Fire & Security Protection Services are Essential to Your Business:  We Remain Open to Serve You

Fire & Security Protection Services are Essential to Your Business: We Remain Open to Serve You

Challenges in Unprecedented Times

Unprecedented. As we deal with COVID-19—mostly in a negative context, that’s what we’re all facing. Yet in the last few weeks the many ways I’ve seen our neighbors, businesses and the entire country come together has also been unprecedented, but in many positive ways. I’m encouraged that despite the difficult times we are going through and the social distancing that has changed our lives, the American spirit of ingenuity, kindness, support and respect is stronger than ever. I am so proud of our country!

Essential Services Critical to Your Business

Considering the evolving COVID-19 landscape, I have reviewed Executive Order 20-20 from Minnesota Governor Tim Walz, and federal guidelines. I have also consulted with my suppliers, the State of Minnesota’s Fire Marshal’s Office and labor partners, and we have determined that we are an “Essential Business.” As a result, Brothers Fire & Security will remain open for business to serve our customers and our community 24/7.

Your personal safety, as well as your life safety systems are of critical importance to me and everyone on the Brothers Fire & Security team. We have implemented a COVID-19 work policy to ensure the safety of our employees, customers and vendors. Our teams will work at safe social distances, wear protective equipment, avoid personal contact, and not enter living spaces. They are washing their hands, their tools and their workspaces with great frequency. If your company has additional specific guidelines for safe working, please give those to us so we can understand and comply.

Working Remotely: Still Responding to Emergencies 24/7

Many of us are working remotely and are still able to respond as needed. As a further method of safety, you can make payments over the phone at 763-441-2290 or through our secure payment portal online at www.brothersfireandsecurity.com.

We appreciate your patience as we adjust to working remotely and safely. If you have questions about your services or experience a fire or security emergency, don’t hesitate to call 24/7: 800-607-2767. We’ve got you covered!

On behalf of our entire Brothers Fire & Security family, we wish you and yours good health and safety during this complicated time. Together, we will get through this stronger than ever!

About Brothers Fire & Security

As one of the premier providers of fire and security solutions in the Upper Midwest, Brothers Fire & Security strives to build long-term, value-added relationships. We work with business owners and property management companies, as well as all types of public institutions to solve fire and security needs. By taking advantage of our integrated bundled services, many of our clients find that they can save 25-30% on their safety services, annual inspections and more. From a single location to franchises throughout the region and the country, our integrated approach saves our clients valuable time, money and stress. We provide fire protection systems, security systems, fire sprinkler systems, fire alarm systems, 24-7 monitoring, fire extinguishers, card access and kitchen hoods. And coming soon, our new Online Academy: Life Safety — Made Simple with eLearning courses designed to help you get and keep your staff trained and compliant fire and security code and compliance.

In Spring Our Fancy Turns to Thoughts of … Cleaning

In Spring Our Fancy Turns to Thoughts of … Cleaning

My apologies to Alfred Lord Tennyson for that headline, but now that spring has arrived our thoughts turn to cleaning—or they should turn to cleaning. I’m not just talking about your house, but your business too, especially fire and security systems.

As you sweep the last of salt and sand off the sidewalks or clear away dead lawn debris, think through what happened over the last year that could have impacted the effectiveness of your fire and security systems. Was your property landscaped? Did you add a canopy over the front door? Was the exterior power-washed? When was the last time you cleaned around computer equipment?

I have some time-tested recommendations on what fire and security issues to consider as you tackle spring cleaning.

Inside Clean-Up

  • Carefully clean around low voltage, card access panels, computer wiring and mother boards.
  • Gently clean and inspect sprinkler heads to make sure they are working.
    Have fire extinguishers inspected/tested or replaced

Outside Maintenance

  • Check the FDC connections on your sprinkler systems. Birds sometimes build nests where caps are missing, which will make it difficult for fire departments to pump water if there’s a fire.
  • Walk outside the building to be sure all the devices are operating.
    o Be sure the PIV valve was not damaged by a snowplow.
    o Did power washing break security cameras?
    o Be careful cleaning around security equipment.
    o Do the outside lights and motion detectors operate as they should?
  • Look for debris on lawns that, if hit by lawnmowers, may damage security equipment, the building’s exterior, the lawnmower, and injure the operator.
  • Be sure spring growth on trees, bushes and other landscaping is not blocking security views.
  • Clean out areas where people may have stuffed garbage and debris or was blown there by wind.
  • Check to see if dry sprinkler heads protecting canopies, decks and garage doors were compromised by snow or ice.
  • Does outdoor equipment, such as ATVs, lawnmowers and golf carts, have fire extinguishers installed and do your people know how to use them? The same goes for trucks and vans. A small extinguisher can save $100k worth of equipment.

