5 Steps People Can Take to Increase Fire Safety in Their Building

Having a strong system in place for fire safety is integral to any building. It is important to make plans and ensure if a fire should occur, occupants are as safe as possible. Here are some steps you can take to help:

1. Identify Fire Hazards

It’s integral that sources of heat are kept away from anything that could catch fire. Think about sources of ignition – not only naked flames but also electrical equipment that produces heat as a byproduct. Other more obvious ignition sources include matches, cigarettes, and heaters. Also, identify items that have the potential to be fuel (gas, packaging, trash, furniture, paint, wood, paper, plastic foam, etc.)

2. Find out Information about the People in the Building

If a fire happens, everyone is at risk. There may be people who are in more danger than others, such as those who work near dangerous areas, night staff, visitors, and clients who are not familiar with the layout of the building – as well as children, the elderly, and the disabled.  

3. Make a Plan Based on the Above

After evaluating any potential hazards and finding out who frequents the building, you can make a plan. Move sources of heat and ignition to safe spaces, and remove any unnecessary fuel. Make a full escape plan based on the perceived dangers, ensuring to take into account if there are vulnerable people in the area. Delegate tasks such as calling the fire department, keeping a record of people in the building, warning people of the fire, and using fire safety equipment.

4. Remember to Record, Plan, and Train

Keep a record of all the information you have compiled, as well as what actions have been taken, and what needs to be done moving forward. You should share your plan with everyone in the building, so you can act quickly to ensure everyone’s safety. Make sure staff are trained in the overall escape plan as well as for their individual roles. Have a dry run to practice and record any issues that arise. You should also have a clear record of any fire safety equipment in the building, detailing when it’s maintained and if it has an expiration date.

5. Review

Finally, your fire safety system should constantly be under review. This means scheduling fire drills for the future, checking the building, and repeating steps #1-4 on a regular basis.

Recall on Exploding Metal Halide Lamps  

The most common recall on electrical items in the states is due to the risk of receiving electric shocks, so it pays to be vigilant when checking if your products are malfunctioning or need to be recalled. This is especially true if you’re installing electronic items in large numbers. In terms of recalls on electronics, they’re overall not very successful, meaning a number of products out there could potentially be unsafe. This is why it’s important to check the Consumer Product Safety Commission website on a regular basis.

Philips Energy Advantage Ceramic Metal Halide Lamps

In May of this year, Philips Energy Advantage Ceramic Metal Halide Lamps were recalled.  The reason for this recall is that the outer bulbs were found to be at risk of shattering creating a fire and laceration hazard, due to the heated internal pieces of glass falling. This is an expanded recall, and applies to any model CDM330 manufactured or sold from May 2011 to 2014.

These lamps were created as an energy efficient alternative to the 400W quartz metal halide lamps, which are mounted in magnetic ballasts. The lamps tend to be used in industrial and commercial settings, and are installed in high ceilings. They were available in both clear and coated varieties. The date code can be found at the base of the lamp, with a number and letter denoting the year and month. There were 256,000 sold, which does not include the previous recall in May 2016 of 87,000. There have been twelve incidents of this product shattering, one of which created a fire. There have been no reported injuries.

If you have installed the recalled lamp, you should stop using it and contact Philips immediately. You will be provided a free replacement. You can report your recalled lamps by emailing ceramicmh@philips.com, visiting their website (click on the professionals option and then on recalls) or calling 866-253-5503. The recall number is 17-100.

How Data Centers Can Be Models for Energy Efficiency

Data centers are at the forefront of many fields, but can they also be a model on how other businesses can become more energy efficient? Recent evidence suggests so.

Data centers require a great deal of power; after all their industry is built around the storage and exchange of electronic information. One would naturally assume that growth in this market would directly impact and correlate with a rise in the energy market, however that isn’t the case – in fact, consumption of energy has slowed.

Sustainable, environmentally friendly business models are popular among Fortune 500 companies, many of which are tech companies. In fact, 60 percent of Fortune 500 tech companies expressed their concern about climate change, with Hewlett Packard leading the way in 2008. Since then, other companies such as Microsoft, Apple, Intel, and Google have all followed suit. Their concerns were directed to the US Securities and Exchange Commission, and outlined how climate change may lead to natural disasters which could damage data centers.  The tech companies then led by example, becoming more sustainable in their facilities and practices.

