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The April issue of The Dispatcher has hit the e-stands!

The April issue of The Dispatcher by Security Services is now out. In this issue you will find out more about how Security Services is hosting this year’s  International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators Annual Conference. You will also find out what you can expect from our new presence on Twitter along with reading about best practices with regards to access. You will even get an insight on how we manage the huge job of keeping the campus safe with all the construction going on and more.

Click here to view current and past issues of The Dispatcher.iaclea

Office Safety!

Whether you are stepping out for a couple of minutes, away for a few days or going on holidays, here are a few things you should do to make sure that everything is there when you get back.

Put cameras, or other valuables away where you can lock them, for example in your desk.

If you are responsible for your department’s particular piece of equipment, you should have some sort of tracking system such as a “Chain of Custody” document, where people sign in and out an item. This way, equipment does not go missing for months before you even notice that it is gone. This can be a big help when trying to locate or investigate missing equipment.

Stepping out of your office for just a few minutes? It only takes a few seconds for a thief to come into your office, grab your laptop, wallet or other valuables and walk off with it.

McGill is open to the public most of the day and professional thieves take advantage of your sense of trust.

Try keeping your key on a lanyard or badge reel so that it is not a hassle to lock your office.

If you have a safe in the office, take a moment to read our  Cash  Logistics  pamphlet.

Remember, security is everybody’s responsibility and prevention is 90% of the solution.

Traumatic Incidents & Mental Health

The benefits of good mental health

The Canadian Mental Health Association reminds us that, “just as physical fitness helps our bodies to stay strong, mental fitness helps us to achieve and sustain a state of good mental health. When we are mentally healthy, we enjoy our life and environment, and the people in it. We are better able to cope with difficult times in our personal and professional lives. We feel the sadness and anger that can come with difficult events, but in time, we are able to get on with and enjoy our lives once again.”

Experiencing difficult situations

From time to time, we all experience difficult situations. They are part of life. We all try to cope with these events and move on. However, sometimes after traumatic incidents, individuals struggle to move on even after any threat of danger has passed. These individuals may begin to feel isolated, have nightmares and/or become emotionally numb. If these feelings last for over a month, it is diagnosed as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

PTSD is caused by a psychologically traumatic event. This can include anything from a car accident to a natural disaster to knowing that a close friend or colleague has been harmed or seriously injured. Symptoms of PTSD usually surface within 3 months of experiencing a traumatic event. There are three categories of symptoms usually experienced:

1. Powerful recurrent memories and flashbacks to the event
2. Avoidance and emotional numbing: Avoiding encountering anything that may remind them of the event & withdrawal from family and friends
3. Changes in sleeping patterns and increased alertness

Ways to get help

If in your personal or professional life you experience a traumatic event, know others who have experienced a traumatic event, or feel as though you may be or someone you know may be suffering from PTSD, there are ways to get help right here at McGill.

For Staff – The McGill Employee Assistance Program
The Employee Assistance Program or EAP, is a confidential counselling service for you and members of your family. The program offers confidential, short-term counselling (4-6 sessions) and referral services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week – at no cost to you.
The EAP is designed to provide you with direct access to experienced professionals who will help you resolve your problems – before they affect your health, family life or job performance.

Call (514) 843-7009 or 1 800 567-2433

To learn more about the Employee Assistance Program at McGill, click here: http://www.mcgill.ca/hr/bp/benefits/eap

For Students – McGill Counselling Services
Whether providing assistance during a crisis, teaching relaxation techniques, or discussing a failed exam or broken heart, the McGill Counselling Service is available to help. The office works to provide students with effective therapy, knowledgeable support, and the opportunity to develop the skills they need to be successful in both school and life.

There are numerous ways to receive help:
1. Crisis Drop-In Service: Students experiencing a crisis can drop in any time in Suite 4200 of the Brown Student Services Building between 9 am and 4 pm and be seen by an on-call counsellor at the first available opportunity.

2. Groups & Workshops: Students can attend group counselling or workshops where they can discuss feelings with others to counter feelings of isolation and share things in common. The sessions range in focus and students can register online here: http://www.mcgill.ca/counselling/workshops

3. Individual Appointment: Students can also make individual appointments with the McGill counselling services. Students will first undergo an intake appointment where a discussion of the best way to seek assistance will be provided. Learn more about making individual appointments here: http://www.mcgill.ca/counselling/contact

4. Mental Health Services Clinic: This clinic is for students experiencing mental health difficulties and see’s students on an urgent drop-in basis Monday to Friday from 9 am to 3:30 pm. Appointments can also be booked over the phone at 514-398-6019, by email at mentalhealth.stuserv@mcgill.ca or in person in Suite 5500 of the Brown Student Services Building. To learn more about the Mental Health Services Clinic, click here: http://www.mcgill.ca/mentalhealth/

Additional Information
For additional information on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and what you can do to recover from it, visit the Canadian Mental Health Association online at http://www.cmha.ca/

What is Emergency Management Anyway?

