Time to Think Differently to Help Seniors Be Safe During COVID

Time to Think Differently to Help Seniors Be Safe During COVID

As the COVID-19 pandemic sadly will persists into 2021, healthcare measures for the elderly and those with weak immune systems have largely been less than effective than we hoped . Simple handwashing, masks, quarantines, social distancing and hand sanitizer at every checkpoint throughout the day and night aren’t working as well as they need to.

From the very beginning, the vulnerable elderly population has gotten sicker. The death toll and COVID-19 cases in nursing homes have been devastating.

  • 81 percent of Minnesota’s COVID-19 deaths are in nursing homes.
  • During October and November, new COVID-19 cases in long-term care facilities soared by more than 400 percent, the biggest two-month spike in cases since April, Minnesota Department of Health officials report.
  • The state office of the long-term care ombudsman reported that in December nine percent of Minnesota’s nursing homes and 58 percent of the state’s assisted-living facilities had active virus outbreaks. That included more than 70 senior care homes that didn’t have any residents with COVID-19 in November.

COVID-related challenges beyond health issues in senior living communities are far-reaching and heart-breaking.

  • Keeping seniors isolated from their families is creating more harmful issues, such as depression, loneliness and feelings of hopelessness.
  • Families have become disconnected through isolation.
  • Activities that keep seniors engaged and thriving have been severely reduced, even eliminated.
  • Reduction in available staff to care for seniors is becoming critical. Some have reported as few as one caregiver for every 40 residents on certain shifts.

Thankfully we CAN change this! To stop the spread of COVID-19 and protect our loved ones, it’s time to think—and act differently. We can do this better, safer and more cost effective.

Applying New Technology Solutions

Brothers Fire & Security is partnering with Germ Fighters USA, an environmental technology company that leads ground-breaking efforts to combat COVID-19. Their process & products supplied by BioProtect, uses EV360, a patented EPA-approved antimicrobial surface protectant. It’s been proven to be the ultimate solution to keep your facilities up to 99.99% pathogen free.

Using a documented and proven 3-step process to address pathogens on surfaces, EV360 tests, disinfects and protects with certifiable results. It effectively and continuously disintegrates 99.99 percent of pathogens for up to 90 days. Other disinfectants only last until someone touches a surface.

EV360 is a safe, water-based coating that can be applied to all types of surfaces. It is applied with an electrostatic sprayer and forms a durable and consistent bond with all surfaces. The coating becomes part of the surface, creating a field of nanospikes that mechanically kills COVID, bacteria, mold, viruses, or other microbes that come in contact with surfaces.

Answer to Effective Handwashing

What if you could sanitize your hands once a day, instead of many times each hour? Germ Fighters has the solution: 24-hour Defense™ Foaming Hand Purifier. Approved by the EPA, the hand purifier puts up a germ barrier that punctures bacteria cell walls and destroys it. In just one application it effectively and safely kills 99.99 percent of germs. 24-hour Defense™ Foaming Hand Purifier takes it a step further and keeps on killing new germs for up to 24 hours. It remains effective through repeated hand washings. Other benefits include:

  • It’s safe for children and adults
  • No gel residues, no alcohol, no fragrance
  • Maintains skin’s natural pH
  • Does not dry out skin
  • Leaves hands soft and smooth

Alcohol-based sanitizer residues, on the other hand, actually attract more germs. They are toxic, can be absorbed in the skin or “licked off” and ingested. Because alcohol-based sanitizers only last a couple of minutes, they must be used over and over to combat germs. As a result, the alcohol changes the skin’s natural pH and dries out the skin.

You can see that EPA-approved products like 24-hour Defense™ Foaming Hand Purifier are better for the skin, better for health and better for the environment.

Your Role in Combating COVID

If you or anyone you know is currently living or working in senior care, call Germ Fighters IMMEDIATELY at 612-502-3590 and request a FREE demonstration. This is your opportunity to see the technology of EV360 and 24-hour Defense™ Foaming Hand Purifier in action. I’ve seen a demo and it’s an amazing process! It brings much-needed germ-fighting results to defeat COVID and its devastating effects.

Germ Fighters will help you take control of and protect the surfaces your staff and residents touch thousands of times every day. Ultimately, you’ll help your senior living communities fight back in the war on germs—and win!