If you need further advice on spring cleaning, or if you’ve detected a problem with your security equipment, don’t hesitate to call Brothers Fire & Security. We’ll work with you to deal with any issues, so you’ll be confident that your business is protected for whatever the year holds.

About Brothers Fire & Security

As one of the premier providers of fire and security solutions in the Upper Midwest, Brothers Fire & Security strives to build long-term, value-added relationships. We work with business owners and property management companies, as well as all types of public institutions to solve fire and security needs. By taking advantage of our integrated bundled services, many of our clients find that they can save 25-30% on their safety services, annual inspections and more. From a single location to franchises throughout the region and the country, our integrated approach saves our clients valuable time, money and stress. We provide fire protection systems, security systems, fire sprinkler systems, fire alarm systems, 24-7 monitoring, fire extinguishers, card access and kitchen hoods. And coming soon, our new Online Academy: Life Safety — Made Simple with eLearning courses designed to help you get and keep your staff trained and your business fire and security code compliant.

How To Effectively Use Fire Extinguishers:  For Daycare Providers

How To Effectively Use Fire Extinguishers: For Daycare Providers

Millions of Children in Day Care Facilities

Every week in the United States, over 11 million children younger than age five are in some type of childcare arrangement. On average, these children spend 36 hours a week in childcare. It’s their second home, so it must be protected from all harm, which includes fires. No matter the number of children and sites, daycares must meet minimum safety requirements as mandated by the NFPA code and state laws . Among them, fire extinguishers are required for ALL daycares.

Here are some interesting facts from the U.S. Fire Administration:
• Fires in daycares and preschools are predominantly due to cooking (73 percent), followed by heating (six percent) and electrical malfunction (five percent).
• Seventy-five percent of fires are limited to the object of origin; 18 percent limited to the room of origin; just eight percent go beyond the room of origin.

Fire extinguishers are a basic fire safety tool, yet they go a long way to prevent greater loss if a fire does occur. Let’s put those stats into real-life scenarios: An extinguisher puts out a fire on a kitchen stove before it spreads beyond the stove and stops a fire from spreading beyond the kitchen.

Accessibility to a fire extinguisher is obviously key to limiting the scale of a fire. They should be mounted and located in conspicuous locations where they are immediately available for use. Safety codes require at least one portable fire extinguisher within 75 feet of occupied areas, plus in laundry rooms, boiler and furnace rooms, mechanical and electrical rooms, garages, kitchens, janitor closets, trash collection rooms, storage rooms and similar areas. It seems obvious, but you should never need to travel to another floor to get an extinguisher!

It All Starts with Online Training

Fire extinguisher requirements mean nothing if no one knows how to properly and effectively use one. Did you know that OSHA requires fire extinguisher training for all employees at least once a year? Yet, coordinating training annually for your entire workforce can be a difficult balancing act due to:
• New hires
• Staffing changes and promotions
• Changing employee roles
• Young people entering the work force for the first time
• Company expansion (new locations, new facilities)
• Multiple Locations.

Proper training needs to be more than a five-minute demonstration by a skilled (or heaven forbid an unskilled) trainer. Not everyone is mechanically minded so training needs to take a hospitable straightforward approach. Employers need to consider the number of people who need training, properly using group training time, and the expense of in-person training.

Life Safety — Made Simple:  Online Academy Coming Soon

If it sounds like coordinating in-person onsite affordable, effective and consistent training across all locations and roles is difficult, if not impossible, that’s because it is. The solution is online training. Brothers Fire & Security offers a new online academy, “Life Safety Made Simple,” which makes it makes it easy and convenient to ensure that every member of your staff knows how to use fire extinguishers. “How to Effectively Use Fire Extinguishers” saves money and stress and can take place whenever your workforce changes. You can incorporate the training into onboarding processes and promotions and when new facilities open. The online course meets OSHA compliance requirements for all staff without travel expenses, which lowers training costs and increases successful compliance.

