More and more employers are stepping up the security and safety policies for the well-being of their staff. Recently we have been asked for some unique emergency alert systems to be added onto existing and new overhead paging systems. They have been predominantly for warehouses and large campuses, but would work in a typical office environment as well. The situations vary from site to site, but one thing holds true. How do you inform employees of a dangerous situation in a quick manner? It started about a year ago when we were asked to design a new paging system to replace the original one that was approx 50 years old. They were expanding to a 3rd building in one square block. The need was to be able to page separate buildings for day to day reasons, but in an emergency be able to page all the buildings at the same time, including the rooftops where building engineers could also be located.
This part is pretty typical however, the challenge was that they wanted the speakers in every conference room to be turned down and off by a volume control in the room itself. Using our knowledge of the Bogen and Viking brands of paging equipment and with their design team help, we came up with a cost effective solution that will last for decades. The emergency page can be reached by anyone by dialing a code from their phone system. It will cover all areas and override any muted speakers in the conference room. To enhance functions even more, we created emergency switches at the main reception desk, which, when switched on, will create either a tornado siren or a fire alarm sound indicating to everyone real time that danger is imminent and they need to take cover immediately.
A few months later we were designing a similar system for another customer and they wanted to take it a little further by adding a third alert for an intruder. However, they wanted to skip the switches and be able to turn it on from any phone by dialing a code for each alarm. They dial the code and the alarm starts going until they dial the code a 2nd time. For this site we even had professionally recorded messages that would play. Eg <tornado siren sound>, then “tornado warning, please take cover,” followed by the same message in Spanish.
Most recently in a food manufacturing facility, they needed all these options but the biggest complaint? Pages were too loud when machines were off, but not loud enough when they were in operation. The solution? A small microphone that listens for the current noise levels and then adjusts the volume in real time!
All of these sites undergo a monthly test of the systems. This ensures that everyone knows how to operate it in case of a real emergency and that the employees know what to do when it happens.
Brad “the phone guy” Carr