Emergency management can be best described by the cycle that represents it. The emergency management cycle is made up of four phases; prevention/mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery.

The Emergency Management Cycle

The Emergency Management Cycle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Prevention & Mitigation: This phase is focused on preventing or reducing the impacts that any given disaster or emergency may have on our university or community in general. These efforts may be structural in nature or non-structural. For example, installing a flood barricade is a structural measure while enforcing a building code policy can be seen as non-structural.

Preparedness: Inevitably, there will be disasters and emergencies within our communities. Recognizing the hazards that our campuses and city face is the first step in preparing for these potential events. Equally important as recognizing hazards is educating the population about the hazards they face and what they can do to be ready when disaster strikes. Meanwhile, at a wider level, McGill University Safety, communities and government agencies spend time planning, training and exercising emergency plans in order to be ready for when an emergency occurs.

Response:  When emergencies or disasters occur, the initial response begins at the local level. For example, campus staff and security, local police officers and medical personnel will be your primary responders. If the response becomes overwhelming for the local responders and resources begin to deplete, they can request assistance from others. For example, the City of Montreal can request assistance from the Provincial Government who can in turn request assistance from the Federal Government.

Recovery: The shift from response to recovery usually begins once there is no longer a threat of imminent danger. Individuals who were involved in the emergency and its response will begin to build back and restore what was lost during the emergency, where possible. Emergencies and disasters can be devastating and the recovery phase can last for years following an event that only affected a community for one day.

To learn more about what McGill University does to stay prepared, visit the University Safety website here: http://www.mcgill.ca/emfp/emergency-measures

To learn more about emergency management in Canada, visit Public Safety Canada’s website here: http://www.publicsafety.gc.ca/cnt/mrgnc-mngmnt/index-eng.aspx

 

 

Safety Tips to make your vacation travelling memorable…for all the right reasons.

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Safety Abroad

Odds are that when you travel abroad, you will have a safe trip. However, the risks of becoming victims of crime and experience an unforeseen safety/hazardous situation are possible. We all enjoy those road trips, train rides and flights that take us away from our daily routine and although those on constant business trips may not take as much pleasure out of these, one thing to keep in mind is that any successful trip has a lot to do with how safe you travel. Nothing could be more unpleasant than having an unforeseen element ruin your trip and that is particularly why it is best to use preventive measures that can reduce the risk of a potential danger. Of course we can’t always avoid these, but there are tips and guides available to help you organize a safer trip.

Preparing 

Do your research. Most often, those who read books and articles on the countries they plan to visit make the most out of their experience. Traveling guides/books such as Lonely Planet, Frommers and Eyewitness Traveler not only inform you of places to visit, but also include information on costs, cultural trends and safety awareness.  So make sure to hit the traveling section at your nearest book store. 

Packing

-Travel light. You can move more quickly and will be less likely to leave your luggage unattended.

-Always place your handbag on your lap. Avoid school bags or fanny packs as your main hand bags (these are easy targets for thieves).

-Print out a copy of your passport and place it in your luggage; this will serve as a backup and will be useful in the event it is lost or stolen.

-Keep your valuable items in a hotel safe box, if available. If you have to carry them with you, place them each in different places rather than all in one wallet or pouch.

-Pack any medicines you need in your carry-on luggage. To avoid problems when passing through customs, keep medicines in their original, labeled containers. Bring copies of your prescriptions.

-Bring travelers’ checks and one or two major credit cards instead of cash.

-Put your name, telephone number and address inside and outside each piece of luggage.

-Don’t bring anything you would hate to lose, if it can be avoided.

-Avoid dressing in a way that could mark you as a typical tourist.

To do before leaving

-Register with the Government. It is recommended that you register at the nearest Canadian government office abroad. You can also register online, by mail or in person.

-Those who are traveling for longer periods should check the expiry dates of their credit cards.

-Make sure to call your bank and other financial institutions to inform them of your traveling dates. Most banks, if not informed of your travelling dates, will block your accounts if transactions are made outside of your country of residence.

-Make note of your credit limit.

-If you don’t have travelling insurance you can always purchase one through most financial institutions.

If staying in a hotel

-Read the fire safety instructions in your hotel room and make sure you know where the emergency exits are located.

-Get all the local emergency numbers needed in case of an emergency. These include: police station, fire department, hotel concierge, consulate

Safety on Street

-Avoid unknown shortcuts and trust the instructions given by a tour operator or travelling guide.

-Do not discuss your travelling itinerary and specifics with strangers.

-Keep a low profile and avoid loud conversations or arguments.