One of the ways they did this is by streamlining servers, making them more efficient. Their servers hold huge capacity, and don’t need to run fully at all times (in fact, it is rare they ever do). Data consolidation was put into practice so servers turn off when they’re not needed, saving a great amount of energy overall.

Many technology companies also readily invest in renewable energy and are committed to running fully on clean energy in the future. One of the reasons for this is their targeted workforce are perceived as being greatly concerned with the environment, and are therefore more likely to want to work for an organization which reflects the same values.

In late 2016, 365 companies signed a letter that urged the current administration to rethink its attitude on climate change and stick to the Paris agreement, detailing their commitment to greener practices irrespective of the government. To date, over one thousand companies and investors have signed the statement in support of low-carbon business. This stand shows the measures and importance businesses are now placing on environmentally-sound systems; something hopefully all companies will adopt for themselves.

Recall on Fire Hazard Utility Vehicles

A recall happens when a product has been deemed unsafe, does not comply with federal safety standards, or has a safety-related defect. The manufacturing company then puts out a recall to ensure no harm comes to the consumer, and so the product can be repaired or replaced. They do this by contacting buyers, providing them with a description of the defects and risks, information about how they will fix it, and detail the duration of time this will take. You do not have to pay for the repair.

Kawasaki 2017 Mule Utility Vehicle

A recall has recently been put out by Kawasaki in reference to their Mule Utility Vehicles.  A total of 6,600 units have been affected. The Teryx and Teryx 4 and Brute Force 750 are also included in the recall. For Mule units, the vehicle identification number (VIN) is under the seat. The recalled range is JKBAFSL19HB500313 to JK1AFCR14HB531308.

The reason for this recall is that the fuel gauge retainer can collapse, causing the vehicle to leak fuel and create a fire hazard. No incidents or injuries have been reported as yet. These vehicles were sold between February and May 2017, at Kawasaki dealers.

What if I Have One?

If you are in possession of an affected vehicle, stop using the vehicle immediately. You can contact Kawasaki by visiting the recall page on their website or phone them at 866-802-9381. The company will then repair your vehicle free of charge.

If you want further information about product recalls, visit the Consumer Product Safety Commission website.

Alternative Energy Sources for Businesses

Alternative energy sources, like solar, wind, and biomass, are sustainable ways of producing the power businesses need. Alternative energy sources do not consume the planets natural resources (as traditional energy sources do) and do not cause harm to the environment. More and more businesses are opting for a greener route for their facilities. This is due to heightened availability of alternative energy sources, as well as the economic benefits they offer.

Although it’s not always possible to go completely green, there are many ways to integrate alternative energy sources into your business.

Solar and Wind

Solar and wind power options have grown a great deal over the past few years, making clean energy affordable for more and more businesses across the nation. In 2015, wind made up 35% of new energy, solar 29.5% – both of them surpassing new natural gas which gained only 25% of the market. The continued research and declining costs of these two power players make investing in this type of energy a sound economic and environmental decision.

Biomass

Biomass energy is a good choice for Floridians as Florida has more biomass resources than any other state. Biomass energy works by developing fuels from organic matter, such as scrap lumber, crops, manure and other waste. This is then used to create renewable energy. Biomass is a great alternative to traditional energy because it also gets rid of waste which would otherwise go into landfills, further polluting the planet.

If you’re interested in making your business greener, contact your power provider to see if they offer integration of alternative energy sources as an option.

 

What is Greenwashing?

Greenwashing is when a company makes misleading claims about how environmentally friendly their services, products or technology are. This is done with the aim of making the company seem to be more green. Companies greenwash to improve their reputation and make themselves stand out from their competitors.

With an increased demand for environmentally-sound services, greenwashing has become more prevalent recently. The unfortunate effect is that more companies are claiming to be greener than what they are, and consumers are becoming more skeptical of genuinely environmentally friendly products. This also means there is less pressure put on companies to find genuinely green alternatives.  

