Hit the Ground Running
Typically, a fire department knows very little before it answers a call to a building. The incident commander has to go to the alarm panel to determine what section of the building is in alarm. A reconnaissance crew is sent in — essentially blind — and comes back to report, and then the commander works out an attack and rescue plan. Vital time is lost before responders even start fighting the fire.
A live security and fire demonstration conducted at the A. Z. Young office building in downtown Baton Rouge, La., showed the usefulness of a system that provides much-needed timely information to first responders. The Baton Rouge Special Response Team and the Baton Rouge B Shift took part in live emergency response exercises, and attendees viewed the operations in real time from the Baton Rouge Welcome Center using Virtual Command Technology.
NetTalon Inc. demonstrated its police and fire Virtual Command Technology, which provides virtual and visual validation to police and fire departments within seconds of a developing emergency. Time is crucial in a fire or security incident. Using the technology, fire and police responders reach the fire or intrusion emergency with their incident planning and preparation well in progress, thus enabling units to respond immediately on arrival at the scene.
Virtual Command Technology can be significant to the future security of states and cities, as evidenced by two weeks of vigorous testing witnessed by the State of Louisiana and the City of Baton Rouge, including the Chief of Police, the Fire Chief, the Attorney General’s office, the Insurance Commissioner, the State Facilities Department and other local and state officials. “This new system will revolutionize the tactics of first response,” says Baton Rouge Fire Department Chief Ed Smith.
The demonstration showed how the NetTalon’s Virtual Command System gives firefighters and police officers a virtual presence within an affected building. Within seconds of the alert they can understand a developing emergency and react to it. In this new concept of emergency management, a facility equipped with NetTalon sensors is networked directly to police and fire department dispatch and operations centers. Every responding entity receives notification at once, thus eliminating time-consuming rerouting.
Emergency notification reaches the fire or police responders directly, and in seconds, they can view the inside of the building, virtually “looking at” the emergency. The alarm control panel in the building has a database containing all floor plans with icons representing sensors. In an emergency, sensor conditions are updated every second by changing color, from “not in alarm” green to “early warning” orange and “alarm” red. The change of color shows the observer the nature of the developing emergency.
Video is integrated into the system where it is critical to identify an intruder or validate the presence of a victim in a refuge room. The inbound fire apparatus and police cruisers access the same information en route, so they can see the incident and complete preliminary incident planning as they drive to the building. By the time they arrive at the building everyone has an assignment and incident mitigation begins immediately.
Ninety-eight percent of today’s security alarms are false. Today’s police departments know little of the incident prior to arrival on the scene. Police respond to an electronic alarm incident by dispatching an officer to investigate the situation. Only after a discovery of forced entry are units dispatched to an actual incident. Those officers must then enter the building not knowing if perpetrators are present, how many or if they left the area. They are forced to make a room-by-room, floor-by-floor search.
With NetTalon, an incident is verified quickly and responding officers can determine the point of entry, locate and track the intruders using rugged notebook computers and obtain descriptions of perpetrators through video.
During the demonstration in October, attendees observed a security incident that involved a simulated nighttime break-in by an individual that planning an arson action. The Baton Rouge Special Response Team responded to the incident. The units tracked the perpetrator from the cruisers with a tactical backup from police department operations as well as police dispatch. Attendees monitored the tactical radio net during the incident and watched the police make the arrest.
While the perpetrator was in the building, he lit a slow-starting fire and put the building in alarm after the police left the scene with the suspect custody. The building went into fire alarm mode, with B Shift Baton Rouge Fire Department responding to the developing fire.