en-Gauge Strengthens Partnerships and Opens Licensing Opportunities
en-Gauge strengthens partnerships
en-Gauge Inc in Rockland Ma. continues to grow and strengthen its partnerships throughout the fields of safety asset management. en-Gauge’s safety asset monitoring technology has three divisions; en-Gauge to monitor the condition of fire extinguishers, en-Vision that monitors the readiness of safety equipment and en-O2 which ensures the viability of a medical and industrial gases within healthcare and other occupancies.
This past week I stayed in Miami in a boutique size, big chain hotel. My stay at the hotel was terrific. Helpful and friendly staff, clean rooms and well kept facilities made my stay very pleasant, I would gladly stay there again. Even in this well run hotel, however, the fire extinguisher outside my room was empty.
Walking to my room, I noticed the Class ABC dry chemical fire extinguisher on the 9th floor had lost pressure The pressure gauge read empty. There was no visible means to tell when it was last inspected. The fire extinguisher was in a locked cabinet.
I informed the front desk to the problem on both Saturday the 18th and Sunday the 19th, and yet the inoperable fire extinguisher remained in service through my return to the hotel on the Wednesday the 22nd.
On Wednesday the 22nd, I again informed the front desk and stressed why having no usable fire extinguishers on the 9th floor was such a bad idea. When I checked on the 23rd, nothing had been done although it was assured it would get fixed.
During both my visits to the hotel there was construction being done on the 9th floor, and the only visible fire extinguisher was the empty, inoperative fire extinguisher close by in the hall. This creates a dangerous workplace situation, as well as a situation where hotel guests are at increased, unnecessary risk.
During my second visit I mentioned this issue to a member of the wait staff while asking who to talk to about this. He said that he was not surprised as there has been “an empty one in the kitchen for months”.
I can’t say how long the fire extinguisher was empty. I can say it showed no signs of vandalism and it may have been inspected to code. It likely just leaked.
I do not know if has been fixed.
Yet again, proof that 30 day fire extinguisher inspections are insufficient.
Fire extinguisher inspection
There are building owners and managers in all sectors who neglect 30 day fire extinguisher inspections, To those that do, I say, you’re making a mistake. You need to respect the fire codes and get the inspection job done or start monitoring your fire extinguishers.
Fire extinguishers and fire systems as a whole are not infallible, buildings need layers of fire protection, fire extinguishers are layer #1 in stopping a small fire from becoming a blaze. Fire extinguishers in commercial structures in the United States stop more than 500 fires everyday* That includes an estimated 20 times everyday in hotels.
As Real time location systems become more widely deployed and used to track vital equipment, especially in healthcare facilities, manufacturing plants and the hospitality industry, businesses are starting to look to integrate critical life safety equipment in their RTLS deployments. Devices such as employee distress medallions, medical oxygen tanks, fire extinguishers, AED’s (Automated External Defibrillators), IV pumps and many others are being integrated into RTLS infrastructure providing businesses with tremendous ROI through improved process and reduced inventory, as well as substantially lowered risk and improved life safety.
RTLS systems are wireless networks deployed inside of facilities, that in conjunction with RFID tags and a software layer, provide businesses with insight into exactly where on their campus each piece of tracked equipment resides at any point in time. In addition, sensors play an important role in life safety monitoring as well.
Fire Extinguishers and RTLS
Does the fire extinguisher in the northern hallway, on the 4th floor of the Green building have pressure? Has it been removed, or are there obstructions in front of it that may make it difficult or impossible to access? These sensors provide information into the “state” of the equipment, while the RTLS solution provides insight into the “Location” of each device.
This insight leads to substantial opportunities for process improvement and improved life safety. Your facility team is notified the instant an extinguisher is removed, becomes depressurized or is blocked, leading to a reduction in vandalism, rapid response to emergencies (and insight into where the extinguishers are being used), and dramatically improved maintenance and replacement cycles ensuring that these critical devices are available, accessible and ready in an emergency.
Medical Oxygen and RTLS
As another example, consider medical oxygen tanks in a hospital. Today, most organizations have a highly decentralized and inefficient system for managing their oxygen inventory. Nurses and other care providers are responsible for identifying empty cylinders and replacing them. The disorganized process leads to bloated inventory levels, unnecessary refills and life threatening emergencies when finding a full cylinder is difficult.
With RTLS systems and smart gauges, central maintenance teams are notified the moment a cylinder begins to run low and the exact location of that cylinder. They are able to ensure that there is plenty of available oxygen at each location ensuring RN’s are no longer searching for and replacing cylinders in a rush. Understanding the state of the oxygen inventory results in substantial reductions in the necessary cylinder inventory on site. Early indications are that medical oxygen monitoring utilizing an RTLS system will provide a $500 per bed / per year savings over existing processes.
Each additional type of life safety device that is brought into an RTLS system has their own compelling value proposition. To learn more about how RTLS systems and life safety monitoring systems work, contact en-Gauge today to speak with one of our experts.
Medical oxygen is a vital component of quality healthcare in the United States and around the world with tens of thousands of people a day relying on it in emergencies and for quality-of-life. With such extensive usage and resultant inconsistent processes, managing medical oxygen is a substantial and costly challenge for every healthcare operator - from hospitals to assisted living facilities and hospice providers. Electronic monitoring and tracking of medical oxygen allows healthcare businesses to substantially improve their internal processes, enhance patient care, lower risk and reduce costs. But what is electronic medical oxygen monitoring?
