May 9th, 2017

Summer break is just weeks away, and teachers and students are both looking forward to an extended break.

Not so for building maintenance personnel. Summer is the time to catch up on cleaning and maintenance projects that had to be put off during the school year. Their hard work will pay off; studies indicate that well-maintained facilities have a positive impact on student achievement.

On the agenda for many schools:

Floor maintenance. Floors take a beating during the school year, and now is the time to clean and protect them in preparation for next year. Furniture can be moved out of the way and products can be applied with proper drying time.

Window maintenance. Windows do more than let the sunshine in. They also aid in scientific exploration, showcase art, and serve as the starting line for day dreams. All of those activities lead to everything from smudges to cracks and defects. Windows can be thoroughly cleaned and replaced during summer months.

Deep cleaning surfaces. Tabletops, counters and bathroom surfaces get wiped down during the year, but summer is the time to do the job more thoroughly.

But summer is also a good time to address larger system needs, too. School maintenance personnel should take the opportunity to inspect, clean and review:

HVAC systems. Filters and ducts should be inspected, updated and cleaned. Systems should be evaluated to ensure they are operating at peak efficiency.

Fire safety and emergency alert systems. Equipment and systems should be inspected and tested.

Security systems. Worn or outdated equipment should be replaced. Camera placement should be evaluated and adjusted, if necessary.

School staff should also take the opportunity to revisit emergency plans, too, particularly if the facility is has made significant changes, such as room reconfigurations, additions or other building projects. Summer is also a good time to investigate adding new systems and processes.

Well-maintained systems are key to building maintenance, and important for the development, health and safety of students and staff.

We’re always happy to discuss how our solutions can help. Connect with us at the Kentucky School Plant Management Association conference and workshops Oct. 18-19 at the Embassy Suites Hotel at 1801 Newtown Pike in Lexington or call us at (502) 632-4322 to discuss your needs.

May 4th, 2017

If you’ve got a need for to keep an eye on critical, sensitive areas in potentially hazardous contexts, Axis Communications may have the solution.

Axis announced earlier this week the release three new explosion-protected cameras for use in sensitive industrial areas: XF40-Q2901 Explosion-Protected Temperature Alarm Camera, XF60-Q2901 Explosion-Protected Temperature Alarm Camera, and XP40-Q1942 Explosion-Protected PT Thermal Network Camera.

“Industrial plant operators have a tremendously difficult task,” explained Martina Lundh, global product manager for thermal and explosion-protected cameras at Axis Communications, in a company press release. “They need to ensure efficiency and continuity in large-scale, critical industrial processes, while meeting all health, safety and environmental regulations, across multiple locations and, often, across huge areas. Our new cameras deliver critical real-time information, allowing for immediate incident response which can prove to be a life-saving benefit.”

The cameras allow plant operators to monitor remote, inaccessible, and sensitive areas, allowing for rapid incident response and protection of employees, machinery and critical industrial infrastructure, according to the release. The new cameras integrate with existing Supervisory control and data acquisition architectures. The cameras are based on industry standards and open protocols, and are protected in a heavy-duty enclosure.

Use cases for the fixed cameras include control and detection of temperatures of equipment and leaks in pipes, fire detection, and monitoring of equipment and perimeter protection. They can also be used to help visually inspect and verify functions and processes are running correctly, and provide remote assistance with planned maintenance.

Use cases for the pan/tilt include detection of people in restricted areas and safety of personnel in hazardous areas. XP40-Q1942 also supports electronic image stabilization, which improves video quality in situations where cameras are subject to vibrations, and Zipstream, which lowers bandwidth and storage requirements without compromising image quality.

The cameras are certified world-wide and will be available starting this month. Interested in learning more? Contact our sales team at (502) 632-4322.

May 1st, 2017

Survivors recently marked the ten year anniversary of the Virginia Tech shooting. On April 16, 2007, a VT senior terrorized the campus, killing 32 people and wounding 17 others before taking his own life. Several more students were injured jumping out of windows to safety.

But many, many more victims were left in the killer’s wake. Students and teachers who witnessed the shootings, first responders, hospital staff, administrators and countless others suffered secondary trauma and were left at risk of developing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Because they were not physically harmed, many secondary trauma survivors may be reluctant to seek help.

“My mind felt like a confused, scrambled mess. I constantly compared myself to the physically injured survivors,” wrote Lisa Hamp in Campus Safety Magazine. “They had to cope with physical injury while I walked out of the building unharmed. Because of this, I thought I was undeserving of being recognized as a ‘survivor,’ that I lucked out, and that I needed to be quiet and make myself small.”

Hamp suffered with feelings of anxiety, vulnerability, fear, loneliness for years after the shooting, despite giving the appearance of moving on with her life. Counseling helped her recognize and resolve the mismatch between her outward appearance and inward turmoil.

