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BUILDING INTEGRATION

Posts Tagged ‘Louisville’

The Return to work, and before.

When quarantining began nearly a year ago and the workforce went home, the lights seemed to have gone out. They didn’t just “seem” to go out. They were turned off. You can’t blame building managers for managing their energy bills in such a manner – why have the lights/heat on if no one was going to be in their offices utilizing those services? Might as well save on the energy bill, right?

In Louisville, so much of our downtown is taken up by office buildings and commercial space. So when the employees of these companies went home last March, so much of downtown looked like a ghost town. With the lights off, it’s even worse. Nothing could possibly seem as desolate as an empty, dark downtown. It reminds me of those photos of deserted shopping malls.

Our customers have started going another way with this. Our city has been in the news a fair amount in the past year, and our downtown in particular. What the people of our city needed, and continue to need, is a sign of resurgence.  They want hope and to know they have not been abandoned.

What we have seen over the past few months is companies stepping up to provide a glimmer of hope through the glimmer of a return to turning the lights on – to making downtown come back to life.

In Kentucky terms, it seems we’re in the “third turn” of this pandemic and soon enough… we’ll be at the finish line. When that time eventually comes and the workforce can once again enter through the turnstiles and ride up that elevator to their cubicles, we’ll want the downtown ambiance to be bustling and “happening” again. We believe that it will be.

Collaboration for 2021.

Being the CEO of a small business is an exhilarating endeavor.  I am blessed to lead a company that is nimble and very engaged in the community, and we find opportunities to thread our experience through different types of networking opportunities. 

I have found by developing relationships one-by-one, it is a great way to build our business, and to help others grow. Through these relationships, we have been able to provide a balance of services at both a national and local level, utilizing our experience to bring value to our customers. In all cases, we have leveraged the customer service experience with a local feel to help our customers across their organization to realize a top-notch experience.

Through the years, I’ve had the opportunity to get involved with different networking groups and local chambers of commerce.  Currently, I sit in leadership roles with both GLI and One Southern Indiana.  This past week we’ve had strategic planning meetings for 2021 in each organization.  What’s been the most exhilarating piece of that is to see how these two organizations are working together across the river to help the region become successful regardless of state or geographic lines.

2021 is positioned to be a time of growth. Collaboration between these two organizations is focused on growing not just their local, home-grown communities but the region as a whole.

I’m excited to see what’s to come and to be a part of it.

September is Campus Fire Safety Month

September is Campus Fire Safety month, and the National Fire Protection Association and The Center for Campus Fire Safety are teaming up to raise awareness about the threat of fire in both on campus and off campus housing.

Image by <a href="https://pixabay.com/users/rgaudet17-8831873/?utm_source=link-attribution&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=image&utm_content=3410065">Renee Gaudet</a> from <a href="https://pixabay.com/?utm_source=link-attribution&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=image&utm_content=3410065">Pixabay</a>

They pulled together this excellent list of fire prevention and safety tips for dorm dwellers, but what about students who live off campus? Those students are unlikely to have the benefit of Resident Assistants and other program leaders to plan and execute fire drills and keep an eye on building safety features. We thought we’d adapt and expand the list a bit with those students in mind:

Make sure your living space includes a sufficient number of appropriately placed smoke detectors. Smoke detectors should be placed in each sleeping area, and also in living areas.

Test smoke detectors regularly, and never disable them. Change batteries on move in day, and once a year after that.

Place fire extinguishers in key areas, particularly the kitchen area. Make sure every occupant and regular guest knows where it is stored and how to use it.

Draw up an evacuation plan. Yes, that may sound a little over the top, but do it anyway. Post the evacuation plan on the back of every door, just like you see in hotels. Take time to practice escape routes with roommates and regular guests. Each room should have at least two ways you can exit in the event of an emergency.

Pay attention while cooking. Never leave the kitchen while there’s something on the stove or in the microwave. Reduce distractions from mobile devices, television or books.

Don’t overload the circuits. Resist the urge to plug in every device to every power strip you’ve ever owned. Make sure power strips will trip if overloaded.

