By nancy

5 Reasons Why You Need a Preventative Maintenance Agreement for Your Fire & Life Safety Systems



You rely on your fire and life safety systems to protect your people, property and business, therefore regular maintenance is essential for keeping these systems running smoothly and guarantee safety.   If you’re wondering whether a preventive maintenance agreement is worth the investment, consider the following benefits

  1. Predictable and Lower Costs Over the Life of the Contract

When you are managing a budget, it’s critical to understand expenses up front.  No one likes surprises – especially unexpected maintenance costs. When you enter into a preventative maintenance agreement, the majority of your expenses are determined in advance. While the thought of signing an agreement with a service may not seem necessary to many businesses, in fact it can save money over the life of the agreement.  Without a maintenance agreement in place, businesses will need to deal with that frantic day when the system goes down and will likely pay overtime/premium labor rates, rush charges on equipment or emergency rates versus the lower rates provided in a maintenance agreement.  Service companies typically offer discounted rates as part of their preventative maintenance agreement.

  1. Minimizing costly downtime

With the regular testing and inspections that are included in a preventative maintenance agreement, potential problems can be identified in advance.  These issues can then be resolved based on a schedule that makes sense for the business rather than dealing with costly downtime if an emergency occurs.  With a maintenance agreement for your fire & life safety systems in place, the financial downtime impact can be minimized.

3.Reduced Stress

Emergency service calls are stressful and expensive.  You will typically pay premium rates that include minimum charges that in many cases may be more expensive than the repair itself. Your emergency could potentially require that a technician work on the repairs at night or on the weekend during premium labor wages and rates.   With a preventative maintenance agreement in place, this extra stress can be avoided.

  1. Increased longevity for your systems

Routine maintenance on your equipment can increase the longevity of your fire and life safety systems. A technician can identify simple repair issues before they become a serious and potentially life threating. With regular maintenance it’s less likely that your fire & life safety systems will experience unexpected failures. With a preventative maintenance agreement in place you can be confident that your systems will continue to perform as designed optimizing their performance.

  1. Priority Service

Most preventative maintenance agreements are contractually binding to a service respond time. Due to this, companies will service their customers that are covered by a preventative maintenance agreement ahead of other customers. In the fire and life safety industry most emergency calls take precedence over all non-emergency/scheduled calls. For those scheduled non-emergency calls, service providers’ bind to a maintenance agreement will schedule a service request for customers under an agreement before non-preventative maintenance customers.

To learn more about maintenance service agreements available from VFS, contact us today!

By nancy

6th Annual Customer Service & Safety Day at VFS!

VFS held its annual Customer Service and Safety Day in March. The event is held each year and involves all 130+ VFS employees. The VFS team spends the day learning about customer service, safety and team building.

This year’s events focused on five areas:

  • Road Safety
  • Orange Police Department Active Shooter Training
  • General Safety Training
  • Customer Service Training
  • Team Building exercises

The VFS safety program has a superior record of success in every way it can be measured. We recognize that the work we do can be extremely dangerous and our goal is to make the safety of our employees and clients a top priority. Along with our annual safety event, VFS conducts weekly and monthly safety meetings along with weekly surprise on-site safety inspections.  In addition, EVERY company employee from field to office is required to participate in monthly Safety Toolbox Topics.

When it comes to safety, VFS has one of the lowest Experience Modification Rates in the fire & life safety industry. The reason for that is because we take safety very seriously.  The Experience Modification Rate (EMR) has a strong impact on businesses. It is a number used by insurance companies to gauge both past cost of injuries and future chances of risk. An EMR of 1.0 is considered the industry average.

VFS Experience Modification Rate:

2016:                                   0.63

2015:                                   0.76

2014:                                   0.92

2013:                                   0.98

VFS is proud of our safety record and will continue to make safety a priority for our team and our clients. 