-Beware of pickpockets who will try to distract you by asking for directions, tell you they see a stain on your clothes and so on (this includes children).

On the road/transportation

-Read your traveling guide for the most useful transportation tips, but also visit a tourist kiosk for such information. Your hotel concierge should also be able to assist you with such information.

-Taxis: only take official taxis even if a local on the street tells you it’s safe.

-Always keep your train ticket with you, do not dispose of it until you are done with your commute. In certain countries, trains get very crowded and some individuals manage to get in without a ticket. Some could even take your assigned seat. Unless the train officials make a ticket-check round, you could end up losing your seating arrangements.

-If you rent a car, choose a type that is commonly available. Keep the doors locked at all time and avoid driving late in the night, if possible.

-Be suspicious of anyone who tries to get your attention when you are near your car. This is typical in gas stations or parking lots.

Money

-Take the minimum cash possible on you and keep money in at least two separate locations.

-Don’t leave your credit cards unattended.

-Always keep your receipts.

-Traveling checks are very much recommended. You can get these at your local bank before you leave.

Should you feel in a situation at risk, your first bet would be to contact the Canadian consulate. Most problems can be solved over the phone.

For more tips on traveling safe pleased visit Service Canada’s page Travelling Abroad.

http://www.servicecanada.gc.ca/eng/lifeevents/travel.shtml

 

Have a safe trip!

Taking the lead in emergency response

Tabletop

As part of our continuing efforts to provide a safe working and learning environment, members of University Safety recently took part in an emergency response simulation. This exercise provided  emergency responders an opportunity to implement their response plans and incident management skills in a controlled environment.

To learn more about University Safety’s services, visit our website.

Congratulations to all the participants!

McGill Attention! Alert!

McGill Attention BannerIn line with the recommendations of the Jutras Report, we are  continually improving every aspect of our emergency communications planning.
On January 31, 2012 we launched a new software called AlertUs. You’ve probably already seen an AlertUs message pop up on your computer, either for a real emergency or for testing purposes. Please read the message as it may warn you of an emergency. If it’s a test of your safety is not in danger, close the window and continue using your computer normally.
McGill is home to some 45,000 students, faculty and staff, and in an emergency we need a wide range of communications tools to reach as many people as possible. That is why we are adding AlertUs to our mass communications systems. While no system is perfect, AlertUs will help us make McGill a safer place.
For more information on this new service and other notification services at your disposal, visit our webpage.
This post first appeared in the Emergency Measures and Fire Prevention newsletter March 2012.

Emergency Measures and Fire prevention Newsletter – May Edition

It is with pleasure that we make available to you the May issue of the Emergency Measures and Fire Prevention Newsletter.  Besides presenting the two recipients of our Safety Ambassador awards, we answer your request for information on portable fire extinguishers and fire doors.  This issue is available in both French and English.

Are you ready? Civil Protection Week, May 5th to 11th

This annual event promotes public awareness about the importance of being properly prepared to face a variety of emergency situations and hazards, such as flooding or other natural disasters, extended power outages or a house fire.

Each family and individual needs to prepare its own safety plan and emergency kit to ensure it can be self-sufficient for the first 72 hours in an emergency situation, until help arrives.

You are invited to accomplish the following actions to ensure your safety and the safety of your family.

  • Prepare your family safety plan to meet basic needs for 72 hours.
  • Prepare your emergency kit.
  • Learn how to be better prepared for emergencies.
You can find more information on how to prepare for emergencies here and take a quiz to evaluate your level of preparedness!

How to use a fire extinguisher

In general, units have been purchased by the Fire Prevention Office or Faculties to meet the probable needs of the environment. For example: dry chemical multi-purpose extinguishers with an ABC classification are installed in the hallways of  major buildings for general usage. These extinguishers would put out three types of fires.
On campus, all classes of combustible or fire may be found in one place or another:
- wood, paper, plastics – class A
- flammable liquids, grease – class B
- live electrical equipment – class C
- combustible metals – class D
- commercial kitchen grease – class K
Several types of extinguishers are installed depending on what needs to be protected and how.  See what’s available to you before an emergency happens so you know which extinguisher is safe to use for your circumstances.  Your safety comes first.
To use an extinguisher efficiently, think of the acronym PASS:
- Pull the pin out
- Aim the nozzle at the base of the fire
- Squeeze the handle
- Sweep from side to side
This post first appeared in the Emergency Measures and Fire Prevention newsletter August 2011.

by Gloria De Melo, Operations Supervisor
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Blog authors are solely responsible for the content of the blogs listed in the directory. Neither the content of these blogs, nor the links to other web sites, are screened, approved, reviewed or endorsed by McGill University. The text and other material on these blogs are the opinion of the specific author and are not statements of advice, opinion, or information of McGill.