boy scouts

Be Prepared: Safety & Security Reminders for Your HVAC Team

April 20, 2018
Peace of mind can be earned with calm and consistent preparation for everyday emergencies.

Since 1910, the Boy Scout Motto, “Be Prepared,” has been committed to the memory of more than 100 million scouters. This wise advice holds true today in personal and business matters. Let’s take a look at a few things you can do to Be More Prepared for everyday events that may come your way. When those moments come, the time for preparation is past.

We’ve all heard about ‘preppers.’ It seems these folks worry about and prepare for what might happen at any moment. Good for them. I hope you have a few of them as close friends, just in case.  However, peace of mind can be earned with calm and consistent preparation for everyday emergencies that may appear in the normal course of daily work.

Think about your customers: many NCI contractors offer them low-level carbon monoxide (CO) monitors. Customers pay for the installation of these devices as they become aware of a CO poisoning risk. These monitors sound early to allow occupants time to act and avoid potential harm. Monitors provide CO poisoning prevention, a higher level of security, and peace of mind. Your company and employees should have the same.

Unless you live in the boonies, there’s little doubt you hear a fire, police, or ambulance siren almost daily.  If you think about it, each of these alarms are a response to less than 1 in 10 emergencies that people in your area are experiencing at that moment. Their time for preparation is past.

Unanticipated emergencies happen all around us.

Expect the Best, Plan for the Worst
Not all unexpected emergencies are catastrophes. Some emergencies can be prepared for on a companywide basis, others require personal preparation. Act before the surprise arrives so you have ample time to make good decisions, seek advice, and complete preparation when you’re not under pressure. Here are some ideas of how you can prepare:

Can you watch anything on TV lately without being interrupted by an insurance advertisement about an uninformed person who is angry because he or she failed to read their insurance policy? Don’t be that person. By investing a few hours to think ahead and prepare before buying pays big dividends. 

For example, most HVAC companies have had tools and test instruments stolen. By taking the time to photograph and record the model and serial numbers each time a tool is purchased, you greatly decrease the time and effort it takes to be paid by your insurance company and begin earning income on new tools as soon as possible.

The purpose of insurance is to prepare for emergencies in advance.

The solution: Buy insurance with the intent of having to use it.  When buying a new policy, prepare well so that making a claim will not disrupt your company when an emergency arises. This builds the confidence and security felt by others in the company.

Emergency Phone Numbers
An emergency phone call comes into the office that a member of your team had a traffic accident. Suddenly you realize you don’t have the mobile phone numbers of the spouse or family. Imagine dealing with the hospital, knowing you have no way to contact family or other parties needed by the injured person.

The solution: Prepare a document containing the names, home address, birthdates, home and mobile phone numbers of each person in your company. Include the names, relationship and contact numbers of their emergency contact. Keep it confidential, but easily available.  

Cyber Security
An increasing threat to companies dependent on computers and data (isn’t that everyone?) is preventing damage caused by a cyber-attack. Cyber-attacks can cause either minimal or extreme disruption to your business.

This threat can be random or focused against your computer or your company. Greater than one third of cyber-attacks come from your fellow teammates who may have become malicious toward you or the company. A quarter of these breaches are caused by staff being careless, leaving your network vulnerable to attack. Remember the loss of Target Store’s account numbers was accessed through their HVAC controls system.

The solution: Begin to create, provide training on, and enforcing policies to protect you and your company from cyber-attacks. Research, then purchase antivirus software matching the risk level  to your company. Many companies can now add cyber liability insurance to their business policy. Finally, if the risk is adequate, engage a cyber-security consultant to help you assess your risks.  

Computer and Mobile Phone Connections
Each of your businesses are increasingly dependent on constant connection to the Internet and mobile phones. A stunning reality sets in when you consider how long could you could function without them. Once again, it may pay to investigate and address this issue in advance.

The solution: Contact your mobile phone provider to help you prepare a course of action in the event of temporary signal loss. Texting may still be available when phone service is interrupted. Several providers are creating and beginning to offer mesh networks that reportedly provide mobile phone service when traditional providers are interrupted.

There are dozens of every day threats that you can prepare for in your career or personally. Hopefully this article will cause you to take a look around and think again of where you or your company might be most vulnerable.

Be Prepared.

About the Author

Rob 'Doc' Falke | President

Rob “Doc” Falke serves the industry as president of National Comfort Institute an HVAC-based training company and membership organization. If you're an HVAC contractor or technician  interested in a building pressure measurement procedure, contact Doc at [email protected]  or call him at 800-633-7058. Go to NCI’s website at for free information, articles and downloads.