Patient Fire Safety Coalition

I would like to take this opportunity to introduce you, The Code Coach readers, to another organization that I am passionate about, and work with.  This organization is the Patient Fire Safety Coalition.

As the healthcare industry searches for ways to boost profits, they have set their sights on the elimination of fire and life safety systems. Their main tactic to accomplish this is to lobby for sweeping changes of current fire codes (IFC). They seek changes that will eliminate fire rated walls and smoke barriers, exceptions that will allow the maintenance of these systems to be abandoned, and the removal of system components that ensure general patient safety.

The International Fire Code defines these healthcare facilities as “buildings and structures used for medical, surgical, psychiatric, nursing or custodial care for persons who are not capable of self-preservation. This group shall include, but not be limited to, the following: child care facilities, detoxification facilities, hospitals, mental hospitals, nursing homes.” The primary and sole objective of the Patient Fire Safety Coalition is to serve as an advocate for those patients and individuals who become “not capable of self-preservation”. That they can rest assured that they will be safe in their healing environment. Our goal is to speak in favor of upholding current fire and life safety codes, and ensures that healthcare facilities remain the safe spaces that a patients family and loved ones would expect for it to be. The Patient Fire Safety Coalition is the voice for those who cannot speak, and a watch dog to make certain that health care facilities must maintain the highest standards of fire protection and life safety.

In April the Healthcare industry will try to push through the following reductions in fire/life safety:

• Eliminate fire resistance rated corridors (IFC 1105.3.2)
• Discontinue maintenance of existing smoke and fire barriers (IFC 1103.1)
• Treat existing smoke barriers as ½ hour rated, not requiring any fire stopping or opening protectives (IFC 1105.5.2)
• Consider glass walls in sprinkled buildings to be 1 hour rated (IFC 1103.4.1)

The Patient Fire Safety Coalition needs you to speak out against these changes at the ICC Committee Action Hearing in Dallas on April 21-30, 2013. Join the cause or contact us, , to get involved and take a stand for patient fire and life safety.

Please consider joining me in April to stand against these changes.  For more information, to see the arguments in-depth, or to donate to the cause, please visit,

How to calculate downtime...

The impact of a fire related incident can be devastating, resulting in loss of property, financial hardship, and often times, death. I started this blog as a way to ensure the continued success of its readers  organizations by eliminating the risk of fire loss.

Here at the Code Coach I attempt to do just that in the following ways:
  • Education - through this blog and shared articles readers are educated as to what fire/life safety components should be in place, and how to prevent fire/life safety issues from occurring.
  • Consulting - providing FREE plan review services to ensure fire/life safety code compliance; providing life safety evaluations of facilities; being part of the commissioning process; overseeing new construction and incident recovery projects.
  • Speaking - host and speak at fire prevention/life safety conferences/seminars/events; conduct site specific training; provide employee fire prevention and life safety training.
By combining these elements fire protection and life safety can be achieved. To determine the value that these tools could have for your organization, check out this "Downtime Calculator".  This calculator lets you see the cost of lost time due to a fire or other emergency.

Using Google Chrome

While contemplating a new laptop purchase I came across the Google Chromebook.  The Chromebooks run on the Linux based, Chrome OS.  The Acer Chromebook starts at only $199, the next level up is the Samsung Chromebook starting at $249.  These systems operate in the cloud while also allowing work to be performed offline.  As I currently work heavily with Google Drive (docs, spreadsheets, slides, gmail, calendar, blogger, etc.)  this sounded like a perfect option for me.  Also, you can download and utilize apps from the Google Chrome web store, another plus as I currently use an Android based phone. Added benefits are no outdated software, the newest updates happen automatically, and all files can be located in the cloud, available wherever/whenever you need them.

As I have been researching this technology, it seems that governments have been taking note of the affordability of Google's array of software and hardware.  Here are two stories of governments that have gone Google:
This makes good sense for use in the public sector.  Astronomical financial savings would be found in, reduced funds for computer leasing and hardware updates, eleimination of software licensing and upgrade fees, and reduced cost of server maintenance and upkeep. 