What is Medical Oxygen Monitoring - Electronic Medical Oxygen Monitoring Defined.
To effectively remotely monitor a healthcare facility's medical oxygen inventory, two critical pieces of data must be tracked.
1. Pressure: Each medical oxygen canister is equipped with a pressure gauge to indicate whether the tank is running low. Generally it is up to RNs and other care providers to manually keep an eye on these gauges, determine when the canisters are at risk of running out, and scramble to find and replace these cannisters. With electronically monitored oxygen, the gauges are replaced by "smart gauges" that communicate wirelessly back to a centralized monitoring location that immediately notifies the appropriate personnel when a cannister is starting to run low on air pressure. This notification can take place in a variety of ways - smartphone, email, text message - and allows healthcare providers to lower risk and avoid potentially catastrophic mistakes.
2. Location: In addition to the pressure of a particular canister, it is important to know exactly where each canister is in the facility at any point in time. As oxygen cannisters are often mobile along with patients and equipment, having real-time location information allows healthcare operators to effectively respond to medical oxygen issues, including empty canisters, or locating a full canister in the event of an emergency. Integrating the medical oxygen inventory into a healthcare facility's existing RTLS (Real-Time Location Service) allows for rapid deployment of the location tracking of medical oxygen inventory.
Benefits of Electronic Medical Oxygen Monitoring
Tracking the location and pressure of your medical oxygen inventory results in a variety of benefits for a healthcare provider including improved patient care, lower costs, lowered insitutional risk, reduced inventory and re-allocation of work to the appropriate human resources. Some highlights include:
Process Improvement - With instant notification anytime an oxygen canister is running low and the exact location of that canister, healthcare operators can eliminate the scramble associated with identifying an empty extinguisher and finding a replacement (generally agreed to take approximately 10 to 15 minutes per RN per shift). Additionally, maintenance personnel - as opposed to high priced RNs - can manage the replacement of the canisters before they become a concern, enhancing patient care.
Inventory Right-sizing - Because of inefficiencies in process and the wide array of individuals interacting with the medical oxygen inventory, hospitals and healthcare facilities often rent and maintain substantially more medical oxygen inventory than they need. For many organizations electronic medical oxygen monitoring can result in a 30% or more reduction in canister inventory. Additionally, improved processes and electronic monitoring of pressure can result in a near elimination of unnecessary re-charges of full or mostly full canisters (a very common problem in healthcare).
Lower costs - Elimination of unneccessary inventory and canister refills, the redistribution of responsibilities from RNs to lower cost maintenance personnel, process improvements and procurement improvements can add up to big savings. Some hospitals estimate the savings at $500 or more per year per bed.
Improved Care - Most importantly, electronic medical oxygen monitoring leads to improved care by dramatically lowering the risk associated with unneccesary empty or missing medical oxygen tanks.
Two Texas companies learned the hard way this week that failure to provide a safe workplace - and in particular accessible and functioning fire extinguishers - is very bad for business. OSHA, the US Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration, cited the companies on multiple willful and serious violations and levied fines that equal almost $400,000.
The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has issued Texas Linen Company Ltd. five serious and 15 repeat citations following a safety and health inspection at the company's facility in Austin, Texas. Proposed penalties total $126,400.
...Repeat citations were issued alleging a failure to keep flooring dry; cover floor holes; provide machine guards for rotating parts, points of operation, and sprockets and chains; provide illuminated exit signs and clear exit access; provide properly identified locks for machine servicing; and provide working and easily accessible portable fire extinguishers.
In a separate incident, OSHA has cited U.S. Minerals Inc. with three alleged willful and 35 alleged serious violations for exposing workers to multiple safety and health hazards at the company's facility in Galveston. Proposed penalties total $273,000.According to the Houston Examiner:
Serious violations include failing to provide covers on chute floors, failing to remove damaged portable metal ladders from service, failing to ensure compressed gas cylinders were properly secured, failing to provide fire extinguishers where combustible and flammable materials were stored and failing to develop and document machine specific lockout/tag out procedures for equipment. A serious violation is one in which there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.
...Speaking on this issue, Mark Briggs, OSHA's area director for the Houston South Area Office said, “Employers' disregard for worker safety will not be tolerated. This company jeopardized the safety of its employees
As a company that has a history of over 40 years in fire protection and life safety, we understand how vital the work is that OSHA does in ensuring workplace safety. Unfortunately, there are large spans of time in between inspections. That is why it the en-Gauge fire extinguisher monitoring solution is so important to workplace safety. The en-Gauge system monitors fire extinguishers 24 X 7 X 365 and ensures that these critical life safety devices are available, accessible and ready for use when needed. Protect your company, lower your risk and make sure your employees are safe.
A 2009 survey by the Joint Commission an independent, non-profit organization that accredits health care organizations found that the number one challenge indicated in maintaining the environment of care was fire safety equipment maintenance.
Among the Joint Commission's requirements is the monthly physical maintenance and inspection of fire equipment. Monthly physical inspections can be costly, especially in time and labor required.
The good news is that like the NFPA and the ICC, the Joint Commission now recognizes en-Gauge's technology as an equivalent to the manual 30-day fire extinguisher inspections. Health care facilities that adopt en-Gauge can reduce risk, stay code compliant and potentially reduce the cost of extinguisher ownership by some 60% over 12 years.