Click here to learn more about Germ Fighters.

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. We also provide our 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.

Case Study: Sprinkler Systems Save Lives & Protects Property

Case Study: Sprinkler Systems Save Lives & Protects Property

This blog begins a new series on fire and security case studies from the field. Over the years, we’ve run into a lot of real-life scenarios that illustrate how fire and security systems work effectively. My goal of the series is to tell you what you need to know and how to apply it to your business.

This first blog in the series is about the Automatic Extinguisher System (AES)—better known as sprinklers. Did you know that automatic fire extinguishers have been around since 1874? Today, fire sprinklers are used extensively worldwide, with over 40 million sprinkler heads installed. They are widely recognized as the single most effective method for fighting the spread of fires in their early stages before they can cause severe injury to people and damage to property.

The latest statistics from the National Fire Prevention Association and American Fire Sprinklers Association confirm that effectiveness:

  • Sprinklers operated in 92 percent of the fires that were large enough to activate them. Of those fires, sprinklers were effective at controlling 96 percent of the fires.
  • Flame damage was confined to the room of origin in 96 percent of fires compared to 71 percent of fires without AES.
  • The average loss per fire in sprinklered properties is 34-68 percent lower.
  • A study conducted during 80 years of automatic sprinkler use found that 90 percent of all fires are controlled with six or fewer heads. Eighty-two percent of fires were controlled by two or fewer sprinkler heads.
  • Water damage from a building sprinkler system will be much less severe than the damage caused by water from fire-fighting hose lines, or smoke and fire damage if the fire is allowed to spread. Quick response sprinklers release 8-24 gallons of water per minute compared to 80-125 gallons per minute discharged by high-pressure fire hoses.

A Success Story

Recently, a BFS-installed fire sprinkler system in a multi-family housing complex with over 300 units successfully did its job. A kitchen fire started around dinnertime in one of the units. The sprinkler head in the kitchen above the stove deployed and immediately put out the fire.

Putting out the fire wasn’t the end of the story. Reese Schritz, one of Brothers Fire & Security’s highly experienced and licensed service technicians, responded quickly. He immediately went to the scene to inspect the damage and replace the sprinkler head.

“Fires can happen at any time of the day or night,” he said. “Without sprinkler systems, all kinds of fires, including kitchen grease fires, can quickly get out of control. Fortunately, there was no smoke damage and very little water damage to the unit, and most importantly, no loss of life.”

Lesson Learned: Buildings with properly working sprinklers systems and heads save lives and save property damage.

How Sprinklers Work

Simply speaking, a sprinkler system consists of a water supply system that provides adequate pressure and flowrate in a piping system where sprinkler heads are connected. Each individual sprinkler is designed and calibrated to activate only during the heat from a fire (155-165° F). Most fires trigger the sprinkler heads above where the fire is and slow down the fire enough to minimize damage and prevent serious injuries until the firefighters get there. Typically, only the sprinkler closest to the fire will activate, spraying water directly on the fire, leaving the rest of the structure dry and secure. They do not operate in response to an activating smoke alarm, smoke, burned toast, cooking vapors, or steam.

Fire sprinkler systems are designed based upon the occupancy of the building and what is being stored in the building. The greater the potential for fire and the greater the intensity of such fire and the fuel supplying it, the more robust the system designed and installed would be. Newer buildings are usually built with sprinkler systems. Some older buildings are without sprinklers heads and fire can destroy them quickly, also impacting people’s lives.

Life Safety Impacts Everyone

Brothers Fire & Security is committed to serve our community and empower people through access to ongoing life safety education. You can learn more about fire and security on our blogs at www.brothersfireandsecurity.com/blogs.

We also offer a new online academy, Life Safety Made Simple. These eLearning courses provide convenient staff training and certifying based on your needs and when you need it. Check out the academy at www.lifesafetymadesimple.com.

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. We also provide our 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.

Introducing EV360, a New Way to Test, Disinfect and Protect During COVID

Introducing EV360, a New Way to Test, Disinfect and Protect During COVID

These unprecedented times call for innovative and new measures to protect people and keep our environments secure and safe. As the President of Brothers Fire & Security, it is my priority to continually look for ways to help our clients. Using industry Best Practices, I personally invest time in research to extend services to create safer environments for our clients, their staff, customers, residents, and visitors.

