Built For First Responders: The Station Design Awards

Built For First Responders: The Station Design Awards

The Oscars and the Emmys may be better known, but the Station Design Awards, honoring outstanding fire station design, have a much more direct effect on communities across America. When fire stations are designed to support first responders’ wellbeing, communities benefit from better firefighting and EMT service. And when stations are designed to encourage interaction with the community, everyone benefits from better fire prevention awareness and involvement.

Fire stations present some unique design challenges, including:

  • equipment contaminated by hazardous materials encountered in fires
  • engines’ carbon monoxide exhaust intruding into fire station living areas
  • common areas that allow for multiple activities without noise or space conflicts
  • secure storage for bulky “turnout” protective gear, uniforms, and personal items
  • sleeping areas that promote good sleep habits for high-functioning first responders

Last year’s award winners came from all parts of the U.S., from Washington State to Texas to Ohio to South Carolina. The judges looked particularly at zone designs (separating contaminated “hot” zones from the “cold” zone of living areas); sleeping areas that balanced isolation against privacy needs; and fire station building security. In stations where interactions with the public are common, and even encouraged, any access to administrative and living areas still has to be controlled. Equipment, turnout gear, and firefighters’ personal property must be stored safely in cages and lockers.

Writing in Firehouse.com, Janet Wilmoth reviewed station design trends reported by architects involved in station design. In addition to green design and LEED certification, these design professionals are seeing more indoor recreation spaces – which help reduce stress and build camaraderie – and the addition of community rooms and small walk-in clinics which improve outreach to the neighborhoods served by these fire stations.

This year’s Station Design Awards will be announced in November. Best of luck to all the entrants, along with thanks to first responders everywhere for their service.

 

Photo © MonkeyBusiness / AdobeStock

Is Your RFID Tattoo Phoning You?

Is Your RFID Tattoo Phoning You?

Massachusetts-based MD10 has been testing RFID temporary “tattoos” that detect various illness and monitor health conditions, sending data to healthcare professionals via a tiny built-in antenna. As reported in 21st Century Wire, first responders can scan an injured person’s RFID tattoo for allergies or medical conditions before administering medications. Doctors can be alerted to a patient’s impending heart attack hours before onset. The potential for improved healthcare is tremendous.

But wait, there’s more: these flat RFID tattoos, called Biostamps, can also store passwords. The Biostamp communicates with the user’s mobile phone to authenticate the user’s identity. At the D11 conference, Motorola announced an initiative that would incorporate Biostamps into mobile phone and tablet authentication, adding a high degree of security to e-devices and cloud-based apps. It’s yet another application of RFID that began with inventory storage and tracking, and we’re proud to be leaders in RFID technology.

 

Photo © andreydesign/Fotolia

Your Gift from the IRS: The Equipment Purchase Deduction

Your Gift from the IRS: The Equipment Purchase Deduction

As the song says, “It’s that time of year,” time to take advantage of Section 179, the tax rule that allows you to deduct the full purchase price of business equipment, up to $25,000. New equipment put into service before December 31st can be deducted from your business’s gross income under Section 179. It’s that simple. And everything we provide – high density storage systems, RFID systems, materials handling equipment, for example – qualifies for the deduction.

More good news: When you add in depreciation, the total tax reduction is even greater. This calculator shows the savings: http://bit.ly/11RTHn5. Check with your tax professional, then give us a call.

Photo © ninell – Fotolia