By nancy

VFS Provides NFPA Required Generator Testing

One of the requirements of NFPA is the regular testing of emergency generators.  This testing helps to ensure that generator powered backup lighting will operate as expected and that proper signage will be in place to illuminate egress paths if backup lighting should fail.  There are two types of tests that must be performed:

  • It is required that a monthly test be performed on Level 1 and Level 2 generators. A Level 1 generator is one whose failure could result in death or serious injury. A level 2 generator is one whose failure would not result in life-threatening injury. During testing, a generator should operate under available load for a minimum of thirty minutes.
  • If a generator fails the monthly test, it should be operated under a load supplied by a load bank (i.e. load bank testing) for two continuous hours each year.

Monthly and annual generator tests are important measures for preparing generators for power outages, but they should not be the only measures. It is also important for building owners to make sure that their generators receive scheduled maintenance, annual infrared scanning, and modernization and retrofitting, as necessary. Testing is designed to test a generator’s efficiency, but maintaining or improving that efficiency requires a diverse approach that includes the measures above.

VFS is pleased to announce that we can provide this service for our building owner clients.  We offer both the monthly testing and the annual testing as required by NFPA.  If you are a building owner, contact VFS today to learn more about out services and how we can help you to stay in compliance.


By nancy

VFS Embraces Mesh Alarm Transmission as Telephone Landlines Disappear

Due to technological advances, changes in consumer preferences and market forces, both Plain Old Telephone Service (POTS) and Public Switch Telephone Service (PTSN) are on the road to becoming obsolete.  So why is this happening and what does it mean to a business for their fire alarm monitoring?

There are several main reasons that landlines are disappearing:

  1. Large landline companies don’t want to maintain expensive copper networks. This old infrastructure served its purpose but has quickly become outdated.
  2. For businesses, landlines are expensive. The newer IP phone systems offer a wider range of phone options (including conferencing, long distance and international calling) at a much lower cost.
  3. Internet Protocol telephone systems offer increased flexibility. Setup is inexpensive and offices do not have to be hard wired.
  4. Internet Protocol systems also offer lower overall costs for day to day usage.

So now that we know that traditional landline phone systems are going away, what does this mean for fire alarm monitoring systems that have traditionally relied on this technology?   The answer is Mesh Radio.  This type of communication network is made up of radio nodes organized in a mesh topology. Wireless mesh networks often consist of mesh clients, mesh routers and gateways. The mesh clients are often laptops, cell phones and other wireless devices while the mesh routers forward traffic to and from the gateways which may, but need not, be connected to the Internet. A mesh network is reliable and offers redundancy.  When one node can no longer operate, the rest of the nodes can still communicate with each other, directly or through one or more intermediate nodes.

With all these changes, VFS has implemented LiNCnet monitoring that uses mesh radio for reliable, fast and secure delivery of critical event signals.  We know that your alarm system is only as reliable as its ability to transmit signals to the central monitoring station.  Because traditional phone systems are disappearing, VFS is using mesh technology to offer high reliability and significantly faster signal transmission speed which gives you quickest response time.  Mesh Technology provides:

  • High reliability
  • Fast transmission speed
  • NFPA complaint and UL listed solutions
  • Multiple Path Smart Routing
  • Easy installation and maintenance

Contact VFS today and protect your people, property, and business with our secure wireless alarm communication network dedicated to alarm monitoring.

By nancy

VFS Supports Santa Cop Program

The employees of VFS Fire & Security Services have made a big commitment to a local program that provides toys to low income families during the holidays to help them celebrate the holiday season.  This program was developed 19 years ago by the South Gate Police Department — in partnership with the Police Officers’ Association and Police Explorers.  “Our officers donate their time and money every year to this program as it is a special one to our hearts,” stated Officer Christian Perez.  The program started out with helping four families and today helps more than 100 families.

The Santa Cop program is funded entirely through local donations and it is organized and implemented by South Gate Police Officers and their families and community volunteers. Every year the program receives donations from city and police employees as well as the local community.

The South Gate Police Department does a great job of identifying those families that have the greatest need in the community.  Each family must submit an application in order to be accepted by this program.  VFS selected this program because of this application process and because they wanted to help as many families as possible.

The City of South Gate Police Department sent this note to VFS: “We want to send a very special thank you to Mr. Rudy Garcia and VFS Fire & Security Services who generously donated toys for our South Gate Police Department Santa Cop program.  It’s because of businesses like VFS that we are able to reach as many families as we can during this time of year.  Partnerships truly work”

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