{ Life Safety Fringe Benefits }

costing the insurance carrier more than the premiums that are going into it, that premium is going to increase.” In an ideal world, we’d be able to quantify the connection between life safety and insurance rates. Tat math isn’t going to happen, except on a case-by-case basis. Every insurer is different in its approach, just as every property varies slightly from its peers. Still, industry players can say with confidence that better life safety will lower those premiums in the long run.

Smoother Inspections

Let’s be clear about inspectors and regula- tors. Tey have a keen eye on life safety. A good track record can go a long way to taking what might be an onerous process and making it less of a chore. “Inspectors are stretched too thin, and they need to go to where the fires are,”

says Linda Mather, Integral Senior Living VP of resident care. “Tere are not enough inspectors to go around and so they have to prioritize. So if you are a well-run building with no incident reports and no complaints, they will probably go some- where else first.” Sometimes, life safety is a matter

of clarity, and inspectors can help here. “Often if you are reading code or reading regulation you may not clearly understand this or that piece. If you go to them for an explanation, then they have a clear understanding that your intent is to do it correctly. Tey will recognize that,” Bridge- water says.

Tat doesn’t buy you a free pass, but the

clarity itself may help ease the intrusive- ness of an inspection. “Nobody goes easy on you, but the efficiency with which those inspections are done improves. If they ask

for certain policies, now you aren’t fum- bling around to find those policies. Tey are applicable, they are current, you know where to find them,” she says. Moreover, smooth inspections help

build bridges in the long run. “Tere is a level of trust between a community and the state, and that builds up over time,” Hen- derson says. Just as repeated violations may lead to a strained relationship, “having a good relationship with the state, occasioned by the positive surveys, certainly can’t hurt. It gives you a certain credibility with the regulatory body over time.”

Business Building Block

Tere’s a business boon to life safety that may not be immediately obvious. Tanks to advances in technology, systems that once served exclusively a life safety purpose now can be leveraged to further business advantage. At Esco Technologies in Cincinnati,

President and CEO Jerry Grove recog- nizes nurse call systems for what they are: a necessity. Any senior residence worth its salt will be well on its way to implementing this technology, or has done so already. Fine, but since you’re already on board, why not go the extra mile? Grove proposes bundling other forms of

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electronics with this basic life safety mea- sure. Phone, television, Internet—all can piggyback on a call system infrastructure. “We have seen communities that are capital starved, but they still need new technolo- gies,” he says. Phone and cable and Internet get farmed out to third-party providers, but why? “Here’s a built-in revenue stream they are not tapping into.” By cutting out local phone and

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cable, and using life safety as a bridge to becoming their own providers, senior residences also give themselves an edge in the eyes of potential residents. “Most of the sons and daughters of residents want an all-inclusive experience. Tey want mom and dad to have everything they need taken care of by the community,” Grove says. “So there is a real competitive advantage in this as well.”

More Marketing

It’s fair to say that no self-respecting exec strives for life safety excellence merely in


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