe we have been naïve to the hard truths of the world today, maybe we foolishly thought we were immune. I don’t know.

 This I do know: Terrorism, be it domestic or foreign, big, small or otherwise is universal in its intent; to terrorize, to make us afraid; To shake us so deeply as a community and victimize us as a nation that we cease to function as one. Regardless of which political party is in control, who is elected President, who has a gun or what security measures are in place, we will always be at risk for terrorism. That is scary.

But we all have the ability to fight terrorism. We can fight by getting to know our neighbors and building our communities. We can fight by supporting our responders and all those who rush in and go to work when everyone else is running out. We can fight by accepting different cultures and religions and beliefs (terrorists, as a whole, especially hate that). We can fight by being proud Americans who find the best in a changing nation.

We cannot bring those back that have been lost to terrorist acts. But by refusing to allow this to terrorize us, by refusing to allow this to disrupt and divide us as a nation, we reduce the number of victims and make the act unsuccessful.


Be a Link in the Chain of Survival

9 Apr



A 24 year-old NHL hockey player who collapsed during a pick-up game is saved by friends who performed CPR and used the AED installed in the arena.

A 7th grader in Frisco, Texas collapses in a school hallway and is alive today due to the quick action and use of an AED by two teachers.

TSA agents and passengers witness a 48 year-old computer programmer collapse at Logan International Airport and provide lifesaving care.

These three incidents of Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) are just a tiny portion of the over 300,000 individuals who experience SCA each year. When we imagine the age and condition of someone who might require lifesaving CPR and defibrillation, this is not who we imagine. Yet these are the faces of SCA.

In 1990, the American Heart Association developed the Chain of Survival, with the knowledge that most SCA episodes happen outside of a hospital, with death occurring within minutes of onset.

For the Chain to be effective, quick execution of each and every link is critical. With every minute that passes, the victim’s chance of survival decreases by 7-10%.


The Chain of Survival is comprised of four critical components:

Early AccessEarly Access to Emergency Care involves being able to recognize the signs of SCA and calling 9-1-1 immediately.




Early CPREarly CPR should be started and maintained until emergency medical services (EMS) arrives. During cardiacarrest, the heart quivers and twitches, and cannot pump blood effectively through the body. CPR keeps blood flowing to the heart, brain and throughout the body, sustaining life until a defibrillator, or other advanced medical care, arrives.


Early DefibrillationEarly Defibrillation is the only way that the heart function of a person with ventricular fibrillation (v-fib) can be re-started. If an automated external defibrillator (AED) is available, it should be used as quickly as possible. CPR alone is unlikely to fully resuscitate a person in SCA. Early defibrillation is perhaps the most significant link.


Early Advanced CareEarly Advance Care is the final link and is provided by emergency medical services personnel. Paramedics and other highly trained EMS personnel can provide interventions that include the administration of cardiac drugs and the insertion of endotracheal breathing tubes.



When each link of the chain works successfully, the chance of surviving SCA increases greatly.


Since more than 85% of all SCA cases occur outside of a hospital, trained EMS personnel are unlikely to be at the scene immediately. Therefore, the most critical factors are having trained layperson responders with quick access to AEDs, making the Chain of Survival strong and ensuring the best possible chance of survival.

Sources: Philips Chain of Survival, Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation, Cardiac Smart

For more information or to inquire about CPR and AED training, visit rlsafety.com

We’re A Provider!

26 Feb


Since our doors first opened in 1996, Response LifeSafety has constantly strived to provide our clients with the very best in emergency and preparedness training. We continually look for partnerships with like-minded organizations, that can benefit our clients and support our mission as a company. Today is no different.

We are excited to announce that, after a lengthy, months-long process, Response LifeSafety has been selected as a Licensed Training Provider for the American Red Cross! We are one of only twenty-two chosen across multiple states in the Western Division.

Working together with the American Red Cross will be an excellent way for us to provide our clients with the same quality training they have come to expect and the Red Cross certifications that are so universally recognized.

It also gives us the distinct opportunity to sustain and expand the mission that we share with the Red Cross in helping people prevent, prepare for and respond to emergencies of all sizes.

The American Red Cross has a long tradition of providing quality, lifesaving education since 1909 and the International Red Cross Movement is the largest humanitarian volunteer organization in the world. We are honored to be considered part of these organizations.

For more information on the training and services we provide, visit our website.

To learn more about the American Red Cross and to volunteer to help in your community, visit www.redcross.org.

It’s Everyone’s Fault in California

21 Jan


image via nationalgeographic.com

Remember the “old days” in California, a whole month ago, when the idea of a major earthquake meant a widespread disaster in Northern or Southern California?

Now, Caltech seismologists have released scientific evidence that a “major earthquake” in California could actually produce shaking and widespread damage throughout the entire state.

New evidence coming from researchers studying the 1999 Taiwan quake and the 2011earthquake in Japan indicates that previously “stable” creeping zones were active in both incidents.

“What we have found, based on laboratory data about rock behavior, is that such supposedly stable segments can behave differently when an earthquake rupture penetrates into them. Instead of arresting the rupture as expected, they can actually join in and hence make earthquakes much larger than anticipated,” says Nadia Lapusta, professor of mechanical engineering and geophysics at Caltech and coauthor of the study, published January 9 in the journal Nature.

 So what should this new data mean to your average Californian? Quite a bit.

“…a creeping segment separates the southern and northern parts of California’s San Andreas Fault. Seismic hazard assessments assume that this segment would stop an earthquake from propagating from one region to the other, limiting the scope of a San Andreas quake. However, the team’s findings imply that a much larger event may be possible than is now anticipated—one that might involve both the Los Angeles and San Francisco metropolitan areas.”

 Historically, emergency response to major California earthquakes has come from agencies in unaffected areas of the state. Southern California offers up resources to the North and vice versa. With the new quake model, both ends of the state would be affected, making it impossible to receive resources and aid.

Most importantly, this should be a reminder to all of us that we should be prepared to support ourselves and our families for a minimum of 72 hours following a major disaster. If a statewide earthquake struck, we should expect emergency services, food, fuel and utilities to be unavailable for much longer. Consider increasing your storage to a one to two week supply of essentials.

For more information on the Caltech report, visit the Caltech News page.

For more information on how you can prepare for a disaster, visit ready.gov.

Information for this article also found here.