RPA provides fire and emergency management consultation, services and technology solutions to over 1,300 healthcare facilities, representing more than 3,000 locations, throughout North America. Since our establishment in 1976, we’ve serviced only healthcare facilities. This concentrated focus, our hands-on investigation of local and regional incidents, leadership roles in professional associations and committees, and continuous industry research ensures the highest level of preparedness for our clients in the event they have to keep their patients safe during an emergency.
Our governing philosophy is that all of the components of internal emergency operations procedures, code compliance strategies, fire safety procedures and regional Healthcare Mutual Aid Plans are linked. To properly support the healthcare industry, one needs to be acutely aware of how each of these programs interconnects. RPA’s knowledge of the unique patient population in a healthcare facility, the delivery of realistic training to healthcare personnel for appropriate staff actions during fires and other disasters, and the development of local and regional emergency response procedures for incidents are the cornerstones of our effectiveness. A focus on life safety and a commitment to innovative technology and education enable us to meet the specific needs of the healthcare environment today and stay at the forefront of the industry in the years to come.
Our staff holds important seats on Codes & Standards Committees and Advisory Groups.
Through this involvement, our field experience and research influences future regulations, codes and standards. It also empowers us with first-hand insights into the intentions of the current and potential future changes. We usually know where the codes, standards and regulations are heading long before they become industry requirements. This gives us a deeper knowledge to help our clients make the most prudent decisions possible.
We develop industry-wide Best Practice Guidelines by conducting first-hand research at local and regional events that have led to the loss of lives and property in healthcare fires and natural disasters.
By reviewing these fires and disasters, we play a critical part in raising the bar for the implementation of “best practices” throughout the industry. Whether we are studying preparatory actions and training for a natural disaster or a response system in a catastrophic fire, our investment in research gives us the vantage point to better advise our clients and to work with them to implement internal strategies to prevent a loss.
Our practice isn’t based on generalized, theoretical applications—it’s rooted in practical, field-tested and refined application exclusively for healthcare facilities.
Since 1976, we’ve been cultivating a thorough understanding of the patient/resident population, staffing patterns, unique acuity, building design & construction and hundreds of other conditions to support patient care. The difference is clear in the level of preparedness of every member of our client’s staff. Because we have the industry depth to be location specific, staff trained by RPA display the flexibility and insights to be effective in an emergency situation. Their perspectives aren’t checklist-based, but rather, mindset-based. The difference between these two perspectives is measured by the potential to preserve life and property.
In 1975, Russ Phillips was completing the design of a nursing home smoke detection system. He asked the Director of Nursing, “What would you do if the smoke detectors go off, indicating a fire in your nursing home?” The puzzled look on the director’s face told Russ all he needed to know. He immediately designed a fire plan for the facility and trained staff to implement it. With that one question, Russ set into motion what would become a cornerstone of our company: reinforcing the connection is the key to preparedness.
Soon after, Russ reviewed hospital and nursing home fires and disasters in the United States and Canada. It was during these reviews that he found the primary reasons for the loss of life during a healthcare fire, namely—the fire procedure did not “fit” the facility; staff training failed to address the essentials of the fire procedures; and staff was not trained under conditions similar to a real fire emergency.
Russ saw these as unacceptable life-threatening gaps in preparedness, and on October 12, 1976, he formed Russell Phillips & Associates with a commitment to address these risks. RPA began by providing training for suppressing clothing fires and conducting smoke simulation drills. After Russ observed that the staff excelled at understanding the basic procedures, but panicked in real fire and smoke situations, he bolstered RPA’s services with hands-on training. Today, RPA serves over 1,300 healthcare facilities and trains more than 200,000 healthcare workers annually, each facility with specific needs, rapidly advancing technology, and diverse patient populations.
Russ brought on Dave Hood and Scott Aronson as Partners in 2002. After being an industry trailblazer for his entire career, Russ retired in 2013. He will remain a mentor to the RPA team to support the firm’s mission and progressive work in the industry.
American Society for Health Care Engineering (ASHE) 2020 PDC Webinar Series
June 11, 2020