How Do I know if a Company is Greenwashing?

With few regulations currently in place, it can be difficult to know whether greenwashing is happening. One red flag is if a company spends a great deal on advertising how environmentally friendly they are, but does not also invest in implementing environmentally-friendly systems. A good example would be packaging; often it’s designed with natural images to infer the company is green-minded, but there may be no proof to back this up. Another instance to be aware of is the language used in marketing; for example, a company may claim to be researching ‘clean power’, when in actuality it is only a small part of their overall business.

Recently, the Federal Trade Commission has created new regulations to create more transparency from organizations, however consumers should still try to buy responsibly. If you want to make sure you’re fully informed, look at the company as a whole and do a little research to see if they actively promote sustainability. Google the company with the word ‘environment’ for further information, and try to look past marketing gimmicks.

Greenwashing hurts consumers, businesses, and the environment. Taking time to research companies and products can help you be an environmentally responsible consumer.

Why the Indoor Environment is SO Important for Employee Health

The indoor environment of a building is integral to occupant’s health and happiness. Many Americans spend a most of their day indoors, and without proper air quality, numerous health issues can arise. Bad air quality can also decrease productivity. Common health complaints include headaches, fatigue, eye irritation, an increase in allergies and a negative effect on respiratory conditions (such as asthma). Companies have a legal and moral obligation to ensure the people under their care work in a happy, healthy indoor environment.

Air Quality Matters – A Lot

Poor air quality not only relates to poor health, but also eats into productivity, overall happiness, and wellbeing. Adequate ventilation is a big factor, so it’s important to regularly maintain and update your circulation systems. This is even more integral if the air outside the building is heavily polluted. Clues that air quality may not be up to scratch are: dirt around cooling systems, constant headaches and feelings of fatigue, odors, mold, and a general feeling of ‘stuffiness’.

The Right Lighting

Lighting is another important aspect of the indoor environment. This refers to artificial and natural light – both of which can have a direct impact on productivity and health. Flickering lights can cause headaches and eye strain, so ensure to fix and maintain lights when needed. When it comes to choosing lighting for a building, it should be bright enough for documents to be read, but not too bright as to cause glare. Exposure to natural light has a resoundingly positive influence; people who work in artificial light are more likely to feel tired – especially at the end of the day.

Purchase Some Plants

Having plants indoors can help to make the environment a better place by increasing people’s happiness and productivity in one swoop. Plants have been found in some studies to increase attention, as well as productivity, and quality of life. This makes them a great investment for any building.

Taking the above into consideration and choosing to make positive changes to a building’s indoor environment can make help make your occupants happier, healthier, and more productive.  

How You Can Help Reduce Global Warming

Global warming is a very important issue to the future of the planet. There are steps you can take to help lessen your environmental impact and help create a better, greener future.

What is Global Warming?

Global warming is the rise of the earth’s temperature, caused by an increase of greenhouse gases. These greenhouse gases were always found in the planet’s atmosphere, however pollution and human activity have resulted in them rising, which has made it more difficult for heat to leave our atmosphere. This means the earth continues to gradually heat up.

How Can We Stop It?

If we all take steps to reduce our carbon emissions and be more environmentally-minded, we can make a huge difference to the planet:

1. Recycle and Reduce Waste

Human produce a lot of waste, and much of what ends up in a landfill could have been recycled. Ensure your building has a strong recycling system in place which addresses all waste including paper, plastics and food. Encourage your workplace to consider various waste reduction options, like composting food waste.

2. Renewable Energy

Choosing to use renewable energy cuts down on costs and helps the planet. See if there’s a renewable option from your energy provider, or if you can install a source for yourself.  These items may be expensive initially, but long-term they more than pay for themselves.

3. Building Efficiently

If a building is constructed with the environment in mind, it can save you a great deal on bills and will run more efficiently as a whole. Having proper insulation helps out in all seasons, making sure you’re heating and cooling systems don’t overwork by leaking outside.

4. Using Energy Efficient Electronics

Lots of electric appliances now have energy-efficient options which are kinder to the environment and cost less when it comes to utilities. Look for Energy Star rated items, which are certified to do just this.  

