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  • Panic Alarms

    One of our hospitals has inquired about panic alarms for their in-house pharmacy. I suggested that they use a system with wireless transmitters. They think it's a great idea, and asked me to recommend a system. Does anyone here have experience with these, and know of a reliable system?
    "Striking terrific terror in the hearts of criminals everywhere" Since 1977.

  • #2
    Originally posted by Badge714 View Post
    One of our hospitals has inquired about panic alarms for their in-house pharmacy. I suggested that they use a system with wireless transmitters. They think it's a great idea, and asked me to recommend a system. Does anyone here have experience with these, and know of a reliable system?
    714 one of the first things you need to do is have a reputable company conduct an indepth propagation study to be assured a wireless system will in fact work and the proper placement of duress devices. No sense of having someone press the device and nothing happen.
    After you have a study in hand then you can contact companies and get bids for a turnkey installation.
    If the hospital makes any changes to their physical configuration or adds new electronic equipment or installs additional radiation shielding, the installed system may not function properly or only functions in the dead of night.
    Might I suggest you contact Lennart E. Long Director of Technical Operations Applied Research Associates, Inc.(617) 923-2678 [email protected]
    I had two projects blow up in my face because these studies were not conducted when the installation contractor assured me they were.
    Enjoy the day,
    Bill

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    • #3
      I did some work for a retail pharmacy chain who looked long and hard at panic alarms, but decided to forego them due to reliability and false alarm rates. This may be OK for a hospital setting, but I rarely recommend them for retail.
      Retail Security Consultant / Expert Witness
      Co-Author - Effective Security Management 6th Edition

      Contributor to Retail Crime, Security and Loss Prevention: An Encyclopedic Reference

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Curtis Baillie View Post
        I did some work for a retail pharmacy chain who looked long and hard at panic alarms, but decided to forego them due to reliability and false alarm rates. This may be OK for a hospital setting, but I rarely recommend them for retail.
        Curt, can you just imagine the interference problems presented by all the electronic equipment in a hospital environment. Hopefully your advice will not fall upon deaf ears. Here again sensitivity, criticality and vulnerability come front and center.
        I believe 714 is better off in the installation of hard wired duress devices. It might sound trite, but they should think hard about ferrous metal piping and ensuring the runs are separated from high voltage transmission lines.
        Enjoy the day,
        Bill

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        • #5
          I completely agree with Curtis and Bill. A hospital environment is very condusive to wireless signal propagation and interference. I have heard many stories of wireless alarm devices not working properly in that environment. The repercussions of someone falsely thinking help is on the way during a life threatening situation could be catastrophic and open someone up to liable. As Bill said wired devices would be the way to go.

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          • #6
            They wont let you use a cell phone in a hospital anymore, claiming that it interferes with the equipment.
            Retail Security Consultant / Expert Witness
            Co-Author - Effective Security Management 6th Edition

            Contributor to Retail Crime, Security and Loss Prevention: An Encyclopedic Reference

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Curtis Baillie View Post
              They wont let you use a cell phone in a hospital anymore, claiming that it interferes with the equipment.
              Yea, and my $99 phone can also mess up the million dollar avionics on a plane too.

              But I hope they never let people use their phones on planes. Can you imagine 50 people on phones in that small of a space?

              Funny how they worry about our phones, but as Bill pointed out, the amount of rf and emf from the medical equipment is often huge.
              Last edited by integrator97; 01-12-2008, 01:21 PM.
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              Making everything else look simple, since 1958.


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              • #8
                Originally posted by Curtis Baillie View Post
                They wont let you use a cell phone in a hospital anymore, claiming that it interferes with the equipment.
                Actually most hospitals are getting away from that policy. When we got rid of our policy restricting cell phone use, we were told by the hospital lawyers that because so many hospital employees were issued cell phones for use how could we tell other people they were unsafe.

                We did still restrict their use in ICU/NICU
                SecurityProfessional is Back up and running!

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                • #9
                  Go Hardwired

                  Please do yourself a favor and use a wired panic button such as an Ademco 269 (link below). That way you have no worries about when the battery was changed, interference etc. I will never spec a wireless solution unless someone needs to wear a panic device and even then I spec with many caveats!!

                  http://www.security.honeywell.com/hs.../ho/21638.html

                  John
                  "People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf." G. Orwell

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by john_harrington View Post
                    Please do yourself a favor and use a wired panic button such as an Ademco 269 (link below). That way you have no worries about when the battery was changed, interference etc. I will never spec a wireless solution unless someone needs to wear a panic device and even then I spec with many caveats!!