One area that has been front and center surrounding COVID-19 is maintaining virus and germ-free facilities. I think we can all agree that it’s been difficult, costly, time-consuming, and frustrating! Countless hours continue to be spent cleaning with less time to spend with your customers.

But I have great news. Based on our research, Brothers Fire & Security has determined that the process of applying EV360, a patented EPA-approved antimicrobial surface protectant, is the ultimate solution to keep your facilities virus and germ-free for up to 90 days! EV360 effectively and continuously disintegrates pathogens through patented chemical- free technology, unlike other disinfectants that only last until someone touches a surface.

Untreated vs Treated Surfaces

As you can see in the blue diagram, when applied to a surface or incorporated into a material, EV360 powered by BioProtect, forms a covalent bond with the substrate and creates a micro-biostatic antimicrobial coating. The coating forms a layer of spikes (self-assembling monolayer), each of which carry a positive charge that attracts the negatively charged bacteria. Once attracted, the molecular spikes pierce the cell and rupture its cell membrane, causing viruses, germs, and bacteria to die.

See the Process in Action

No hazmat garments required! The Germ Fighter’s technicians apply the EPA-certified surface protectant after testing and disinfecting the surfaces. Then, when certified for ongoing monitoring. technicians periodically test the protected surfaces to measure efficacy and ensure that the protectant is still eradicating pathogens. When you see the reports and the results, you will be confident that your facility surfaces are virus and germ-free and safe for all people and pets.

Announcing New Partnership with Germ Fighters USA

Effective November 1, 2020, we are pleased to announce our new partnership with Germ Fighters USA, a Twin Cities based company. I have personally witnessed the EV360 application process in action and am astounded at what EV360 can do. We know that our clients are struggling with the battle against COVID and looking for ways to successfully address critical health and safety issues for their businesses and the people they serve. By partnering with Germ Fighters, USA, Brothers Fire & Security will help businesses and communities do battle to clean, sanitize, and protect people and communities. We all want to win the war on germs!

Powered by BioProtect technology, EV360 has been proven to eradicate COVID, SARS-CoV-2, fungi, molds (including black mold), allergens, mildew, pollen, dust mites, bacteria and viruses like E. coli, MRSA, H1N1, C. diff, norovirus and others. EV360 is non-toxic, chemical-free and child/pet friendly. It eliminates the already environmentally stringent cleaning practices that use dangerous chemical disinfectants on all surfaces and touchpoints. EV360 keeps environments safe for 90 days, and at the same time saves you tremendous cost on manpower and supplies.

Schedule a FREE Demo for Your Business

We’d like to encourage you to schedule a free demonstration at your place of business. You’ll be able to see how the powerful technology works. You’ll experience, first-hand, how the EV360 products work, and how the process can reduce your cleanings, increase levels of safety, as well as create more time to spend with your customers! Please mention Brothers Fire & Security when you contact Germ Fighters USA at www.germfightersusa.com or call 612-865-4654.

A representative from Germ Fighters USA may be contacting you shortly to set up a time for a free demonstration of the process. We were blown away by the results, and I’m assured that you will be as well!

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. We also provide our 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.

 

Get Ahead of Winter

Get Ahead of Winter

Winter is coming and now that it’s November, we’re facing winter head on. It’s anyone’s guess if this winter will be mild, mind-numbing cold or we’ll get dumped on with ice and snow. One thing that’s certain is the need to inspect and winterize your sprinkler systems. Whether it’s a wet or dry system or uses antifreeze, getting sprinklers prepared and fully operational for cold weather is imperative to prevent sprinkler pipes from freezing.

How Cold Weather Affects Wet Systems

As you know, a wet fire sprinkler system is filled with pressurized water. When a fire occurs and the heat activates the sprinklers, water immediately sprays from the activated sprinkler heads. Since the pressurized water is always filling the pipes, the water is there instantaneously when it’s needed. However, temperatures 40°F or below can lead to the pipes freezing.