I have not purchased mine yet, but it will happen in a couple of days.  I will be posting a review here as I begin to use it.

7 Keys to Magical Customer Service

Being an avid reader, and a self-described student of customer service, on a recent trip to the local used bookstore I picked up a book by Tom Connellan, Inside the Magic Kingdom: Seven Keys to Disney's Success.  The premise of the book is that Disney is always full of people, and considered the happiest place on earth (others opinions, not my own), and it has all to do with the culture of customer service that Disney celebrates.  The fire service has much to learn when it comes to customer service, a good place to start is by implementing the 7 keys that Disney uses, and applying them to our organizations and fire prevention bureau's.

Lesson 1: The competition is anyone the customer compares you with.

Most people and organizations would not consider Disney to be a competitor.  However, Connellan makes the point, that if one of your customers has ever had a Disney experience, or called their customer service line, then they are your competitor.  They are subconsciously judging their interaction with your department against other customer service interactions that they have had. 

In the public sector simple things can go a long way in providing a superior customer service experience.  For example, when most people call a government entity (fire department, tax collector, voter registration, building department, etc.) they do not expect their call to be returned or to be really paid much attention to.  Simply by answering the phone, and returning calls by the end of the same day (and promising to do so on your voicemail message) goes an extremely long way in improved customer service.  For many, a phone call will be their first interaction with you. 

Think about great customer service experiences that you have had and start to replicate those for others (businesses that provide great service that immediately come to mind are Mimeo, Publix, and Chick-fil-a).

Lesson 2: Pay fantastic attention to detail.

Always be looking for opportunities to serve the customer.  If you can meet their need before they ask or even realize that it will be a need, then you will come out as a customer service hero.  When providing customer service, don't stop at the bare minimum, but continue to help them throughout the process.

Notice what types of "details" get in the way of your departments ability to provide excellent service.  It could be poorly written policy, employee actions (even if unintentional), or administrations mindset.  If you notice a lack of attention to customer service detail, the best way to make a change is to start with yourself.  Ensure that you are paying attention to the details.

Lesson 3: Everyone walks the talk.

What is the culture of your department?  Is it one of customer service excellence? A culture that places customers/citizens needs and experience above all else? In order to provide a magical customer service experience everyone in your organization needs to be on the same page.  Customer interactions should be the same no matter who they are talking to or dealing with.  Often times, this requires a change in the entire culture of the department.  The culture shifts starts with you and your sphere of influence.

Lesson 4: Everything walks the talk.

This is why we pride ourselves in clean vehicles and up-kept facilities.  These things send a message to our community on there value to us.  Ensure that you have working equipment and it is kept in good repair, do not park in the fire lanes when there is no emergency, ensure that your facilities are code compliant and free of fire/life safety issues.  Maintain consistency in our message, in things spoken and unspoken.

Lesson 5: Customers are best heard through many ears.

Make sure that you are making time to get out and talk to people.  Talk to the public, talk to the crews. Make and take as many opportunities to interact with the public as you can. What are people saying?  What are they not saying? What makes them uncomfortable about the service offered? How can it be made more user friendly?  Listen to your people (community/customers and crews/employees), act immediately on what is heard.

Lesson 6: Reward, recognize, and celebrate.

Do not let good performance slip by unnoticed.  Our people often only hear feedback in a negative regards.  Ensure that you are giving more positive feedback, reacting to positive actions, than you are giving negative feedback. Celebrate excellent customer service interactions.  When customers/citizens write letters of praise, share them with the whole team.

Lesson 7: Xvxryonx makxs a diffxrxncx.

Like a typewriter with a broken key, so is an organization with a missing member.  Make sure that every member of your team knows their importance and value.  Make sure that everyone is pulling toward the same goal.  Make sure they really, truly know that everyone makes a difference.

How can you apply these 7 principles to your organizations customer service strategy?  How can you apply them to your own life, so that you are more aware of customer needs?

Prescribed burning in 100 seconds

Don't understand what a controlled burn is all about?  Looking for a good resource for educating your community on wildfire?  Check out this video.  This animation explains forest management, fuels management, and prescribed less than 100 seconds.