                    http://www.security.honeywell.com/hs.../ho/21638.html

                    John
                    Excellent points John. I've been in buildings where officers could see each other but not communicate with each other. When judges wanted to carry wireless devices on their persons, we jumped through our hats. Leaky coaxial, helmets, floor repeaters and a lot of prayer went into those projects. John as you can well imagine what a Hertz antenna can do to a signal or unbonded or ungrounded metal fixtures confuse and befuddle security screening devices. We have found through much trial and error in the DOD arena what can happen when DC low voltage signal conductors are placed in the same tray with high voltage AC conductors. Worse yet is not encasing those low voltage conductors in hard walled ferrous metal conduit properly ground/bonded. When moving to the US Marshals Service, we tried to remember those awful lessons learned.
                    Enjoy the day,
                    Bill

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by john_harrington View Post
                      Please do yourself a favor and use a wired panic button such as an Ademco 269 (link below). That way you have no worries about when the battery was changed, interference etc. I will never spec a wireless solution unless someone needs to wear a panic device and even then I spec with many caveats!!

                      http://www.security.honeywell.com/hs.../ho/21638.html

                      John
                      I prefer a panic button that is momentary, not a latching as this one is. Something like the HUB-2SA on this page: http://www.unitedsecurity.com/pages/holdup.html. I cannot count the number of times I have done service and found the latching panic button tripped, even in banks. The problem is that these are almost always silent, and don't show on the keypad, so there is no reminder to reset them.

                      Way back when alarm panels had a limited number of zones, or just a single alarm BA circuit, these were used to determine who set off the alarm. "I didn't push it. Well yours is tripped". Nowadays, with all the zones available, it just doesn't make sense. Put each on it's own zone. Some day it's going to cost a life, if it hasn't already.
                      sigpic
                      Rocket Science
                      Making everything else look simple, since 1958.


                      http://my.opera.com/integrator/blog/
                      One Man's Opinion

                      The Future. It isn't what it used to be.

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                      • #12
                        On the radio units I purchased for my security team during the Y2K BS, we had trunk call radios with mercury switches and there was a duress (panic) button about 1 inch long for activating a piezo siren which could be set to run for 1 minute to continuous at 120db which is bloody annoying.

                        1 pharmacy client had me examine their early morning security and we agreed that a panic alarm was mandatory and for now I installed those personal 9 volt units with a manual button or key chain. Day 1, the sales manager was opening up when a known methadone user came in right behind and began to lose it. She pulled the pin and it screamed sending him to leave the building as she locked the door. Eventually a wired system was installed with portable duress units on fobs (break off necklaces) that were effective but then again there is nothing like having 2 people around is there ?
                        "Keep your friends close and your enemies even closer" Sun Tzu

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by integrator97 View Post
                          Way back when alarm panels had a limited number of zones, or just a single alarm BA circuit, these were used to determine who set off the alarm. "I didn't push it. Well yours is tripped". Nowadays, with all the zones available, it just doesn't make sense. Put each on it's own zone. Some day it's going to cost a life, if it hasn't already.
                          When dinosaurs roamed the earth?

                          My dad used to tell me stories of single-zone panels he installed when he was my age. Makes me glad I was born when I was. Single zone panels, foil, and burning your own chips? Wow.

                          Oh, and I agree that wireless is prone to failure and only good for short range use.
                          Last edited by CameraMan; 01-15-2008, 01:07 PM. Reason: Added the last line to seem as though I had something to add to the conversation that hasn't already been said.
                          The CCTV Blog.

                          "Expert" is something like "leader". It's not a title that you can ever claim for yourself no matter what you might know or might have done. It's a title that others bestow on you based on their assessment of what you know and what you have done.

                          -SecTrainer

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by CameraMan View Post
                            When dinosaurs roamed the earth?

                            My dad used to tell me stories of single-zone panels he installed when he was my age. Makes me glad I was born when I was. Single zone panels, foil, and burning your own chips? Wow.

                            Oh, and I agree that wireless is prone to failure and only good for short range use.
                            You didn't have to edit and add that last line CameraMan. Some of the posts that make me smile or chuckle the most are like yours. I'm not old enough to have installed the dino stuff, but I'm not young enough to have avoided working on it.
                            sigpic
                            Rocket Science
                            Making everything else look simple, since 1958.


                            http://my.opera.com/integrator/blog/
                            One Man's Opinion

                            The Future. It isn't what it used to be.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by integrator97 View Post
                              You didn't have to edit and add that last line CameraMan. Some of the posts that make me smile or chuckle the most are like yours. I'm not old enough to have installed the dino stuff, but I'm not young enough to have avoided working on it.
                              Integrator, you would have indeed enjoyed that era; happily for the most part, it is in the physical security dust bin.
                              Enjoy the day,
                              Bill

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