“Today, I understand that survivors include both physically injured and non-physically injured individuals. You don’t have to be shot to be injured,” wrote Hamp. “Recovery is both physical and mental. The psychological effect of surviving an active shooter situation is intangible and boundless, and the level of trauma that each individual experiences will vary.”

Hamp advocates for recovery plans to include a mental health component, and should include outreach to all survivors and first responders.

Additional resources:

This comprehensive whitepaper will help in developing plans to recognize and treat secondary trauma and PTSD in first responders.

Check out these tips for how parents can help children and adolescents cope with trauma after a school shooting.

The National Child Traumatic Stress Network has also prepared a Psychological First Aid Field Operations Guide.

The U.S. Department of Education has also produced a helpful list of lessons learned from school crises and emergencies that includes a detailed section on short and long term effects of trauma.

April 24th, 2017

A school custodian is emerging as one of the heroes of the latest headline-grabbing school shooting.

On April 10, Edna Gamarro was outside the library at North Park Elementary School in San Bernardino, Calif. when she heard the distinctive sound of gunshots.

At that moment, a little boy was exiting the library. Gamarro quickly redirected the child back into the library and to safety.

“I was just telling him to go inside and he was like ‘why why’ and I was like don’t ask anything and I just pushed him in and went inside and told the librarian just keep him inside, just go to the back door,” Edna Gamarro said in an interview with CBSNews.com.

The boy’s mother credited Gamarro with saving his life.

Gamarro’s sharp ears and quick thinking made a difference in the San Bernardino school shooting.

Guardian, a gunshot detection system developed by Shooter Detection Systems, puts the same sharp ears and quick thinking throughout a facility. Guardian works by using acoustic and infrared sensors to instantly identify gunshots. The precise location of the gunshots is noted, and authorities are alerted immediately.

The Guardian system has the ability to dramatically reduce response times in active shooter situations. A recent independent live-fire study in a two million square foot facility reduced reporting and first-responder dispatch time from as much as 18 minutes to just five seconds. Warnings can also be instantly sent out to people in the facility and vicinity advising them to evacuate or take cover. This video demonstrates the basics of the system.

Interested in learning more? Register for our Live Fire event.

ECT Services will also be participating in the Kentucky School Plant Management Association conference and workshops this year, which will take place Oct. 18-19 at the Embassy Suites Hotel at 1801 Newtown Pike in Lexington.

March 28th, 2016

On a cold night in mid-February, a piece of Kentucky history went up in flames.

28443814_s

Rabbit Hash General Store, a landmark clapboard store that stood on Lower River Road in Boone County for more than 185 years, was decimated by a fast-moving fire. The family that owns the store, and the community that loves it, have vowed to rebuild on the same spot.

While you can’t prevent every disaster, you can mitigate risk. Some ideas for protecting property and people:

Inspect fire protection systems quarterly. Test alarms and systems regularly, and perform any required maintenance promptly. Questions about inspections? Contact Tom Barrett at (502) 632-4322.

Inspect property for fire risks. Fires need ignition and fuel. Are sources of ignition and fuel present? Look for frayed electrical cords or other spark risks, and repair or replace when necessary. Be sure fuel sources like papers or chemicals or any other combustible materials are properly stored. Check out this list from the Occupational Health and Safety Administration for more ideas to reduce risk.

Review your emergency action plans. Be sure your plan includes: a plan for reporting, an evacuation plan for employees and guests that includes floor plans and maps, procedures for employees who must remain in place to perform critical operations, and rescue and medical duties for designated employees. Use this guide to create or review your plans.

Plan a drill. Plan and execute fire evacuation and other safety drills at least once a year.

March 9th, 2016

Just a few short years ago, a tornado outbreak cut a wide swath through the Ohio Valley. The outbreak – the second deadliest March outbreak on record – left a path of destruction across Kentucky, Indiana and much of the southeastern United States.

The tornado leveled homes, businesses, churches and schools. The outbreak began early and picked up steam throughout the day, slamming into Henryville, Ind. just as schools were dismissing for the day.

Is your facility prepared for a tornado? Tornado season is at its peak from March to May, so now is the time to review plans. Check out these preparation steps, courtesy of the Occupational Health and Safety Administration:

Identify a safe shelter. Basements are best, but if no underground shelter area is available, identify an interior room on the lowest level of your facility. Avoid large, open spaces such as auditoriums or cafeterias.

Equip the shelter area. Secure a first aid kit in the designated shelter area. Consider adding a weather radio to the kit, too.

Establish an alarm system. Test the system regularly, and be sure staff members recognize the alarm.

Prepare to get an accurate headcount. How will you account for all the people in your facility? Keep updated lists and logs of staff, visitors and anyone else that might be in your facility on any given day. Designate a staff person to take charge of those lists in an emergency. Know who is in your shelter area, and who is not accounted for in an emergency.

