Bundling Fire & Security Services with One Vendor is Smart Business

Bundling Fire & Security Services with One Vendor is Smart Business

Strategic and Gradual Return to Work Plan

Minnesota has begun its careful and gradual return to work in light of COVID-19. First, it was landscapers, groundskeepers and golf courses, and last week 20,000 businesses with approximately 100,000 employees reported back to work. More businesses will open in the coming weeks.

Expanded Safe-At-Work Standards to Consider

With new safe-at-work standards, some are already in place and others will be determined in due course. No matter what your business and industry, we need to adjust how we do our work, how our employees do their jobs, how we adapt our workspaces, and how we interact with clients or customers. The goal of the safe-at-work standards is minimal contact and effective sanitation solutions to reduce viral exposure.

Government and business leaders, and health experts stipulate that to reopen your business—large or small—you must develop, complete and publicize safe-at-work requirements and guidelines, such as:

  • Employee training and orientation on hygiene and workspace cleanliness
  • Personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • Disinfection measures
  • Physical distancing protocol
  • On-site health screening
  • Self-quarantining and return-to-work policies
  • Visitors and contractors screening

Brothers Fire & Security has made these and other adjustments to our safe-at-work requirements and guidelines. I can assure you that all our employees, whether in the office, the shop or on the field, maintain consistent CDC protocol, best practices, and PPE standards to ensure the safety of our contractors and customers.

Integrated Bundling Streamlines Results, Safety – And Savings!

One of our strengths is being able to plug into the mindsets of diverse industries to solve their specific fire and security needs. One way we do this is through our integrated bundling approach. Many businesses have multiple vendors who install, service, inspect and monitor their systems. But by bundling, instead of having three or more vendors, Brothers Fire & Security streamlines services so you have just one coming to your locations. This is especially critical for healthcare providers, multi-family housing, schools and office buildings. The fewer people in the building, the better. For example, inspections must be done, but access needs to be restricted. We schedule inspections for the same time to reduce contact and exposure.

In these complicated and ever-changing times, bundling naturally simplifies your fire and security needs, increases safety, reduces contact with people, and saves you time and money. You’ll even discover that billing is simpler and often takes less time.

To learn how bundling will complement your safe-at-work requirements and guidelines, call us (800-607-2767). Together—using social distancing and communication technology, of course—we will discuss your unique fire and security needs so we can plug into your business’s mindset.

On Call 24/7

Among the 82 percent of Minnesota businesses deemed “essential” during the COVID pandemic, Brothers Fire & Security is on the job for critical service providers, such as care centers, assisted living and senior living facilities. We protect apartment complexes—the safe havens for thousands of Minnesotans, and commercial real estate. Even though schools, daycares and some businesses are still closed, we are open to meet their needs. We work alongside counties, cities and schools in their bidding processes. And as always, all our services are 24/7.

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.

Important Fire & Security Focus Points During COVID-19

Important Fire & Security Focus Points During COVID-19

As our country continues to undergo efforts to battle COVID-19 and deal with its affects, be assured that Brothers Fire & Security remains committed to keep your business and people safe. We are an essential business here in Minnesota and remain open and on-the-job to serve you – 24/7.

We always put safety first. As the CDC makes updates, Brothers Fire & Security is responding and incorporating important safety protocol for our staff and customers, including:

  • Masks
  • Personal Protection Equipment (PPEs)
  • Social distancing
  • Hand washing
  • Sanitizing tools and materials

Let’s face it, what used to be routine, simply isn’t anymore. So much has changed so quickly. If there have been any changes to your business, then your fire and security needs will have likely changed as well. It’s important to keep your systems updated and functioning, so they might need to be beefed up. I compiled some questions and issues to consider as you evaluate your systems.

Staffing Changes

  • Are the person or people responsible for opening and/or closing still the same?
  • Have your staff’s hours changed?
  • Have staff taken on different roles or multiple roles based on your current and changing situation?
  • Does your current staff know how to access your fire and security systems and how to operate them?

Access Control

  • Are there different or new people who now have access (or don’t)? I recommend deleting those who don’t need access.
  • Are the access hours still relevant to the hours that your business is open (or not open)?
  • Is your staff working different hours or days that may change their access hours?
  • Staff who work remotely may not need access.

Security Cameras

  • Do the cameras cover the areas that need to be covered based on your current status, hours, people, etc.? You may need to reposition cameras or add a few if there is an altered traffic pattern or your business is temporarily closed.
  • Check your security cameras outside and make sure they are working.
  • Check your recording mechanisms to make sure they are recording.
  • Now is a good time to add software that allows you to remotely access your cameras.

Safety Plan

  • Is the plan you have still current?
  • Who is responsible for activating a safety plan in an emergency?
  • Are the people who are assigned key roles still the people who need to be assigned?
  • Is your current staff cross-trained on fire and safety processes to respond effectively during an emergency?

If you’re not sure your systems are set correctly for your current needs, no problem—Brothers Fire & Security is here to help. We will assess your needs based on your business’ challenges and changes. Our goal is that you will be prepared for any safety and security issue. We want you to be confident that your business and people are safe during this unprecedented and challenging time.

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.

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.