Baton Rouge Schools Test First Responder Video Communication System

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The East Baton Rouge Parish School System has implemented a pilot project involving three of its 90 schools in an "intelligent building response" initiative. The city was the site earlier this year of a shooting that claimed three lives on the campus of the Louisiana Technical College. The district effort involves networking the three schools to 911, fire, emergency and police/sheriff substations to give incident commanders and responding units the ability to view a developing security or fire emergency at each school through a mobile, wireless computer system.

The company that built the system, NetTalon, said it expects to expand the security and fire network with the remaining schools in the district.

A statement from the company said that the system requires two components. A city's public safety communications must be IP-compatible, and the police or sheriff and fire departments must have wireless capability to their front line supervisors and if possible to the responding units. Also, there must be alarm technology available that is designed to provide incident data in real-time in a graphic format. That data includes floor plans and IP-enabled video surveillance of the facilities.

A graphic display presenting a developing emergency, such as a fire, shows a set of icons that represent sensors and detectors overlaid on the floor plans of the building together with information such as the location of standpipes. That is integrated with IP video where a touch icon brings up that camera view. Digital temperature sensors show actual temperature, and the icon changes color based on a specific rate of rise. The graphic display database resides in the alarm control panel. The control panel is programmed to report alarm data to all monitoring stations on the network. The data is pushed to the stations, with updates every one to two seconds.

Responding units have software in their mobile data computers that is encrypted and keyed to the control panel. The units connect to the panel for a real-time view en-route. The notebook or tablet PC acts as a mobile command post or tactical platform.

Fire commanders use the system to locate and track the fire, understand its intensity and locate victims. In the event of an intruder, police use the system to locate and track the perpetrator and acquire clothing and subject description.

The experiment has been driven by Baton Rouge's mayor, police chief, fire chief, and sheriff.

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About the author: Dian Schaffhauser is a writer who covers technology and business for a number of publications. Contact her at dian@dischaffhauser.com.

Proposals for articles and tips for news stories, as well as questions and comments about this publication, should be submitted to David Nagel, executive editor, at dnagel@1105media.com.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a writer who covers technology and business for a number of publications. Contact her at dian@dischaffhauser.com.

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