Making safety a priority with smart tech
As children begin to return to early-years settings in larger numbers post-lockdown, there are a number of safety measures that could be implemented to ensure the health and wellness of staff, children, parents and your wider community, says Matthew Margetts at Smarter Technologies.
The first lockdown and the impact it had on nurseries fired a “warning shot” for management and forced everyone to re-examine safety standards. Now that we are thinking about the end of a third lockdown, anyone behind the curve with the benefits of smart technology should get on board now before more children return and, hopefully, they begin to see something approaching reality to their environment. With the ever-changing variants of the COVID-19 virus, you certainly can’t afford to be lagging behind when it comes to health and safety.
Some schools in the UShave been using smart technologies for a while to measure utility consumption and efficiency, streamline maintenance and enhance general school safety. Now, these technologies are playing a significant role in keeping school buildings healthy and preventing the spread of disease. The same principles can be applied to nursery settings in the UK, of course, so let’s take a look at how smart technology can help you become safer, as well as more energy-efficient and cost-effective.
Thermal detection cameras
Smart camerasplaced at entry points can remove the manual task of temperature testing. These cameras provide medically-accurate, real-time temperatures of individuals in real-time. If a high temperature is detected, the software sends an instant alert to the relevant party. It can also be set to deny access to those with high temperatures or to people not wearing masks.
As the coronavirus continues to affect the world’s population, healthcare providers are on heightened alert for Legionnaires’ disease, another potential cause of pneumonia with similar symptoms. Legionella are potentially deadly bacteria that can infect your water supply and cause an outbreak of Legionnaire’s disease. It’s your setting’s duty of care to prevent Legionella infection by monitoring the risk of the bacteria proliferating.
Particularly if you are reopening and stagnant plumbing and cooling systems are returning to use, additional Legionella cases could rear their ugly head to emergency departments in the coming months. Traces of Legionella were recently found at a Worcestershire school. The school was forced to remain shut while treatment and testing took place.
The Health and Safety Executive advises: “If your building was closed or has reduced occupancy during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, water system stagnation can occur due to lack of use, increasing the risks of Legionnaires’ disease… If the water system is still used regularly, maintain the appropriate measures to prevent legionella growth.”
Typically, managing the risk of Legionella includes running all outlets for two minutes, taking and recording the temperature of the water to ensure that it’s not conducive to Legionella growth. This is a time-consuming process, which is why schools are looking to automated water temperature monitoring systems.This smart system with automated flushing and temperature testing reports and records water temperature data in real time. Instant alerts will notify relevant staff if water temperatures fall within “Legionella-friendly” parameters.
Improving air filtration and ventilation in schools can help mitigate the potential airborne transmission of COVID-19. Strategies include:
- Increasing outdoor air ventilation
- Filtering indoor air
- Using portable air cleaners with HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filters
Smart building technologies such as advanced HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning) controls can help facilities managers promote cleaner air with less hassle. For example, smart HVAC systems use sensors to remotely monitor and control variables such as:
- Indoor air quality
- The level of carbon dioxide and other pollutants
This technology is also energy-efficient and cost-effective.
These solutions will help in the era of COVID-19, but they also bring long-term benefits. Although COVID-19 may have accelerated the adoption of smart technology, many of these solutions are focused on health, wellness and security in general; which has been needed in early-years settings systems for a long time.
About the author
Matthew Margetts is Director of Sales and Marketing at Smarter Technologies. His background includes working for blue-chip companies such as AppNexus, AOL/ Verizon, and Microsoft in the UK, Far East and Australia.
About Smarter Technologies
Smarter Technologies provides smart building solutions for modern businesses, offering wire-free, battery-powered and low-cost IoT smart sensor technology. Its solutions aim to put an end to scheduled maintenance and help businesses utilise their building’s efficiency, benefitting from real-time alerts and facilities management tools that will bring them into the 21st century.
Views expressed in our articles do not necessarily reflect the views of Morton Michel.