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Managing Prisons – Advice on Temperature Issues

Saturday, 20 April 2013 19:59:49 Europe/London

It is increasingly clear in the temperature industry that a more rigorous approach to due diligence in temperature monitoring, is required if we are to maintain and prove the safety of residential establishments like prisons

New breed

Gone are the days of old-fashioned building management - the new breed of facilities managers represent a much ‘broader church’. And when you look at the sheer breadth of an average building management contract, it’s not surprising. More often than not, a wide range of activities are now brought together under one umbrella including HVAC, health and safety, food service, water and energy management. Facilities managers must be ‘up to speed’ on a variety of safety legislation and guidance – not to mention the new technologies being developed to satisfy them.

Temperature monitoring is a good example of a crossover activity with potentially dire consequences if you get things wrong. Nobody wants to see an outbreak of serious food poisoning – let alone Legionnaire’s disease - in their prison. Yet in both cases, the correct approach to temperature safety is one of the most effective methods of prevention.

Case Studies

Catering operations are a good example; storing and cooking food at safe temperatures requires an accuracy of +/- 0.5 degrees C. European Safety Regulations mean that as well as making sure this happens, you must be able to prove it. This can be a huge challenge in the busy and demanding environment of a prison, as anyone acquainted with the sheer volume of HACCP records will testify.

In the control of Legionnaire’s disease, incorrect water temperature is a key risk factor for the development of legionella bacteria, so controlling the temperature of water storage and distribution is a crucial first step in the prevention of the disease. Taking into account the sheer number of sinks, taps, showers, water tanks and warm air outlets in any prison building, gives you an idea of the volume of checks required, and the necessity for records which can alert you to problem areas.

Why prisons?

Finally, it is the particular characteristics of prisons themselves, which lead to a demand for safer, more effective temperature monitoring solutions. Not all establishments are modern and up to date, affecting the quality of plant and equipment being used; large prison populations live in close quarters increasing the risk of contagion; and in many cases the prison population may be more vulnerable than most to certain diseases. According to the Health & Safety Executive, those most at risk from Legionnaire’s disease are people over 45, smokers and heavy drinkers, diabetics and people with impaired immune systems.

Good News

In response to these challenges, UK designers, TM Electronics, have now developed a new generation of Bluetooth thermometers. The MM7000 range has the unique capability to record, store and communicate not only time, temperature and date but also reads barcodes to identity any product, appliance or sentinel point. Such equipment is transforming temperature monitoring by reducing time and labour, eliminating human error and providing interactive records which can be compatible with computer systems across the entire prison.

And the good news for prison managers is that this revolutionary concept is not a budget-breaker. From as little as £375 up to 1,000 temperatures can be taken and stored at one time before download to PC or PDA. Free, open-source software is included in such packages, together with a wide range of temperature probes to suit all applications and budgets.

For more information about TM Electronics and its new range of MM7000 Bluetooth thermometers contact:

 +44 (0) 1903 700651


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