To prevent frozen pipes and the messy and costly aftermath, check the system before cold weather sets in, and frequently during extreme cold snaps. Frost is a sure sign the water may have frozen and compromised the system. If you see frost (or breaks), call Brothers Fire & Security ASAP at 800-607-2767 and we’ll tell you how to shut down the system. We’ll fix the issue before there’s pipe and water damage.

Dry Systems Can Be Affected by Cold Weather

Dry fire sprinklers keep pressurized air and/or nitrogen in the non-heated portions of the sprinkler pipes and holds a valve closed that separates the main piping from the water supply. When temperatures drop below freezing, the pipes are in danger of freezing.

To prevent freezing, keep draining your drum drips weekly, even daily, until you see that there’s no water left in the system. If the dry system is not set up effectively, then there is usually more moisture backed up in the system.

Check air pressure frequently, especially if there’s a cold snap. If the air pressure rises to the water pressure and if they are equal, there is danger of the pipes bursting as the dry system has tripped.

Temperature Checks

Making sure temperatures inside buildings are optimal will prevent pipes from freezing, protect your sprinkler system, and ultimately, your property.

  • As a rule, building temperature should be maintained at 55°F or higher.
  • Water temperature should remain at 42°F or above.
  • All areas of buildings with wet sprinkler systems should maintain a temperature of 40°F or above.
  • Dry-valve clappers should be properly set with temperatures maintained at 40°F or above.
  • The fire pump room should not drop below 60°F.

Acting in an Emergency

Knowing how to operate (shut down) your fire suppression system in case of an emergency can prevent a lot of damage. Shutdowns are needed when:

  • A wet system pipe or head breaks due to freezing. Drain the system quickly.
  • A dry system trips and fills with water. Opening the valves and draining the system will prevent the pipes from freezing and potentially breaking or splitting.

As the old Benjamin Franklin saying goes, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Inspect your dry valve to ensure it is operating properly and will open in case of a fire. Drain your low point drains of all excess water.

By the way, most people think Franklin was referring to health, but he was actually talking about fire prevention!

Let’s Talk About Antifreeze Loops

An antifreeze loop in wet sprinklers is an older system where antifreeze will fluctuate based on temperature and pressure within the sprinkler system. Loops are actually antiquated and were intended to be used instead of dry sprinkler systems which typically are more expensive to install and maintain. Antifreeze loops usually start with just a couple of sprinkler heads, are expanded as more heads are added and as a result become less effective.

Frankly, antifreeze (glycol) is not environmentally-friendly and since it’s a flammable petroleum product, it can accelerate fire and not retard it. But don’t worry about that worst-case scenario, Brothers Fire & Security will test the systems to ensure the proper level of antifreeze. We’ll also help you find a better fire suppression solution to fit your budget and needs.

Finally, two more things to add to your winterizing checklist:

  • Make sure the fire pumps are operating correctly.
  • Check the air compressor. If it’s running more than once a day, there may be issues that need to be dealt with.

Brothers Fire & Security can inspect your entire system to be sure valves will operate in case of fire, drains are clear, and antifreeze systems are at the right level. Give us a call before temperatures drop and snow flies.

We’re here year-round to help you develop systems that protect your business. Keep in mind that every building has unique fire and security needs and it’s never one-size-fits-all. Call us for an evaluation and we’ll work with you to meet your life safety goals.

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. We also provide our 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.

Reduce Risks of Fire During Quarantine-O-Ween

Reduce Risks of Fire During Quarantine-O-Ween

October is fire prevention month. While COVID has interrupted a lot of annual traditions, many families are determined to celebrate what is known this year as Quarantine-O-Ween. A Harris Poll finds that 80 percent of families have put trick-or-treat at the top of their to-do list. They see it as one way to bring some normalcy during this unusual and challenging time.

But parents are also asking, “Is trick-or-treating in 2020 safe?” Compared to the activities of Halloweens past, like house parties, haunted houses or school dances, trick-or-treating outside in a quiet neighborhood has less COVID risk. The Centers for Disease Control has these suggestions to further reduce the risk:

  • Limit trick-or-treating to just your household, or three or four kids at most. Choose those who have been practicing social distancing.
  • Of course, wear a mask. Since Halloween already involves plenty of masks, it should be easy to incorporate a face covering into your child’s costume. If the mask doesn’t sufficiently cover the face, add a cloth one beneath it. All parents should also wear a face mask.
  • Don’t dig around the candy bowl, touching multiple pieces. Choose one and stick with it.
  • Children should hold onto their own candy bags.
  • Don’t share props or toys. Keep the swords, wands and tiaras from being passed around.
  • Give kids hand sanitizer between multiple homes. This is also an opportunity to give kids a break from wearing a mask. Find a safe spot away from others where they can remove their mask with clean hands.
  • Encourage your kids to hold off on eating candy until you get home, and make sure they wash their hands first.

