Ira Meister’s Fire Safety Tips

.Since childhood, we’ve repeatedly heard tips on fire prevention and what to do if there is a fire

“While most of us have heard these tips, they bear repeating,” says Ira Meister, founder and CEO, Matthew Adam Properties, a leading property management company. “And remember, one of the easiest and most important steps is to check the smoke and carbon detectors in the apartment.”

When clocks are moved each spring and fall, there are announcements that residents should check their detectors, Meister points out.  Unfortunately, many people ignore this.  It is easy and takes less than a minute.  Each detector has a test button that can be pushed to see if the battery is charged.  The city recommends changing the battery every spring and fall.  Detector batteries also give off a shrill sound when they are dying, a sign to replace them. These detectors, by the way, are required for all apartments under city law.  The city also recommends changing smoke detectors every 10 years and carbon monoxide detectors every five to seven years.

In addition to having the detectors in apartments, buildings should place them in the hallway as well as in incinerator rooms and the garage, Meister says.

Ira Meister Keeps His Residents Safe and Secure 

Equipment that should be checked periodically by building staff are the sprinklers and standpipe located in stairwells to make certain that all are working properly.  This can be done by outside contractors.  Yet, Meister believes the best procedure is to have it done by the superintendent, who has been received certification from the city.  Certification requires taking an approximately 25-hour course and passing a written exam.

The benefit of having certified staff is two-fold, Meister says. The inspections should be conducted monthly and doing them in-house is much less costly. Secondly, in the event of a malfunction, personnel are on-hand who are familiar with the system.

Residents, particularly those with children, should develop a fire evacuation plan and also remember to obey Fire Department instructions.  This would include knowing when to leave an apartment, and when to stay, having an escape route to the exits in the event of a heavy smoke, arranging for a meeting point and what to do if it is best to stay in the apartment.   As a quick guideline, Meister says, fire travels up, so if the fire is below, evacuation should be considered.  If the fire is above the apartment, it may be best to stay in the unit.

There is considerable literature available on fire safety from the city and Fire Department.

“It doesn’t take much time to be prepared, and it can save lives,” Meister says.

Reducing Costs with “Green” Lighting

Matthew Adam Properties is implementing a comprehensive lighting program that saves money for the properties it manages as well as helping to protect the environment and improving lighting quality, says Ira Meister, President and CEO.

This is possible through the exponential advances in LED (Light-Emitting Diode) lighting in the past decade.   The impact is seen in many areas of buildings the company manages, from the compactor rooms on each floor to the lobby.

Meister says Matthew Adam Properties coordinates with lighting companies that produce LED products to benefit from cutting-edge technology and the ability to customize the products.

“By taking advantage of the latest in technology as well as using professionals to guide us, we are making a difference,” Meister says.

While the initial cost of LED lighting is greater than for the standard lighting, long-term there are significant savings. LED uses less energy and adapts well with sensor lighting.  Another significant savings, particularly in larger buildings, is maintenance, Meister says. Less staff time is required to change light bulbs as LED lighting lasts many times longer than conventional lighting.

Some areas where Matthew Adam Properties has made improvements are:

Stairwells – Dual-timer systems are now installed in the stairwells of many buildings.  “We’ve replaced the standard lighting with low-intensity, energy-saving lighting that is on full time and supplement this with motion activated full lighting,” Meister says.

            Lobby – In addition to the environmental and cost savings, the new lighting   provides different light tones that accentuate lobbies and give them a more dramatic look.   Motion-sensor lighting is installed in mailroom areas to reduce energy usage.

            Compactor rooms – Motion-sensor lighting has been installed in many of these areas.

The lighting program is part of the company’s conservation program spearheaded by the Sustainability Division headed by Kendra Stensven.  Kendra is LEED certified, making Matthew Adam Properties one of the few, if not the only, management company with a LEED certified person heading a “Green” division.

“The division is part of our overall program to use innovative thinking and a professional approach to provide quality management for the buildings in our portfolio,” Meister says.