• Paging in the Event of an Emergency

  • By: Darin Hutson, CTS-D, Technical Solutions Engineer

    Many times, ESCO Communications is requested to install speakers, call stations, cameras, etc. in areas where many of the occupants reside most of the time. That seems like a legitimate plan (and good use of money) – installing where it’s most visible. However, what about during an emergency event?

    Notice above I said, “many occupants” and “most of the time”. During the tragic event that happened at Noblesville Schools on May 25th, 2018, I had a daughter curled up on the floor of a band storage closet. I had a son barricading the classroom door so tightly that the SWAT team could not get in. (I am certain they could have if they brought more force). In addition, I had a wife in a food storage room.

    On that day, even though the historic event happened in the middle school, the threat (or perceived threat) moved to the high school.  The school went to a “code red”, which they have practiced several times.  During the event, my wife and the other kitchen staff were in the storage room, without any communication to comprehend what was going on in the rest of the building.  They could not hear or at least understand any pages. All they could hear was that someone was talking every so often.  The cell phone signal was unreliable.  During that time, any information that those employees received came from whatever could be relayed from the outside sources.  My son that had helped secure the door, had to sit and wait silently in their classroom even longer.  When the SWAT team came to clear the room and release the kids, there were no means to get in without completely terrifying the kids more than they already were.  The first responders had no methods of communications within the local section of the building. When the teacher decided to run to his computer to check to see if there were any messages or instructions, it completely exposed himself to possible danger from the hallway window.  It could have been a very bad choice to surrender his hiding place.

    I recently toured a local manufacturing plant, where at times the area was quiet and the PA would blast incredibly loud, while at other times when the machines were running, the announcements became unintelligible.  This was due to the noise of the machines and lack of microphone training by the announcer.

    What do these stories have to do with paging, intercom, and even life safety? Everyone should fulfill an active role to look around and listen to the environment that you are in.  Even if it’s not in your job description, perform your due diligence by uncovering the possible threat, and report to someone that can investigate further and plan for corrective actions.  Don’t wait until you are in a storage room not knowing what is next or when a tornado removes the roof off the building, to recognize what was said over the PA.

    How ESCO Communications could help, in these scenarios:

    • Install speakers in areas of refuge, (store rooms, restrooms, offices, outside staging areas)
    • Speaker zoning, allow communication to only part of a building that the message applies
    • Weather radio that is targeted to a specific region
    • Mute music, or turn off the equipment in the event of an emergency
    • Ambient noise sensors, or automatic level controls
    • Mobile apps, for notification, as well as check in capabilities
    • Emergency call-in stations
    • Visual displays, message boards, digital signage
    • Emergency tones, followed by a pre-recorded voice message
    • Third party site survey, Clean-Test-Inspect of current equipment, or yearly inspections

    ESCO is here to help – contact us today with any questions you have. We specialize in providing customized solutions dedicated to fit your needs.