Case Study: Emergency Notification

"Alerting Without Disruption"

The Challenge:

When an emergency situation arises, the goal is to quickly advise first-responders and properly instruct non-essential personnel. At many industrial facilities, this ability is inadequate and in many cases no longer compliant with industry standards (OSHA standard 1910.165, NFPA 72 and / or specific local regulations).

In addition, with the heightened awareness for potential terroristic threats, the number of alarm scenarios has increased exponentially.

One of our California-based refinery customers recently experienced such a problem with the additional complexity associated with limiting the level of noise that permeates outside of the refinery and into surrounding residential communities.

Our objective was to engineer for an Emergency Alert system comprised of indoor and outdoor notification, as well as visual indicators in high noise areas (where the ambient noise level is above 85 dBA). In addition, our solution needed to encompass integration into existing local systems for full distribution of alerts via soft messaging (IE: SMTP for email, PBX integration for phone and paging systems, and RF for 2-way radio communications).

The Solution:

I²oT Solutions’ team of experienced engineers performed a detailed facility engineering design supported by a comprehensive sound modeling map of the entire facility using state of the art technology in order to establish key locations to install indoor and outdoor notification speakers and visual strobes. Everything was supported by a robust network topology leveraging both the wired network along with a secondary RF network path. Our proposed installation locations considered key factors for performance output and limited community disruption while providing a reliable network. All this was supported by a cost-effective deployment strategy to minimize overall construction costs.

The Obstacles:

As with any deployment there are always challenges and considerations to be made, which included;

·       Engineering a solution to reach all essential and non-essential onsite personnel without substantially disrupting the surrounding neighborhood.

o   How to “meet compliance with no near-facility residential disruption”

·       Locating optimal placement of speakers and supporting network components in non-hazardous locations with the ability to effectively communicate messaging out to the hazardous working areas.

·       As always, working safely and collaboratively with other contractors and employees.

What sets us up for success is our extensive experience of working in industrial facilities, knowing the first priority is working safely and collaboratively we also are very familiar with how sound travels on an industrial site and what is most important is ensuring an alert reaches the affected people.

“It is easy to over-engineer a solution with elevated costs. Our goal is to build a cost-effective solution that meets your needs by matching your site infrastructure and landscape with our modeling techniques.”

I²oT Solutions has experience deploying the Emergency Notification solution to various industries ranging from Refineries and chemical plants to Pulp and Paper industries.

The Results:

The engineering was successfully completed with a solution offering which included leveraging the right equipment type and directivity (for indoor and outdoor speaker notification), integration to the soft-messaging (Email, Phone, pager and 2-way speakers) and establishing custom alarm activation sequences by zone. Only in the most critical emergency alerts would a full site siren activation occur. Any other contained emergency situation would advise those within proximity of the affected zone(s) with a secondary message sent to all site personnel via the soft-messaging.

A total of 8 different alarms types were designed with custom messaging logically derived on alarm selection, Zone(s) impacted and personnel instructions (different instruction for zone notification versus soft messaging). All alarms activated via a simple-to-use, centralized, custom built console dashboard as well as strategically placed, pre-programmed pushbuttons for local zone activation.

This facility has selected our engineering design and we are currently in the process of deploying the solution.

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