Getting Managed IT For Fire Stations And Fire Services

With so much of fire safety being automated these days it’s incredibly important to ensure that network security and stability is up to snuff.  Although the state pays for most of IT services it’s crucial to vet these companies that provide services.  Since firefighters obviously don’t want to be doing their own IT services, hiring a managed IT company is crucial.  That’s what one volunteer firefighting station did by hiring San Diego managed IT specialists AMA networks to run their security as well as establish a proper backup and security plan of action in the event of a data breach.

Disaster Planning And Recovery Plans

In the event that a fire, earthquake, or flood destroys valuable computers and servers, it’s important to have a plan in place so you can quickly get back on your feet and up and running with minimal downtime.  Although firestations won’t lose money per se, they can lose valuable time, and the risk of missing calls is increased.

Having a backup plan can be instrumental.  AMA Networks set up that volunteer fire station with a cloud based system that was able to be recovered in just minutes.

This is crucial when time is of the essence.

Many businesses and organizations fail to plan ahead for disasters and are often caught with their pants down, which can be devastating.  Don’t get caught behind and ensure that everything is backed up and redundancy tests are performed at least twice a year to ensure that everything runs smoothly.

Employee Education

With phishing and scams at their peak these days, it’s important to ensure that employees at firestations and offices are up to date on what to look for and what to do to prevent hacks, scam calls, and other forms of advanced phishing.

Sometimes a caller will have some correct information, likely obtained by a large data breach, and this will make them seem more convincing.  It’s important to tell people that they should never give out data to unsolicited callers.  If someone is calling, vet them very, very carefully.

The same goes for emails and other forms of communication.

It’s also true that people using the firestation computer network should not browse internet “bad neighborhoods”.  This is crucial to avoid network wide hacks and exposing the network to unwanted intrusion.  This includes adult, gambling, and other similar sites.

 

Back Up Your Computer In Case Of Fire

There’s nothing worse than a devastating fire that will destroy your house.  Even a fire in one room can wreak havoc and cause thousands of dollars of damage.  However, many of the things that have burned can be replaced.  But what can’t be replaced?  These are the things that you want to think about when you think about fire preparedness.  I always tell people to make a small list of things that are not replaceable  – family photos, important documents such as social security cards, home videos, etc.  Another thing that many people forget to add to this list is their computer.

Making a backup of your computer is extremely important in case the computer fails or becomes infected by a virus.  This is why most people back up their computers.  But with more and more people storing photos, videos, and other important things on their computers, the cost of losing it becomes higher and higher.  What happens if you have a catastrophic fire in your house?  You could lose your computer.  This is why we suggest making regular backups of your computer.  You could do external storage and keep it in a fire proof safe, or you could back up to cloud storage.  Both are very good options.  I really like cloud based storage because it’s much more “fail safe” than other methods of backups.

There are a number of different cloud backup companies out there that are very affordable.  I have used (and still use) both Backblaze as well as MyPCBackup.  These are both extremely good in terms of what they offer for the price, and more. I suggest to all my friends that they use these programs because they run automatically in the background and they will never miss a scheduled backup as long as they are connected to the internet.

Check these programs out for yourself and see if they are right for you!  A few websites go over the pros and cons of each of the companies, such as Your PC Helpers and more.

Advanced Fire Preparedness

Here are some tips on advanced fire preparedness, and we think you’ll benefit from this information.  Many people don’t put much thought into their building’s fire safety protocol, and it can lead to huge problems later on.

 

Much too often, those who own or manage properties — nursing homes, hospitals, hotels/motels, offices, stores — have a complacency when it comes to fire safety. They feel that their structure is fully protected when it is equipped from basement to roof with sprinklers, extinguishers, detectors, and alarm systems.

The truth is that outfitting a building with fire safety devices is only half the job. A smoke detector, a portable extinguisher, or even a sprinkler system is as protective only as its readiness to operate instantly and effectively. Keeping any building truly fire-safe means equipping it with reliable fire-fighting equipment — then inspecting and maintaining that equipment so that it is ready whenever an emergency occurs.

Inspection

Every area of a building should be inspected regularly, ideally by a fire safety professional or, at the least, by an employee thoroughly trained to spot equipment in need of repair and conditions that could lead to a fire. The inspector (several employees can be trained to perform the task) should take a printed checklist of everything to cover, preferably an inspection form that has been specially prepared for those particular premises. (General inspection sheets usually are available from fire authorities and insurance companies.) All findings of an inspection tour should be recorded on the form, and presented to a supervisor for review and fast remedial action.

Maintenance and repair

While inspections can be done by a building’s staff, keeping equipment at peak efficiency requires that professionals perform all but the simplest maintenance. There are few building staffs that have members as qualified, competent, and experienced as specialists who work for sprinkler contractors, alarm system makers, and extinguisher service companies. A preventive maintenance and reconditioning program, operated continuously, can extend equipment service life considerably, and cut replacement costs.

Fire-resistant fabrics

Stripped down to its essence, fire is a chemical reaction, the rapid oxidation of a fuel (the combustible), producing heat and light. Take away the combustible, and there is nothing left to burn. That is the unique benefit of fire-resistant fabrics, far and away the number one method of preventing building fires. Unlike other antifire practices, those fabrics work the first time and every time, and need no maintenance or repair as long as they are intact. Relatively new on the firefighting scene, their initial applications were as bedspreads and mattress and pillow tickings for the lodging industry. Today, they are made for use in virtually any type of building, available as wall coverings, curtains, draperies, and upholstery flame barriers.

One of these is Sandel, the fire-resistant furnishing material made by Burlington Industries. Unlike many others rated “fire-resistant” by current testing methods, Sandel will not ignite, burn, melt, or drip, even when exposed to direct flame and temperatures up to 1,300[deg.]F. Woven from specially-coated inorganic fibers, it solves a serious problem outlined in a Federal Emergency Management Agency report: Fires in which textiles are the first to ignite result in more deaths and injuries than fires involving any other class of materials.

Orey, Walter J. “Is your fire protection equipment really ready?” Nursing Homes Long Term Care Management Mar.-Apr. 1987: 28+.