Practice, practice, practice. Hold training drills throughout the year, and identify areas for improvement.

For more information, check out this preparedness guide developed by NOAA, FEMA and the American Red Cross.

March 4th, 2016

Join our team as we grow!

The Project Coordinator shall work closely with the Operations Manager and Project Manager(s) within ECT Services… As well as the customers, Building Owners, and Architects & Engineers who have hired/retained ECT Services.

The overall goal of the Project Coordinator is to allow the Project Manager to focus on job execution. Both the Project Manager and the Project Coordinator are responsible for communication (either with ECT’s own internal Team Members and/or outside entities). Although the Project Coordinator may perform some of the project management work, the project manager is ultimately responsible and accountable for the successful delivery of the projects.

The Project Coordinator will support the PM’s & the Ops Manager, the processes of the Operations Department, and all Operations project related administrative action items (including associated paperwork / documentation needs) for the project(s)… by performing the essential duties listed below:

RMA’s – Arranges for shipment of damaged product back to manufacturer and acquiring advanced replacement orders.

Material receipt – manages the receipt of material by inventorying received shipments, putting on shelfs, notifying PM’s and Accounts Payable, scanning in packing slips, etc.

Manage project parts bins in conjunction w/ PM’s (This person would be responsible for the organization of all material with respect to assigning the parts & product to proper job bins, and / or labeling the parts & products according to their respective job).

PO generation & material orders – Primarily role for the ops team field installers commodity needs and misc. material acquisitions. Secondary support to AP for primary project orders sent from engineering.

Inventory and order Panel construction materials – for panel manufacturing area

Submittal and O&M manual creation & distribution –Include all control drawings, cut sheets, and installation guides & binders (Asbuilts from Cad)

Hotel and travel arrangements as needed relative to project travel

Maintain & track ops team training certifications – OSHA, safety topics, JCPS badges, Lenel Annual webinar updates, etc. Track expirations and notify team of required renewal dates.

Documentation Management (Paper & Electronic)– review, write, and file the following, but not limited to:

Manage Project files – Scope/Contract/Purchase Orders/Change Orders/subcontracts/etc

Maintain project tracking sheet and HaloDash PM systems (Track monthly job cost and process billing approvals )

Project Close out documents – Warranty letters/job completion/training agendas/etc

New Vendor submissions – coordinate with the AP manager to request new vendors. (this is establishing new subs, and vendors in conjunction w/ the PM, vendor, and AP.

Schedule and participate in required project meetings

Manage operations’ customer satisfaction surveys

Acts as an alternate point of contact for customers, and notify customers of project team after sales to operations turnovers

Acquire (as required) Payment and performance bonds for projects

Acquire (as required) Certificate of insurance for projects

Manage Operations manpower schedules & vacations / calendar

Assist PM to regularly evaluate and communicate the financial performance of projects

Work with AP and PM’s on surplus project materials that need to be transferred to inventory, re-assigned to other jobs, or sent back as surplus for credit.

Perform quarterly ops team tool inventory evaluations (provide sheets, get filled out, update primary inventory document)

Help develop and communicate the initial project schedule, making certain that all scheduling conflicts are resolved with routine updates with the project manager’s final approval.

Coordinate warranty/project issues with other ECT Departments as applicable.

Clarification of Roles, to help eliminate confusion between PM and PC:
Project Manager is responsible for identifying and resolving project issues, making sure the project progresses on schedule and on budget. The PM is the primary point of contact with stakeholders and is accountable for the project’s success. The project manager seeks help from a project coordinator to expedite tasks after the planning phase.

Project Coordinator’s role is to coordinate & communicate activities with the PM such as documentation, emails, phone calls, scheduling, ordering, sorting, stacking, scanning, copying, sending, receiving, etc…

For more information or to apply, please contact dstumler@ectservices.com.

 

March 2nd, 2016

Has your business or organization planned an active shooter drill?

21462144_s

With new school or workplace shootings making headlines nearly every week, facility managers should have plans in place. Don’t know where to begin? These three steps will help you get started.

Start the discussion

Your first step should be identifying key stakeholders. Those stakeholders may vary based upon the type of facility. Facility managers and security personnel will be central to any discussion, but other staff members – particularly those who are in most direct contact with customers, may also need to be included.

Once stakeholders are gathered, consider these conversation starters to help your team work through the issues.

Gather resources

The Department of Homeland Security has developed education materials including a video, pamphlets and posters aimed at educating the public about what to do in an active shooter situation. Click here for details.

Assessment and education is also available from ECT Services. Contact James Burton at 502.632.4322 or email sales@ectservices.com.

Drill, baby, drill

Plans are more effective if they are practiced. Test and sharpen your plan by staging an active shooter drill. Be sure to work closely with local law enforcement, and communicate expectations for the drill clearly to all participants.