If you’re wondering if an online course is as comprehensive and effective as onsite training, I can answer with a resounding YES. Your employees will learn:
• Different types of fires and what extinguishers to use
• The correct way to use different types of fire extinguishers
• The Fire Triangle, how it works and what to do
• Firefighting concepts of R.A.C.E (Rescue, Alarm, Confine, Extinguish) and P.A.S.S. (Pull the pin, Aim at base of fire, Squeeze handle, and Sweep side to side)
• Life-saving steps to take when there’s a fire

At the end of the course, each attendee who successfully passes the interactive testing will receive a Certificate of Completion.

To ensure the safety of your staff, children and property, I encourage daycares of all sizes and facilities to consider “How to Effectively Use Fire Extinguishers.” Knowing how to use this first line of defense in fire safety could save lives.

ABOUT BROTHERS FIRE & SECURITY

As one of the premier providers of fire and security solutions in the Upper Midwest, Brothers Fire & Security strives to build long-term, value-added relationships. We work with business owners and property management companies, as well as all types of public institutions to solve fire and security needs. By taking advantage of our integrated bundled services, many of our clients find that they can save 25-30% on their safety services, annual inspections and more. From a single location to franchises throughout the region and the country, our integrated approach saves our clients valuable time, money and stress. We provide fire protection systems, security systems, fire sprinkler systems, fire alarm systems, 24-7 monitoring, fire extinguishers, card access and kitchen hoods. And coming soon, our new Online Academy: Life Safety — Made Simple with eLearning courses designed to help you get and keep your staff trained and your business fire and security code compliant.

Announcing: Life Safety Made Simple Online Academy

Announcing: Life Safety Made Simple Online Academy

Changing with the Times

One thing I’ve learned in the 25 years since our business was launched is that I am always learning and at times need a good refresher course to keep my skills sharp. There have been countless changes, advances and innovations in fire and security technology since 1994—at lightning speed in recent years—and I’ve made myself stay on top of things. I’ve made sure Brothers Fire & Security stays on top of things too.

It’s absolutely without a doubt necessary for businesses to change with the times. As that wise old philosopher Socrates said, “The secret of change is to focus not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” (The old man sure was a shrewd businessman for 400 B.C.)

Building the new is just what Brothers Fire & Security is doing. How are we doing it? We’ve embraced eLearning.

With over 6,000 clients, we are always asked if we can offer training in a wide variety of areas. One of the challenges our clients face is how to keep their staff trained on fire and security issues and how to be ready to handle any emergency or react to ever evolving threats. We have always provided one-on-one training, but we realized that we can help more clients if we build an online training platform.

Build It and They Will Come

Part of our 2020 strategic vision is to launch the Life Safety Made Simple Online Academy. Our goal is to build a training platform for our clients that’s specifically focused on life safety issues. Through our online courses you will have the convenience of providing training and certifying staff based on your needs when you need it. You can integrate fire and safety training with onboarding new hires, promotions and staff changes. The Academy offers single purchase, volume discounts and annual certifications for employee records. Our research shows clearly that the more employees are engaged and familiar with emergency situations the more apt they are to take positive action.

Courses going online soon include:

  • How to Use a Fire Extinguisher (for different industries)
  • Know Your Equipment and Emergency Planning
  • How to Build an Effective Safety Plan
  • Training Your Effective Safety Plan
  • How to Manage Card Access

Course Curriculum Categories and Options

For an example of our training, let’s take a look at the eLearning course on fire extinguisher use. A basic tool in a fire emergency, extinguishers can prevent major catastrophes, but only if you know how to operate one correctly. The course will teach:

  • Fire myths and realities
  • The Fire Triangle and how fire works
  • How to become an informed fire extinguisher user
  • Parts of the fire extinguisher and what they are used for
  • The right and wrong way to use a fire extinguisher
  • Types of fires and which fire extinguishers to use effectively
  • Basic firefighting concepts of P.A.S.S. (pull, aim, squeeze, sweep) and Stop, Drop and Roll
  • Life-saving steps to take if there’s a fire

You’ll get a handsome certificate of completion at the end of each course. Don’t be modest about these accomplishments—show them off! Prominently display the certificates in your business for employees, potential employees, vendors and clients to see. The certificates will give everyone confidence that you are on top of fire and security issues. I’d call it the Wall of Excellence in Life Safety Education.

