John Engeler is the Executive Manager (Asset and Property Services) at SummitCare. Here, he talks about fire safety in aged care and working with Form1 since 2012.
Q: Hi John, can you tell us a bit about SummitCare and what you do?
We provide residential and home care for the aged in NSW, principally in Sydney and one facility in the Hunter Valley. We are opening a new facility in Baulkham Hills (in 2017) which will take us to over 1000 beds.
Q: Can you tell us how you first came across Form1?
Fire safety in aged care is essential. Steve Shirlaw (CEO, Form1 Group) had well and truly established himself at SummitCare prior to me joining the business. It’s critically important for me to have a good connection with our Fire Safety and Emergency team. I met Steve in my first few days on the job and we’ve always worked very closely together. I started just after the Quakers Hill fire and eight out of our nine facilities had to have sprinklers installed so Form1’s role has evolved and really grown in the last five years (because of sprinklers). Form1 has always been very well regarded at SummitCare. When they joined us they picked up a major flaw that had been missed by another provider and because of that they are always spoken very highly of.
Q: Tell us about the type of work Form1 carries out for you.
All our fire safety compliances, required by various levels of government, general fire prevention and equipment maintenance, is all looked after by Form1.
Form1 is innovative, proactive and always on the front foot. – John Engeler, Executive Manager (Asset and Property Services), SummitCare
Q: Can you talk us through one specific job they’ve done that’s impressed you?
One specific fire safety project Form1 has really helped us with is changing over from conventional to addressable detectors. Conventional detectors will set off an alarm in a whole area, so you don’t know which particular alarm has been triggered, and a whole zone goes out. With addressable detectors you can see it from the fire panel and put it down to one particular fire detector. It might be faulty or have a bit of moisture on it, so it’s a lot more specific and saves a lot of time.
Q: What’s the best thing about working with Form1?
Steve is innovative, proactive and always on the front foot. He doesn’t wait for us to call him with a problem or wait for quarterly meetings – he has a proactive client relationship. It’s a sophisticated, partnering relationship. One time Steve was at a fire conference in the UK and as soon as he got back he rang me and said, “John, there’s a new product coming out that would be good for your centre at St Mary’s, because….’ Being with Form1 means I don’t need to worry. I can focus instead on the core business of looking after the elderly without having to worry about the fire compliance – Steve does all of that for me. He provides peace of mind.
Q: Would you recommend From1 to others?
Absolutely. The clearest way to put it is that they’re proven, reliable and they’ve got your back.
Q: Why has Form1 been a good fit for your business and your industry?
Form1 really understands the vulnerability of our clientele and residents. Not everyone who supplies to us understands the people they’re around, for instance some may have dementia and you have to have a particular mindset to understand that. They also know our operating constraints, which are 24 hours, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Our business doesn’t stop conveniently at 5pm on a Friday. I also appreciate their responsiveness. I know I can contact Steve, by phone or email, and he’ll get back to me straight away, no matter where he is in the country, or even the world.
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