Beware of pitfalls, too. One active shooter drill went awry when organizers decided to use live pellet guns, injuring a participant.

August 25th, 2015

School is back in full swing! Many of you may have teen drivers who drive themselves to school this year, and it is essential that they understand how to stay safe on the road. Car accidents are the leading cause of death for teens in the U.S., and teens are involved in fatal accidents at three times the rate of adult drivers. Make sure your teens know basic road, car, and passenger safety while they’re commuting to school this year.

Photo credit: Keith Bell

Photo credit: Keith Bell

 

Set the rules of the road with your child before they even get behind the wheel. Aside from the existing laws governing teen driving habits, establish personal safety standards that your child must adhere to in order to maintain driving privileges. For example, set a curfew after school or work by which time your child must be home or at least call to check in to let you know where they are, what they’re doing, and who they’re with. Many states have laws that prevent teens from driving with underage passengers in their car without a licensed adult; make sure your child follows this to reduce the chance of distracted driving (and the temptation to show off). It seems strict, but you may even consider setting a weekly mileage limit for your teen to discourage cruising and other distracting behaviors behind the wheel.

 

Make sure your teen has the basics of car safety down: they should always wear their seat belts (and require any passengers to do so, as well), make sure their mirrors are properly positioned, and put away cell phones before they even start the car. Cell phones pose a particular danger on the road, as texting and driving can have catastrophic consequences. Consider installing an app on your teen’s phone that prevents texting while driving. AT&T’s DriveMode, Textecution, and DriveScribe all either detect your car’s speed and disable texting, or read text message out loud as they come in to discourage distraction.

 

Finally, work with your teen on a regular basis to review and reinforce the state and federal laws regarding teen driving. Make sure they know the consequences of breaking these laws, and have a plan in place to deal with speeding tickets and other citations they may receive. Establish parameters under which they may lose their driving privileges if they break these laws, and enforce them consistently.

 

Watching your teen child drive away is never easy on the heart or nerves, but following these basic driving safety tips can help put your mind at ease and keep your teen safe on the road. Even if they think it’s strict now, someday they will be thankful that you insisted they stay safe and helped them develop into conscientious and mindful drivers.

July 29th, 2015

It’s back-to-school time, and whether you’re devastated or excited to see summer come to a close, you want to make sure your kiddo gets back to school safely. Read on for some BTS safety tips for kids of all ages.

Elementary School

Be sure young children know basic safety procedures before school starts. Of course, teach them to look both ways when crossing the street, always cross at designated crosswalks and pay attention to crossing signs and guards as well as traffic. If your student rides a bus to school, walk to the bus stop with him or her for the first few days to help ensure they know where to wait and remind them to stand in place until the bus is at a complete stop and the doors have opened.

Additionally, mark all of your student’s belongings with their name. Backpacks, lunch bags, and school supplies have a tendency to go missing often in the first few weeks of school, so practice with them to make sure they put away their valuables in their designated places each day.

Though it’s a topic that no parent enjoys thinking about, back to school season is a prime time for kidnappers and other ne’erdowells to target kids. Youngsters who are just beginning school and are not familiar with the processes of getting on and off a bus, walking home, or staying within a certain area during recess can be easily confused and manipulated by predators. Teach your child to stay away from strangers and give them a secret code word that they should ask adults who claim to be authorized to pick them up. Instruct them that if someone does not know this secret password, they should run inside and inform an adult as quickly as possible.

Middle School

Middle school is a scary time for kids; they now have lockers and change classes and can be easily intimidated and overwhelmed by how different the experience is from elementary school. Teach them basic locker safety: they shouldn’t share their combination with anyone or “set” their lockers before each class (some students will set their locks to the correct combination so they can easily leave class and open it immediately to save time before the next class). If your middle schooler carries a cell phone or tablet to school, consider providing them a small lockbox to place inside their locker with a separate combination to keep these items safe from determined thieves.

Students at this age may ride their bikes to school, as well. Provide them a secure bike lock and map out 3-4 acceptable routes for them to take to school each day and places to lock their bike. Switching up their routes can thwart potential kidnappers who may be monitoring their routines with nefarious intent. If possible, ride these routes with them at least once prior to the start of the school year.

High School

If your high schooler takes a laptop to school for studying or note-taking, invest in a laptop lock to keep their information secure even if the laptop is stolen. Remind them to keep the computer with them at all times or provide a lockbox to keep inside their locker.

If they are involved in after-school activities, remind them to travel in groups and keep their cell phones charged in case they need to contact you or emergency services. Students who drive to school should be reminded of basic traffic safety and encouraged to set a good example for their peers by demonstrating responsible driving habits.

Students of any age should know how to contact 911 or other emergency services if needed, and should know to travel in groups to minimize the chances of getting lost, hurt, or abducted. Start the school year safely and have a great back-to-school season!