Month: July 2015


Fires are 100% preventable. Proper equipment paired with well-trained individuals can save businesses and lives. In fact, most work environments must have an emergency action plan, functioning extinguishers, and trained extinguisher operators. OSHA’s requirements vary from one environment to the next—typically depending on size, occupancy, industry, and personnel. The more flammable material present in a place, the more strict OSHA requirements become.

You Need Fire Extinguisher Training or Education

Regardless of OSHA’s required training and education minimums, it’s a good idea to make yourself and the people around you prepared for an emergency.

Three reasons to fire train your staff:

  • OSHA usually requires training or education anyway.
  • You may get a better insurance rating.
  • Your staff will be well prepared in the event of a fire.

Fire Extinguisher Training vs Fire Education

Do you need either extinguisher training or fire education? The difference lies in the amount of hands on learning that takes place. Training includes supplementing the normal safety protocol information with real, hands on, extinguisher practice. Education is simply providing your staff with information about proper safety procedures and protocol—no hands on extinguisher practice included.

How do you know you are giving your staff the best knowledge for their position in the company? The answer lies in who is allowed to use an extinguisher. An employee that is included in your emergency action plan as an extinguisher operator must receive training. All other employees that are not designated extinguisher operators will only need extinguisher education.

OSHA Extinguisher Training
Guide to OSHA Extinguisher Training Requirements

Where You Can Find Fire Extinguisher Training

Schools and other government organizations can have their local fire department train or educate their staff. All other companies will need to pay a certified trainer. To book training or for more information, click here.

A1 is a leading expert on the latest technology in life safety. For training or a personal evaluation please call us at 937-859-6198. For more information, visit us at

Will Buchholz

Simplify Budgeting for System Care

Life safety system expenses don’t end after the installation is completed. Periodic maintenance for a system may often times cost more that the system itself. Tests and maintenance can be easily planned, but emergencies and part failures can put unexpected strain on your budget. How can you accommodate unplanned upkeep? Putting budget money aside is a way to guard yourself, but what if the situation is much more serious than you anticipated?

A Real World Example
Recently, in a facility, the mother board burnt out three times from April to July. The particular motherboard costs a median amount of $800. The system is down, resulting in overnight shipping costs of $200 to keep operations moving according to plan. To diagnose the problem, the service company sends out a technician costing $50 per trip and $100 per hour with a 2 hour minimum in labor. Once the panel arrives, the tech returns to the location again, adding another $50 and $200 for the second trip. Since this happened 3 times in one year, multiply the total by three.

The Cost Breakdown:

Mother board                     $800
Shipping Cost                     $200

Trip 1 Charge                      $50
Trip 1 Labor                        $200

Trip 2 Charge                      $50
Trip 2 Labor                        $200
Subtotal                               $1500
Total for 3 Repairs              $4500

In a three month period, the company had to pay $4500 for unexpected low voltage repairs. That’s $4500 out of their budget.

How can You Save Your Budget?
Thankfully, the systems industry is moving towards offering better options for customers by offering plans that allow you to pay for any repairs your system upfront.

If the facility in the previous example had a service agreement with their service provider, they might have paid $3000 upfront to cover any electronic repairs over a 5 year period. That would mean, in a three month period, that facility saved $1500. Note that these savings do not include any other repairs that occur either previously, or after those 3 months.

Why are Service Agreements a Smart Choice?
1. Most service agreements include exclusive discounts, saving you money over time.
2. Your equipment will continue to run efficiently.
3. Your service provider will remind you when your systems are due for maintenance.
4. Possible issues or inefficiencies will be caught before an emergency repair is needed.
5. Your service provider will already know your equipment, which can facilitate a fast remedy.
6. If you need a system part replacement, you’ll save on the cost of the part.
7. Your equipment has a better chance of running more efficiently for the rest of its expected life.
8. You will eliminate unexpected service bills and have a better chance of staying on budget.
9. You have the guarantee of priority placement in the service queue.

Service agreements can be customized, and most facilities will benefit from having them. Budgeting for your systems doesn’t need to be difficult. To find out more information or to ask a question, click here or call us at 937-859-6198.

Joseph Reynolds
Joseph Reynolds

Fake Security Cameras: Are They All That?

What are fake security cameras?

Fake cameras are exactly what they sound like: inexpensive props that look like real CCTV cameras. They are designed to mimic the appearance of popular models of residential and commercial security cameras, but provide no real protection. They are not working cameras and will not record any footage.

Do Fake Security Cameras Prevent Crime?