Ditto candles and other combustible décor. Keep combustibles well away from drapes, pillows and other flammable objects.

Keep hallways and other areas clean and clear of extra furniture, clothes, mail, etc. Clutter can not only fuel flames, it can impede escape routes.

Want to know more about keeping your business safe from fires? Call (502) 567-1180 for a consultation.

Could technology fix long-term budget pressure on school safety?

Serious budget pressures are now threatening school safety.

In recent weeks, officials with the city of Louisville have announced that they may have to reduce the number of officers available to offer security services to schools, including school resource officers and crossing guards. The announcements have raised alarms among staff, students and parents who are concerned that the reductions and reallocations will place students at risk.

While short-term measures aimed at covering gaps have been put in place, long-term budget pressures remain. That means schools may need to get more creative when it comes to meeting safety and security needs.

The answer to some needs may be in leveraging technology, and at least one company is offering to help schools apply for grants to meet needs. Avigilon, a Motorola company, is offering grant research, grant alert notices and expert grant application reviews to schools applying for grants to enhance video security.

How can video enhance safety and security? Here are a few ideas:

Extend the reach of staff and school safety officers. Video enables staff and school safety officers to keep their eyes on all areas of school facilities and grounds and get help where it is needed most quickly and accurately. Monitors can quickly assess issues and offer the appropriate interventions if necessary.

Integrate with other systems. Video can be integrated with other systems for a more seamless, comprehensive approach. Integrations can include access control, public address systems/two-way communication, gunshot detection, fire detection and more.

Study traffic patterns and identify opportunities for improvement. Video can offer a birds-eye view – literally – of high-congestion indoor and outdoor areas that when coupled with artificial intelligence and other tools can help administrators gain insights into process and facility improvements.

Interested in learning more about how you might be able to leverage technology to enhance school safety and security? ECT Services has deep expertise and an innovative approach. Call us at 502-567-1180 for a free onsite consultation.

‘Tis the season to winterize your facility

The Ohio Valley skipped right over fall and went straight to winter, it would seem. Aside from being unpleasant to go from 80-degree afternoons one week to 30-degree highs the next, such rapid shifts posed a threat to business continuity.

The ice storm that rolled through the region recently might not have wreaked the havoc it did if it had showed up in, say, January rather than mid-November. Why? Many trees were still holding on to most of their leaves. Ice clung to the leaves, weighing down the limbs and causing them to break off. The crashing limbs and trees took out power lines across the region, and left tens of thousands without power. It took as much as four days for power to be restored to some.

The early ice storm was a wake up call. Is your facility ready for unexpected weather events? Here’s how you can prepare:

Stock up now on surface treatment supplies. Make sure you have the proper equipment and chemicals available for treating parking lots and walkways. And don’t forget the inside of your facility, too – melting snow and ice tracked in through door ways can create a slip and fall hazard. Be ready with the necessary tools to keep those areas clean and dry, too.

Inspect shrubs, trees and roofs. Keep foliage trimmed back so it doesn’t hang over power lines or roofs. Check roofs for potential trouble spots, and make sure gutters and drainage systems are clear and functioning properly.

Take care of routine HVAC system maintenance. Evaluate performance and replace any filters or worn parts as needed to maintain efficient performance.

Review business continuity plans. If your business loses power, do you have a back up plan? If key personnel lose power at home are unable to get to work, do you have a back up plan? Now is the time to document and cross train to ensure smooth functioning.

Need help reviewing the safety and security of your facility? We can help. Call (800) 567-1180 for a consultation.

Shut the door for fire safety.

When it comes to fire safety, fire alarms and sprinkler systems are the first pieces of safety equipment that come to mind.

But could the humble door actually be key to slowing or preventing the spread of a fire and saving lives?

The UL Firefighter Safety Research Institute, a non-profit which studies and trains both firefighters and the general public on fire safety, kicked off a campaign this year encouraging people to close their bedroom doors before turning in at night. Closed doors depress oxygen flow, which starves fire and slows its progress. Slowing a fire down gives occupants time to escape and gives fire crews more time to arrive on scene and fight the fire.

