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 This A Great Country Or What?

Is This A Great Country Or What?

Here in America we have a deep appreciation for the men and women who keep our country safe. Funds raised at the recent IFMA Capital Chapter annual golf tournament benefited the Willing Warriors, an organization supporting our wounded warriors in their recuperation. National Office Systems was honored to sponsor the first hole of the tournament, complete with a fund-raising raffle and cigar bar. The lucky raffle winner: Marlene Gardner from FurnitureSpeak. NOS’ own Jon LeSage, a PGA pro in his off hours, provided free putting lessons before the tournament, while Joe Alvarez and Chris Montgomery of NOS teamed up with business partners Carl Couey and Mike Brennan to bring home the tournament trophy. Far more important, however, was the support given to the Willing Warriors. Where else can you join in fellowship with industry colleagues to experience the team-building value of athletics, amid the beauty of a spring day on a world-class golf course, AND raise money to assist our nation’s finest? Is this a great country or what?

Jon the Pro IFMA Tournament 2016

Jon the Pro

The winning team

The winning team

 

 

 

IFMA tournament sponsorship 2016

The NOS sponsored table – cigars & raffle tickets

 

#proudtoservethenationscapital #NOS #IFMA #willingwarriors

 

(Golf and flag photo © tatomm/Fotolia)

What Is The U.S. Army’s “Treasure Room?”

What Is The U.S. Army’s “Treasure Room?”

The Army has a large stockpile of outdated, outmoded weapons stored at Virginia’s Ft. Belvoir – but not because it expects to ever use these old weapons. The firearms, and thousands of other military artifacts, are in a storage facility awaiting the completion of The Center of Military History. (See our October 2014 post about this museum.)

The storage facility, fondly referred to as the Treasure Room, contains some very unusual items in addition to old weapons, and Business Insider lists some of the most exceptional, including:

  • Uniform items belonging to the Buffalo Soldiers, the legendary African American soldiers who served on the American frontier immediately after the Civil War.
  • Enemy flags and propaganda captured in wartime.
  • Paintings created by active-duty soldiers, depicting their interpretations of war and military life.

Business Insider’s story includes a video showing some of the historic artifacts in their current storage racks, with commentary from some of the dedicated historians and artists who work in the facility – an inspiring preview of the collections which will eventually be available for public viewing.

 

Photo © Daniel Thornburg – Fotolia

When Gun Storage Fails

When Gun Storage Fails

No one would dispute the need to store guns safely and account for them properly. Whether the lawful gun owners are private citizens, law enforcement agencies, or the military, their unsecured weapons can fall into the wrong hands and threaten public safety and innocent lives. A case in point – the recent theft of guns from the Army Reserve Center in Worcester, Massachusetts.

Authorities discovered more than 16 weapons, ranging from handguns to M4 rifles, had been stolen during a break-in. An FBI spokesperson stated that there was no evidence of links to terrorist activity, and added that the stolen guns have now been placed on a list of missing weapons maintained by the National Crime Information Center (NCIC). Once stolen weapons enter the black market they are often used in criminal activity.

This incident underscores the need for secure gun storage, especially in settings such as police stations or military installations where there are large arsenals of weapons. Firearms best practices calls for a combination of secure racking storage and a weapons tracking system to inventory and track firearms assets.

 

Photo © Dani Simmonds – Fotolia

Thank You, IRS! The Equipment Purchase Deduction

Thank You, IRS! The Equipment Purchase Deduction

As the end of the year approaches, the IRS has a little holiday gift for businesses looking for last-minute ways to boost their tax deductions. It’s the Section 179 tax rule, which permits the deduction of the full purchase price of business equipment, up to $25,000. As explained by the tax watchers at Section179.org, this deduction can be a significant business stimulus.

New equipment put into service this year by 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, modular furnishings, for example – qualifies for the deduction.

More good news: When you add in depreciation, the total tax reduction is even greater. This calculator from Crest Capital shows the savings. Review your company’s 2015 P&L, check with your tax professional, then give us a call.

Photo © nito – Fotolia

Military Boots Get Marching Orders From RFID

Military Boots Get Marching Orders From RFID

When you’re shipping thousands of pairs of military boots each month, as combat footwear supplier Wellco does, shipping errors can get expensive; to quote a famous senator, “Pretty soon you’re talking about real money!” So when Wellco made the commitment to RFID, they jumped in with both feet.

Each and every pair of boots Wellco makes for the Air Force gets an RFID tag, while cloud-based software tracks the order. RFID scanners identify and verify the contents of shipping cartons, and further down the line, additional RFID tags identify the cartons assembled on pallets, adding another layer of order verification. In this story in “RFID Journal,” Senior Network Administrator David Mason reports greater fulfillment efficiency and a considerable reduction in expensive order errors. Wellco’s ingenious use of RFID has them marching all the way to the bank.