The honest answer here is, maybe. A scarecrow might work for a few months, but eventually the birds learn the dummy poses no threat and will flock to a farm again. In the same way, criminals will eventually figure out you have a fake camera. They’ll take advantage of the lack of security and you’ll find yourself paying for a real camera that you probably should have spent money on in the first place, as well as having the cost of loss or damage.

Fake cameras can create a false sense of security, which can get you into trouble in more ways than you may think.

The Liability in Fake Security Cameras

The false sense of security from your fake camera can create disastrous consequences for everyone but the criminal.

While dummy security cameras may provide some degree of deterrence, installing them does expose the company to liability. If there is a known security issue, the company may have a duty (if not legally, what about an ethical duty?) to take reasonable measures to protect the business, employees, and property.

By installing a dummy security camera, particularly if there is a known security issue, the company is representing that there is a security measure in place — one that does not actually exist. If a crime occurs in an area where a person felt secure due to the existence of the camera, the company is at risk for creating the false sense of security. Similarly, there is exposure to liability if a person who was a victim of a crime in an area “monitored” by the dummy camera subpoenas the video and there is none.

There are a growing number of lawsuits finding liability for these dummy cameras. The best way to mitigate this liability is to install real security cameras.

Protecting Yourself Against Falsehoods

Keeping a video record of everything that happens in your building will save you from any false claims. For example, if someone claims they fell in your parking lot, footage for evidence will make a much stronger contest of the fraudulent claim.

Pros and Cons of Fake Security Cameras

-Less Expensive (at least initially)

-Lawsuits from people who thought they were safe
-Can’t catch perpetrators as easily
-Only hold off crime for so long (then the cost of fake security cameras increases because they are in addition to your loss and, potentially, the new install of real cameras)
-No evidence to protect against fraudulent claims

By putting the money forward initially for a real security camera, you’ll be saving yourself from greater expenses later.

Jack Menke
Jack Menke

Get it Right the First Time: Forgo Joint Commission Drama

The Joint Commission can be a dreaded, looming entity for healthcare facilities. Don’t fret! We’ve laid out the five most common deficiencies, and how you can avoid them.

Keep an Eye Out for These Common Problems
The five most frequently found hospital deficiencies in the first half of 2013 according to the Joint Commission are:

1. The hospital fails to maintain complete and accurate medical records for each individual patient.

2. The hospital fails to maintain the integrity of the means of egress.

3. The hospital fails to reduce the risk of infections associated with medical equipment, devices and supplies.

4. The hospital fails to manage risks associated with its utility systems.

5. Building and fire protection features are not designed and maintained to minimize the effects of fire, smoke and heat.

How to Avoid Making These Mistakes
With all the things to worry about in your facility, the five mistakes are easy to make. Prevention is better than correction. Here’s how to prevent these deficiencies in the future:

1. Promote a Culture of Safety in Your Facility. Safety culture forms the foundation of all activities within a hospital including those examined by surveyors. Without the proper leadership and staff engagement in safety, hospitals are more likely to be deficient in key safety requirements.

2. Be Prepared. Being prepared and organized for your survey is crucial. Mock surveys are an effective way to identify potential deficiencies before the Joint Commission gets there. Approaching preparedness as a way to improve the hospital or organization will help the hospital provide the safest, most quality care possible.

3. Have and Environment of Care and Life Safety Standards. Having a sanitary and safe environment at all times will prevent infection, cross-contamination, or life-safety deficiencies. Having regular inspections will help identify any safety deficiencies.

4. Maintain Your Records. Hospitals must maintain records for care, treatment, and services for each individual patient. Just as important are the inspection reports for a hospital. They not only tell your surveyor that you are on your game, but also help you identify and resolve any safety issues. As hospitals move toward to electronic records, the Joint Commission expects record deficiencies to occur much less frequently. Building inspections have moved to online platforms that organize and collect your records according to Joint Commission standards.

5. Have a Sufficient Performance Improvement Plan. Improvement plans are a way for hospitals to identify and correct deficiencies. The Joint Commission monitors hospitals’ progress and will offer suggestion on points of improvement. A complete plan with specific goals and strategies will not only appease the accreditation organization, but also help the hospital improve as an institution overall.

Joint Commission surveys can be worrisome for healthcare facilities, but staying actively involved in health and safety practices will drastically reduce the chances for deficiencies. The key is to catch an issue before the Joint Commission does, and to keep working to reach 100%. In the end, everyone from will be happy, healthy, and safe!

If you need an inspection completed before you next Joint Commission survey, or you’d like to ask questions about your specific case, you can click here to contact an expert, or call 1-800-859-6198.

Joseph Reynolds

Joseph Reynolds