Fire inspection program here -- Business Briefing

Many island commercial buildings will get a visit from the fire inspector this summer, in a new safety program under way by the Bainbridge Island Fire Department.

The goal is to educate building owners and tenants about potential fire hazards, and ensure the safety of building occupants should a blaze break out.

“Part of what the taxpayers are paying for should include prevention,” said Cindy Klugiewicz, a former firefighter and Mason County fire inspector who will carry out the program under contract with the Bainbridge department.

Klugiewicz will go door to door in commercial areas, inspecting premises for such problems as blocked doors, inadequate signage, electrical violations, rubbish and combustibles near buildings, and other potential hazards.

Building owners and tenants will receive information on how to correct any deficiencies found.

Structures targeted for inspection include commercial and retail buildings, nursing and assisted-living centers, multi-family residences, light industrial buildings and churches. Single-family homes and duplexes will not be inspected.

“Due to the budget and time limitations, I’ll be surprised if we make through the whole island this year,” Klugiewicz said. “The first year tends to take a little bit longer because of the higher number of violations, and introducing the program.”

Inspections will be free.

“Our goal is to be very business-friendly and work with people and not against them,” Klugiewicz said, “and to achieve compliance, fire and life safety without causing hardship to the business owner.”

Bainbridge fire officials say they hope to continue the program in the coming years, so that commercial buildings are inspected on a more routine business.

“We have not had a commercial occupancy inspection, not for a long time anyway,” said Luke Carpenter, operations chief.

Carpenter said the inspection program is among the factors that will be considered by the ratings bureau that determines local insurance rates. The new program could mean a better rating and lower premiums in the future.

– Douglas Crist

More kudos for Mercury

Mercury Online Solutions, Inc. a worldwide provider of digital signage solutions, received Sound and Video Contractor’s Pick Hit Award at InfoComm 2004 for its FRED Network Edition software.

The Pick Hit award is given to companies exhibiting a product that displays advanced, interesting and useful technology, and that has an AV technology application. Mercury Online Solutions was one of 19 companies to receive the award.

“The Pick Hits are all about products that help push the envelope a bit in terms of technology while exhibiting immediate practicality in the systems integration industry,” said Mark Johnson, editor of Sound and Video Contractor. “Some of the products may be more sophisticated in the application of technology while others are just downright useful.”

FRED NE is a web-based tool for managing digital media for dynamic digital signage applications across multiple locations and screens.

The software enables users to turn digital media files, including Flash, PowerPoint, QuickTime, MPEG video, as well as any web-based URL information, into an effective digital signage content.

FRED NE debuted at InfoComm this year and will begin shipping in July.

“The Pick Hit award is a significant validation of FRED NE software from an established and respected publication in the AV industry,” said John Kirkpatrick, director of channel partners for Mercury Online Solutions. “An increasing number of companies across various industries are realizing the benefits of digital signage, and the award is symbolic of the strong interest and demand for the products.”

Projected annual growth rates for digital signage technology deployment range from 14 to 47 percent (depending on the application) over the next five years according to a recently released study by Weinstock Media Analysis.

Judges for the award consisted of anonymous regular attendees, consultants and integrators. All products making their InfoComm debut, and that will be able to ship in 2004, were eligible for the award.

Schmidt’s off to Ericksen

Schmidt’s Home Appliance, a long-time fixture on Winslow Way, is moving to Ericksen Avenue, the Bainbridge Island Chamber of Commerce reported.

The business will move to the former site of Port Townsend Paper at 750 Ericksen Avenue, and owners will purchase that building. The move will give the business much more parking, owner Joyce Anderson said.

The business hopes to complete the move by Aug. 1, and have a grand opening this fall.

Taking Schmidt’s place in the Winslow Way building owned by Earl Miller will be Murat and Lisa Tasdemir, owners of Tasdemir Rugs on Madison Avenue and Lilies on Winslow Way. They plan to open a new carpeting business there, the Chamber reported.

Chow down with Bob Linz

Longtime island business consultant Bob Linz is the featured speaker at the upcoming Bainbridge Island Professionals Breakfast.

Linz will discuss “How To Set Rates For Independent Businesses and Consultants” at the breakfast slated for 7 a.m. July 8 at Wing Point Golf and Country Club.

A no-host breakfast will be served. Cost $10. To register, call the Bainbridge Island Chamber of Commerce at 842-3700.

Two soirees for Chamber

The Bainbridge Island Chamber of Commerce will hold its monthly membership luncheon at 11:30 a.m. July 22 at Casa Rojas.

Bill Moskin, island resident and nationally known speaker, will discuss cultural tourism and what it means for Bainbridge Island.

Chamber members will also gather from 5:30-7 p.m. July 29 in the Sterling Building parking area, for the annual After Hours Barbecue.

This year’s event is hosted by CFA Mortgage, John L. Scott and Sterling Savings Bank.

Information: 842-3700.

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