That same thinking translates from residential applications to office buildings, hospitals, schools and other public spaces. Facilities managers and building owners should think carefully about door placement, and how strategic door placement and use can slow or block fire progress and prevent loss.

The issue is especially urgent for hospitals, nursing homes and rehabilitation centers where moving patients may take more time or might even be impossible. In those cases, specially designed fire doors must be in place so buildings can be compartmentalized and occupants can shelter in place if necessary until the fire is suppressed.

Fire doors must be inspected at least twice a year. Fire doors are deceptively complicated, and even small defects can threaten their integrity and heighten risk, so inspections should be carried out by someone trained to recognize and correct any defect or misuse of the door.

Door monitoring can be integrated along with all other building systems such as security video, fire alarms and suppression systems and more. Maintaining awareness of these key systems all in one place provides key insights that can help identify and reduce risks.

Interested in learning more about integrating building systems? ECT Services can help. Call (800) 567-1180 for a consultation today.

Did Kentucky lawmakers do away with unnecessary regulations, or did it compromise public safety?

During the current Kentucky General Assembly, lawmakers passed HB 100, which included an amendment allowing Kentucky to issue its own amendments to the National Electrical Code.

Senator Jared Carpenter (R-Richmond) spoke in favor of the amendment, citing the practices he endorses as the owner of KJC Properties, LLC Real Estate and Rental Properties.

If a tenant calls and says they plugged in a curling iron and now their lights won’t come on, the solution is typically to change the GFCI outlets, said Carpenter. Ground fault control breaker outlets just don’t work well, says Carpenter, and cause needless service issues that drive up costs. Federal regulations reduce efficiency and increase costs for businesses, he said, while not necessarily keeping people safe.

“There’s no electrician that wants to come to your house that wants to do faulty, unsafe work,” said Carpenter. They don’t want to risk the liability if something goes wrong, he said.

The National Fire Prevention Association takes a different view. Keeping current with the latest nation standards is critical for safety, NFPA maintains, and neglecting or opposing national standards could lead to property damage and loss of life.

The political and regulatory environment has shifted significantly in the last few years, however, and now national standards like the NEC face greater scrutiny. Adoption of updates is taking longer.

What does that mean for facilities managers? Facilities managers might have to work a little harder to keep up with the latest regulations, particularly in states like Kentucky which may amend the NEC or other federal standards. State code changes might not always be less strict, sometimes they may be more stringent depending on local context. It’s important to take nothing for granted. Keeping an eye on local codes is key, too.

Organizations like NFPA can be helpful in keeping up with the latest, but developing a good relationship with your local code enforcement office is key. They are the experts when it comes to knowing what is permissible, what is not, and why. Look to your local code enforcement office as an educational resource.

10 energy-saving tips for dark, cold months

The recent arrival of cooler temps dovetailed with the end of Daylight Savings Time, making it feel like the world suddenly went dark and cold and the same time. Is your business or organization still making the adjustment?

These tips will help you maximize energy efficiency during the winter months:

Contact your energy provider and ask if they will help you conduct an energy audit. Many providers provide free audits to customers.

Review your energy usage from last winter season and set targets. How much energy did you use? What was the average daily temp and other conditions? Setting a goal for reducing use might help you keep costs in check.

Check insulation. Make sure it is adequate to meet your needs. Check seals on all duct work to make sure it is sound and air isn’t leaking.

Schedule regular maintenance for your HVAC system to keep it running at peak efficiency. Be sure to change or clean filters, too. Dirty filters make systems worker harder and less efficiently.

Check all vents and returns to make sure they are clear of obstructions. Arrange furniture so air flow is maximized, and keep paper and other debris clear.
Look for leaky doors and windows and seal them. Use caulk and/or weather stripping to seal up energy-sucking gaps throughout your facility. Gaps around plumbing access, electrical outlets and lighting fixtures are often leaky, too. Seal them up and you’ll better maintain temps in your facility.