5. Fuel Economy

Fuel is a huge part of climate change, so try and implement fuel economy into your life and business. Choosing vehicles which are more environmentally friendly is a big step and can save you a lot in gas costs. Look into options to encourage your workforce to be economical, such as car sharing, and choose fuel-efficient vehicles to transport equipment.   

6. Conserve Water

Ensure restrooms are well maintained and any problems are addressed quickly so as not to waste water. Choose fixtures that are environmentally friendly, like low-flow toilets.

7. Plant Trees

Trees are aesthetically pleasing and they help clean the air by absorbing pollutants. Put some into trees your landscaping plans for beautiful grounds that support a healthy planet.  

 

Why Proper Ground Care is Important

Ground care is an integral part of a facility maintenance. Here are some of the benefits of proper ground care:

Appearance

The grounds of a facility are the very first thing anyone sees and can make a huge impact on people’s opinion, whether they are staff, residents or future clients. Buildings with overgrown weeds, unkempt flower beds and hedges, and a dirty exterior, can create negative judgments. Your exterior grounds are part of the way you communicate your brand to the world, so treat them with pride and care.

Safety

Safety is another important aspect that proper ground care addresses. Tall, overgrown trees, may provide easier access into a building. Bushes or trees that jut into a sidewalk can cause trouble for people walking by. Keeping vegetation trimmed and tidy helps create a space that is more aesthetically pleasing and safe

Attitude

If occupants are surrounded by a neat, clean environment, this often impacts positively on their attitude to the facility overall. Studies have shown looking at something natural and green can help boost employee productivity and attention span.

Ground Care Tips

  1. Plan Ahead – As the seasons change, so do ground care tasks. For example, drier seasons are a great time to paint exteriors, but planting new trees or shrubs is best done before the rainy season. Create a full plan for the year ahead that will address the needs of each season.
  2. Check Equipment Regularly – Have your ground care staff check and maintain equipment on a regular basis to ensure all is in working order for the months ahead.
  3. Create a Clear System – Ensure any work done is recorded and reviewed to ensure every area is given attention.
  4. Look into Your Plant Choice – You should try and choose plants that are native to the area, as this means they often need less attention and are easier to grow. This also assists in reducing costs.  

Reduce Waste, Reduce Expenses

If you want to lower expenses at your facility, one of the first areas to tackle is waste. Reducing waste helps lessen your environmental impact and costs overall. Luckily, this doesn’t have to be a difficult process. By implementing some simple changes you can see positive results in no time at all. Some changes may be a little more expensive; however they often produce long-term savings.

Why Reduce Waste?

Every business creates waste, but there are things that can be done to reduce the amount produced. Dumping all your waste in landfills is expensive and can reflect poorly on your brand.

Be proactive and consider how the following changes can help reduce your business’s waste and expenses:

Reduce

By reducing the amount of waste created by your business, there’s immediately less to dispose of.

  1. If your business prints a great deal, cut down where possible. Set printers to black and white, use both sides and instill an attitude of print only when needed. Encourage staff to view documents online.
  2. If you receive a great deal of unwanted mail that needs to be disposed of every day, it can add up. Contact the companies and ask to be taken off their mail list.
  3. When it comes to drinkware, try not to purchase disposable cups and glasses. Buy reusable ones that can be washed and used again.

Recycle Smarter

Inevitably, your company will still produce some waste. If possible, recycle it! Recycling is a great way to reduce your waste and expenses. Intelligent recycling can reduce the confusion and difficulty associated with recycling. Here’s how to recycle smarter:

  1. Use clearly labeled, separate waste containers (e.g., containers just for plastic, food, or paper) to reduce sorting time.
  2. Use the same color code for containers across the entire facility.
  3. Place containers in key areas where they are most likely to be used.
  4. Provide clear information about what goes in each container (images usually work best).
  5. Educate occupants so they know why and how each container should be used.
  6. If possible, install a composter on-site for food waste.

If you successfully implement the above, the amount of waste you create can decrease substantially, cutting costs, and helping the environment at the same time.