For those handing out candy:

  • Limit your interaction with others and keep your distance as much as possible.
  • Since you need to wear a face mask, get in the “spirit” with your own Halloween-themed mask.
  • Wash your hands frequently to ensure you’re not accidentally bringing germs back into your house.
  • Keep all strangers outside of your house. Make sure they are on your front porch or in your front yard.
  • Consider grab-and-go bags that each visitor can take to reduce the need for kids to reach into a communal bowl.
  • At the end of the night, disinfect any doorknobs, doorbells or other high-touch surfaces outside your home.

Prevention is the Key

COVID aside, there are other safety issues to consider at Halloween. Candles in jack-o’-lanterns, wearing costumes improperly, falls, traffic accidents, and even face makeup can lead to Halloween injuries like cuts, abrasions, wounds, and burns. The most common are hand injuries from pumpkin carving, and injuries due to falls caused by long costumes or costumes that impair vision. To prevent trick-or-treating injuries:

  • Costumes, wigs and accessories should be fire-resistant.
  • Use the buddy system, preferably a parent.
  • Visit homes of people you know or neighborhoods you are familiar with.
  • Trick-or-Treat in daylight.
  • If children are allowed out after dark, fasten reflective tape to their costumes and bags, or give them glow sticks, or better yet, a flashlight with new batteries.
  • Put electronic devices away; keep heads up and walk, don’t run, across the street.
  • Always walk on sidewalks or paths. If there are no sidewalks, walk facing traffic as far to the left as possible.
  • Cross the street at corners, using traffic signals and crosswalks.

Decorating your home and property for trick-or-treating has its own safety considerations to keep in mind.

  • Keep your home brightly lit indoors and outside. Check the lighting for your front entryway or porch and replace any damaged bulbs that may have burned out.
  • Remove or highlight potential tripping hazards, such as electrical cords. Clear debris and other obstacles from your lawn, sidewalks and steps.
  • Avoid open flames. You may want to opt for battery-operated candles in jack-o’-lanterns or other areas where costumed trick-or-treaters might stand.
  • Be sure that the extension cords you use outside are rated for outdoor use. Check for any frayed wires and replace as needed. Don’t overload extension cords. The cord should be the correct amps for what you’re plugging into it.

Be Prepared

Are you prepared if there is a fire? Do you have a fire extinguisher on hand just in case? If so, how old is it and has it been tested lately? Do you and those in your family know how to use it?

Brothers Fire & Security offers an online course on our website, “How to Effectively Use Fire Extinguishers” that will prepare your family in the event there is a fire. Make it a family evening and take the course together. It’s affordable and easy for kids to follow. All you need are a laptop and internet access. (Don’t forget the popcorn!) The course talks about:

  • The correct way to use different kinds of fire extinguishers.
  • The Fire Triangle, how it works and what to do
  • Life-saving steps to take when there’s a fire
  • Learn about P.A.S.S. and what it means
  • Learn different types of fires and what extinguishers to use when

Finally, October is Fire Prevention Month. There are four important actions I encourage everyone to do this month.

  • Install fire smoke alarms and CO2 detectors on every level of your home, inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas.
  • Test them every month. It they’re not working, change the batteries.
  • Talk with all family members about a fire escape plan and practice the plan twice a year.
  • If a fire occurs or your CO2 detector goes off, GET OUT, STAY OUT and CALL FOR HELP. NEVER go back inside for anything or anyone.

I realize Halloween will be different this year but taking time to go through the suggestions above will guide you and your family through a safe, fun and memory-making Halloween.

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. Our new Online Academy: Life Safety Made Simple with eLearning courses is designed to help you get and keep your staff trained and your business fire and security code compliant.