The Life Safety Made Simple Online Academy is another value-added way that Brothers Fire & Security can ensure the safety of your business and its people. As your partner, we want to make it easier for you to keep your staff trained. Let us take care of the training so you can take care of your business.

To learn more about the Academy, call 800-607-2767.

About Brothers Fire & Security

As one of the premier providers of fire and security solutions in the Upper Midwest, Brothers Fire & Security strives to build long-term, value-added relationships. We work with business owners and property management companies, as well as all types of public institutions to solve fire and security needs. By taking advantage of our integrated bundled services, many of our clients find that they can save 25-30% on their safety services, annual inspections and more. From a single location to franchises throughout the region and the country, our integrated approach saves our clients valuable time, money and stress. We provide fire protection systems, security systems, fire sprinkler systems, fire alarm systems, 24-7 monitoring, fire extinguishers, card access and kitchen hoods. And coming soon, our new Online Academy: Life Safety — Made Simple. Discover eLearning courses designed to help you get and keep your staff trained and your business fire and security code compliant.

 

Drake Hotel: A Cautionary Tale Becomes Harsh Reality

Drake Hotel: A Cautionary Tale Becomes Harsh Reality

February 1st, 2020, Minneapolis, Minnesota:

It’s a heart-breaking story that made national headlines and makes me relive a personal tragedy from my childhood.

A fire breaks out at 3 a.m. Christmas Day in Francis Drake Hotel, a 146-room three-story former luxury hotel in downtown Minneapolis being used for temporary housing for the homeless. Within minutes the fire grew, the building was evacuated, and fire crews began their marathon battle against the fire that lasted more than 30 hours.

Quick lifesaving and neighbor-helping-neighbor action prevented deaths, although three people were hospitalized. Over 250 people were displaced; 100 of them children. It hits home with me because way back when I was 13, I lost my best friend to a Christmas day fire caused by the tree catching on fire resulting in the loss of the home and their lives.

The cause of the fire remains undetermined. Fire investigators said the fire started in one unit, but they could not identify a specific cause because damage was too extensive. The roof and third floor of one wing collapsed. The weight of that debris and the water sprayed on the blaze by fire crews put tremendous pressure on the second floor. As a result, the entire building had to be demolished.

The age of the building, built in 1926, had no sprinkler system. The fire caused far more damage than it would have if sprinklers were in place. There were fire extinguishers, but were residents trained to use them?

The case will be studied for years as housing and construction codes, and fire safety and prevention are evaluated. The human factor places even more urgency on the case.

Lessons Learned

The rationale “It will never happen to me” is classic denial and not an effective fire and loss prevention or risk management strategy in multi-family housing. Instead, we must learn from fires to save lives, time, money, stress, and less disruptions to residents. Most of the lessons we learn from the Drake Hotel fire focus on sprinkler systems.

  • While older multi-family buildings might not require that sprinklers be installed, it’s smart for commercial property owners to consider installing them to prevent more damage and expense if a fire does occur.
  • Up-to-date sprinkler systems are the most cost-effective way to protect your business and your residents. It’s often more costly to replace parts and rebuild sections of buildings than to install sprinkler systems.
  • Damage from fires can be made even worse by the efforts of fire departments to put out fires. Sprinklers prevent most of this additional damage.
  • Training programs to teach residents how to use fire extinguishers are crucial since this basic tool is the first line of defense in a fire.

A last word on fire safety: According to the National Fire Protection Association, smoke is the #1 cause of loss of life in a fire—accounting for up to 80 percent of fire deaths. It’s a sobering statistic and should be a vital motivator when planning fire prevention strategy.

I encourage owners and property managers of older multi-family housing to contact Brothers Fire & Security about the feasibility of installing or updating sprinkler systems. We’ll evaluate your building and develop a plan to help ensure your property won’t end up as a cautionary tale that became harsh reality.

About Brothers Fire & Security

As one of the premier providers of fire and security solutions in the Upper Midwest, Brothers Fire & Security strives to build long-term, value-added relationships. We work with business owners and property management companies, as well as all types of public institutions to solve fire and security needs. By taking advantage of our integrated bundled services, many of our clients find that they can save 25-30% on their safety services, annual inspections and more. From a single location to franchises throughout the region and the country, our integrated approach saves our clients valuable time, money and stress. We provide fire protection systems, security systems, fire sprinkler systems, fire alarm systems, 24-7 monitoring, fire extinguishers, card access and kitchen hoods.