Wisconsin Hospital Monitors Fire Extinguishers Electronically

Hospital works with Ansul/Tyco as first healthcare facility to use Mija's en-Gauge technology


MARINETTE, WI and ROCKLAND, MA – JULY 5, 2007 – Mija, Inc. of Rockland, Massachusetts today announced that the Bay Area Medical Center (BAMC) in Marinette, Wisconsin completed a successful pilot program with en.Gauge electronically monitored fire extinguishers. BAMC is the first healthcare facility in the United States to utilize en-Gauge extinguishers; it has ten units scattered throughout public areas on the first floor of the hospital.

Philip Everhart, manager of safety and security at BAMC said of en.Gauge, "The system has been working as designed and has had no problems." He added, "We really like the concept of the technology; it has the potential to save a whole bunch of time." Everhart noted that over the next several years he hopes to install en.Gauge in several new facilities on the campus including a women's health center, OB, emergency and surgical departments that the hospital plans to construct.

en.Gauge enabled fire extinguishers monitor for three important code-required characteristics – presence: is the fire extinguisher in its appropriate location, pressure: is the extinguisher fully pressurized and operational, and obstruction: is there anything blocking access to the fire extinguisher. If the technology finds any of these items to be faulty, it immediately sends a signal to the fire alarm or security panel alerting officials that there is a problem to address.

There was one obstruction alert of the en.Gauge system at BAMC. "Volunteers set up a table in front of an extinguisher blocking access to the device. When the system alerted us to the problem, we were on it like white on rice," said Everhart.

Two national code bodies in the United States – the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the International Codes Council each recognize electronic monitoring of fire extinguishers. Each of these groups allows electronic monitoring in lieu of 30-day physical inspections – potentially saving businesses significant sums of labor hours and money. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) references NFPA 10 in its codes, which allows for electronic monitoring. "The fact that en.Gauge is allowed under OSHA also helped sell us on the technology," said Everhart.

Other benefits of electronic monitoring include the ability to create an electronic "paper trail" for each unit and meet compliance obligations. In addition to the Bay Area Medical Center, several universities, public schools, an international airport and correctional facilities have adopted electronic monitoring of their fire extinguishers.

Ansul, a division of Tyco Fire and Security also located in Marinette, WI arranged for the en.Gauge pilot program at the BAMC. Joe Beranek, [title] stated, "We believe in the benefits of electronic monitoring and are offering en.Gauge to our customers." Beranek added, "The installation at BAMC has been a great success story for us to share."

John McSheffrey, vice president Business Development at Mija, Inc. stated, "With so many rolling pieces of equipment in medical facility halls, it becomes vitally important to make sure that no fire extinguishers are obstructed. With en.Gauge, facility managers can be confident that their fire extinguishers are unobstructed, available and will work in an emergency." McSheffrey added, "en.Gauge offers great peace of mind."

For more information on en-Gauge visit www.mija.com.