Category Archives: Trends

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Safety Gear for inspection

Fire Inspections during and after a pandemic


Covid-19 has hit our customers in a variety of ways. Policies are changing, sometimes daily. Shut down orders have made inspecting difficult for some, impossible for others. Regardless, it’s safe to say, our inspection world has changed.

Virtual Inspections

The world of virtual meetings has opened up and invited everyone in. You may be experiencing this now or planning on offering it in the future. There are multiple ways your organization can accomplish this type of inspection. For example, virtual meetings and conference calls.

  • Via Zoom or other video conferencing platform. Many virtual meeting platforms offer free video chat sessions to their users. You can connect with someone at the property to be inspected and guide them around. They can navigate through your checklists of items or you can ask them to walk the area with the camera facing outward. BEWARE, we hear this can be nauseating and the ride can be bumpy. Despite this, virtual meetings are gaining popularity.
  • A conference call with photos. Ask the person at the property to be inspected to take photos of areas/items and send them to you. You can still guide them through the inspection and direct them to the items you need to see.

NFPA offered a guidance for remote video inspections (RVI).


Self-inspections are gaining momentum as inspectors struggle to complete the amount of work in the desired amount of time with the staff provided. Some businesses, mostly those with high safety ratings, are given blank inspection forms to complete and electronic avenues in which to submit them with photo evidence. This is a great way to get caught up in the aftermath of a pandemic.

These are just two options we’ve seen being used during this pandemic.

Where do we go from here

With many agencies locking down, some for months, inspections were delayed. Now we need to play catch up. Some are planning on using the techniques listed above and some are planning on incorporating Company Inspections. Company Inspections allow the use of local fire departments to lend a hand during their downtime to help conduct fire and life safety inspections. Add to this influx, many agencies will be returning to a new way of doing business, with new rules you’ll need to account for. Undoubtedly, many agencies will struggle with getting caught up and moving forward. This task is not hopeless.

Set a plan of action, know what has changed, and be prepared. Change your policies (temporarily if need be) to allow the use of new technology to aid in completing your inspections. Reach out to us, ask for advice. Perhaps we’ve heard of something another group is trying and succeeding with. Check and see if we have added any checklists or picklists to assist with the new Covid-19 policies. (See NFPA for their list of resources). 

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Cloud Computing Image

Cloud Computing

Category:Communications,Support,Trends Tags : 

Taking Off – The basics of Cloud Computing

What is the Cloud? The Cloud is a metaphor for the Internet. But, very specific use of the Internet. Cloud computing usually refers to meeting the computing needs of a business, organization, municipality, and governmental entities by way of Internet-based computing.

Internet-based computing is composed of services offered through the Internet. Services like servers, data storage, and applications (software). These services are delivered from the Internet to an organization’s Internet-connected devices.

Utilizing the benefits of the Cloud an I.T. department can remove the burden of equipment purchases, equipment maintenance, data storage, and application maintenance from their workload bypassing the things off to Cloud Computing providers.

A business’s workforce could be completely mobile, relying on the Cloud to provide the applications and their associated data through a simple Internet connection. In a future-thinking way, the meaning of all this to business and government is huge. Think about the IT overhead of a company being drastically reduced or eliminated or the savings we as taxpayers in the USA would realize if most of our Federal and State computing services and data services were Cloud-based.

In this series of articles, I plan to discuss several aspects of Cloud Computing in a succinct manner. I’ll try to keep what I say as understandable as possible with apologies to the non-techy readers who must put up with some unavoidable technical language.

At Codepal we take advantage of many of the services offered through the Cloud. Our Cloud vendor of choice is Microsoft’s Azure. In a future article, I’ll discuss Azure and how Codepal uses it to make your workload easier so you can provide more services and safety to the public.

At the bottom of each article, you will find active links to previous articles and inactive links to upcoming articles. You can use this area as a sort of index to articles about the Cloud.

Future articles will include: Azure Basics, How Codepal Uses the Cloud, Internet of Things, Software as a Service, Platform as a Service and many others – not quite in that order.

I hope this short article has whetted your appetite and you find yourself hungry for more information about the Cloud.

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Man yelling in phone

5 Tips for Dealing with Difficult People

Category:Communications,Trends Tags : 

Whether you are an inspector, code enforcement officer, permitting clerk or administrator, you’ve probably dealt with a difficult person in the workplace. A disgruntled co-worker. An angry community member. A building or business owner. These situations are difficult at best and dangerous at worse. Let’s discuss how to deal with difficult people.

Listen and be alert

The key when dealing with a difficult person is to always be alert, don’t let your guard down. Know the warning signs. Listen for the changes in their voice (volume, tension). Watch for the tell-tale warning signs in their body language. Once you’re able to note when the tensions are rising, you may be able to diffuse the situation quickly without incident. Above all, most people just want to feel like they have been heard. Utilize active listening skills and try to diffuse the situation before it becomes larger.

Check your ego at the door

It is important for you to stay calm. Do not add to the tension by allowing the situation to emotionally charge you. Losing your temper could trigger the difficult person into action. Importantly, check your ego at the door. The majority of the time, the person is not angry with you. Perhaps it is the situation and possibly something else entirely. However, this does not mean you should be a doormat. Be firm, but fair and remain rational.

Show empathy and compassion

Treat the other person with respect, even if they have not earned it. Most of us work in a service providing industry and the way we act reflects not only on us but our employers too. Empathy and compassion go hand in hand. Try to determine the cause of the underlying issue, offer compassion and understanding. There may be a hidden need. Remain clear and focused on finding a resolution.

The truth is, you can’t reason with an unreasonable person.

Barbara Markway Ph.D.
20 Expert Tactics for Dealing with Difficult People

Do not issue demands

Issuing demands in an already volatile situation may not help resolve the issue when dealing with a difficult person. Offer clear solutions and resolutions. Providing options starting with the positive first and then move from there. Carefully detail consequences in a factual manner and verify the person understands. The majority of the time, people will choose the option that best serves their interest.

Anger in an escalated situation will only result in more anger. Keep it in check.

Protect yourself and trust your instincts

What if the issues escalate? When dealing with a person who is irrational, it is wise to keep some space between you for your safety. Going along with the first tip, be alert – trust your instincts. If you feel like the situation is escalating beyond your control, you need to safely remove yourself from the situation and call a higher authority for a resolution. If you are that authority, follow through with the consequences that have been discussed and carefully proceed in the manner in which you were trained.