Use programmable thermostats to maintain temps. Set temps no higher than 67 degrees when your facility is occupied, and drop temps several degrees overnight or when facilities are not in use. You’ll realize substantial savings by dropping your thermostat just two degrees.

Limit the use of space heaters. Not only do they present a fire hazard, they use significant energy and make it difficult to regulate temperatures. Encourage layering clothes or wearing sweaters for personal comfort.

Maximize use of natural light. Open blinds and curtains to allow sunshine in during the day, and close them at night to retain heat.

Monitor lighting use. Use sensors or timers to turn lights on and off automatically. Switch to LED lighting wherever possible. Use smart power strips and sleep settings to operate office equipment efficiently.

Need help monitoring and integrating your HVAC and other key building systems? We can help. Call (800) 567-1180 to learn more.

Is your community center at risk?

Louisville’s Jewish Community Center was the target of a bomb threat and had to be evacuated recently.


The threat appears to be part of a recent wave of threats and vandalism aimed at Jewish organizations. Since the first of the year, at least 134 bomb threats have been made against 100 locations across the country. Targets include Jewish Community Centers, schools and offices of the Anti-Defamation League.
The Jewish Community Center of Louisville is a vital part of the community, hosting an array of recreational opportunities ranging from swimming classes to art classes to theatre productions. The activities are open to all.
Why would anyone target such an institution?
It’s actually not unusual for religiously-affiliated institutions to be targets of violence and threats. Some are targeted for their beliefs, ethnic or religious makeup. Some are targeted because they are open and accessible by design, so it’s easy for those who wish to do harm to gain entry. Some are simply caught up as collateral damage in situations of domestic violence.
What can religiously-affiliated organizations do to protect themselves and the communities they serve? Here are a few ideas:
Gather stakeholders. Bring together organizational leaders, key staff, community members, legal counsel, insurance representatives and law enforcement. It is important to have a variety of perspectives represented; the different points of view will help you balance addressing risks with the purpose of your organization.
Assess potential threats. Think as comprehensively as possible about risks, which may include bomb threats, active shooters, vandalism, arson or more.
Develop response plans. Local law enforcement and insurance companies may be a good resource here, as well as your facilities maintenance team. Once you’ve developed response plans, communicate them appropriately. Hold regular emergency response training and drills, and distribute plans among key staff members in several locations.
Evaluate monitoring and response systems. Is your security system adequate and up to date? Are cameras, alarms and other elements fully integrated and securely accessible from remote locations? Should your facility consider a shot detection system that automatically detects gun shots and alerts first responders?
ECT Services can help you evaluate your security monitoring and response systems. Call us at (800) 567-1180 for details.

Louisville Metro Police invest in gunshot detection system

Louisville Metro Police announced plans last week to buy an outdoor gunshot detection system and install it within the next year. The system will be installed in areas of the city with high reports of shots fired, and high reports of violent crime.

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The systems will use microphones to triangulate gunshots quickly, according to a WLKY report, which will help police “pinpoint location, aid in the collection of ballistic data, provide aid to victims quickly and lead to quick arrests.”

The announcement highlights the growing interest in the use of gunshot detection systems to provide instant, accurate information to law enforcement.

“We applaud the city’s efforts to reduce response time in cases where shots have been fired,” says Jeff Murphy, CEO of ECT Services. “Kudos to the city for taking this important step.”

While the city’s proposed solution is designed to work outdoors, ECT Services offers a similar gunshot detection system for use in schools, office buildings, shopping malls and other public locations.

Guardian by Shooter Detection Systems works by using acoustic and infrared sensors to instantly identify gunshots. The precise location of the gunshots is noted, and warnings are instantly sent out to people in the facility and vicinity advising them to evacuate or take cover. Authorities are also alerted immediately. Guardian can also be integrated with other building systems like door locks and video surveillance. This video shows how Guardian works.

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.

Interested in learning more? Register to attend a live fire demonstration event.