We have a great suggestion on a resolution you can stick to AND Esscoe can be your partner who can do all of the work for you. That’s the best kind! Next January, you’ll be feeling pretty good about making this one stick, year in, and year out! A few questions for you:
When was the last time you replaced your commercial access control systems batteries?
Do you know when your security systems batteries are scheduled to be replaced?
Do you have any battery-operated wireless intrusion detectors?
In a power outage, how will credential holders gain access to your access control protected facilities?
Are any of your CCTV, Access Control Servers or other security systems powered by Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) systems in your IT rooms?
If you don’t know the answer to some of these questions, then make a new resolution this year to find out and get a plan in place to ensure that you don’t have a preventable failure of your enterprise security system. Esscoe can help you manage this New Year’s Resolution with a regular preventive maintenance plan for you Access Control, Intrusion and CCTV systems.
Unlike fire alarm systems and battery operated smoke alarms, Access Control and CCTVSystems generally do not provide a supervised way of notifying you that your Door Controllers or Camera Power supplies are operating with a degraded battery until it’s too late, and even if they did, waiting until that time it’s usually too late and a failure may be imminent causing loss of recording, access to your facilities and a lot of unwelcome attention from staff and outside visitors.
Taking a page from the fire alarm industry, it is common knowledge in that industry that fire alarm batteries are to be replaced typically within 4-5 years from date of manufacturing. Regular inspection, testing, and maintenance (ITM) that needs to be completed to ensure that the secondary power supply is reliable. Batteries need to be inspected semiannually to confirm that the connections are tight and there is no corrosion on the connections. The batteries and charger need to be tested semiannually. Tests include measuring the temperature to ensure that the battery is not 18° F (10° C) above ambient temperature; measuring the voltage to ensure the battery and charger are still operational; measuring the voltage at each cell of the battery to confirm each cell is greater than 13.26 volts; and measuring the internal ohmic value of each battery and comparing it to previous tests to ensure that the battery does not have 30 percent or more conductance or 40 percent or more resistance or impedance than previous tests, or that it is outside the manufacturer’s acceptable ranges.
Every three years the batteries need to either be replaced, or a load test needs to be conducted. Load tests are conducted by putting a known load (which can be obtained from the battery manufacturer) on the battery for a given time.
With Security Systems, there are several key factors that will affect the life expectancy of a battery including: • Temperature cycling • Operating temperature • Thermal runaway • Shelf life • Rate of charging and rate of discharging • Deep discharging • Physical damage • Overcharging • Memory effect of the battery
Basically, it’s extremely hard to predict security system battery life expectancy with any real accuracy. A weak battery that’s capable of supporting a small 2-door controller 12 months won’t be capable of supporting a 4 or 8 door controller for 6 months. What also is hard to predict during a power outage? • The number of door openings • Camera motion detection events • Intrusion sensor activations
Our last questions for thought: • So, do you have time and resources to manage this for all of your connected access control and CCTV camera supplies at all of their locations within all of your facilities? • Do you have the tools to load test these items properly and document them? • Do you have access to the right suppliers for all the different battery sizes, terminal typesand UPS power supply cassettes from all of your different equipment manufacturers? Esscoe can tailor a security service maintenance plan for you and your facilities. Whether it’s regularly scheduled Inspection, Testing and Maintenance, or regularly scheduled battery replacements, or a combination thereof, we can design a simple, regularly scheduled program to manage this for you, every New Year! Give yourself permission to substitute this regular program of maintenance provided by Esscoe for that diet you really don’t want to stick to anyway…
At Esscoe we are grateful for another wonderful year, but we know that not everyone is as fortunate. As this holiday season approaches, please consider donating to charities near and dear to you. Here are a few charities to consider this year. Charity knows no season!
Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and many are looking forward to a great meal with their family and friends. While most people are fantasizing about eating a delicious feast, we can easily forget the hard work that goes into preparing the meal. An often overlooked piece of the food preparation is the safety aspect, so we’ve put together some helpful reminders to keep things safe. Even if you aren’t involved with the cooking directly, these safety tips will still allow you to help out during the festivities.
1.) Keep the workspace clear of distractions
The most basic way to encourage safety while cooking is to keep the workspace, usually the kitchen, clear of any distractions. Because the leading cause of kitchen fires is unattended cooking, you don’t want the cook’s attention taken away from their workspace. The cooks should be alert and attentive, so leave those who are tired or under the influence out of the kitchen. Since having a cluttered kitchen can also be a distraction, a good rule of thumb is: “if you aren’t using it now or about to use it, keep it out.”
One way to reduce kitchen clutter is to have someone trusted helping the cook by bringing them the utensils they need and taking away things they don’t need. Leave this job to a trusted adult, while it might seem fun to let the kids help out, you don’t want to risk them messing up or getting injured.
2.) Establish a “kid-free zone”
While children may want to help with the festivities, having them help with cooking may not be a great idea. Due to the dangers posed by cooking tools such as hot stoves and sharp knives, children should be kept away from the kitchen. Children may also cause the cook to be distracted, increasing the risk of kitchen fires. At minimum, keep children at least 3 feet away from any potentially dangerous areas. The same applies to pets as well.
3.) Be prepared for a fire
While nobody wants a kitchen fire, being prepared in the event of one is essential. Prevention is the easiest way, and using the tips above will help minimize the chances of a cooking fire.
However, it is also important to know what to do depending on the type of fire. For small grease fires, turn off the stove and smother the flames with a lid. Do NOT try to put out the fire with water, this will not extinguish a grease fire. If you aren’t able to control the flame, then just get out! Evacuate the home quickly and call your local emergency number. Don’t worry, the fire department is used to Thanksgiving accidents, and they’ll be able to help you out. Now that you know these simple safety tips, you can apply them to your next Thanksgiving gathering. Share these tips with your friends and family to keep Thanksgiving safe, letting you enjoy the delicious feast with friends and family.
As you approach the Holiday Season, don’t just look at the relationship between your family and friends; take a look at the relationship you have with your physical building and how you protect it, how you house the people you care about.
Our partners at Building Reports are a service provider for test and inspection groups. Their excellent service has made them the most trusted name in compliance reporting. Please see the downloadable content below for just some of the many great resources they provide.
Hackers know that certain cameras are easy to take over and use as an entry point to the connected network. Even email capable fire alarm systems are vulnerable, unless they meet the new federal information standards.
You can trust Esscoe with our proven past specializing in interior fire alarms, mass notification and security as well as credentialing solutions for military and government facilities. Watch our video to learn what we can do for you!
Please note that the following is a summary of information regarding these systems and does not include a comprehensive overview of the subject matter. Please refer to applicable codes for complete information.
What is DAS? DAS stands for Distributed Antenna System, it is a system of strategically placed antennas throughout a building that amplify the signal for public safety radios (mainly the Fire & Police Departments). DAS can go by many names in specifications – BDA (Bi-Directional Amplifier), ERRCS (Emergency Responder Radio Communication System), Radio Enhancement System, Two-Way Radio Communication Enhancement System, and more.
How does it work? There are two types of systems, either passive or active. A passive system takes an outside signal through a donor antenna, sends it through coax cable, to an amplifier, then to a splitter and sent to each broadcast antenna. An active system takes the outside signal from the donor antenna through coax cable to a digital conversion unit, then through fiber to a remote unit, through coax cable, and finally to the broadcast antennas. A passive system is best for buildings less than 100,000 square feet and active systems are better for buildings greater than 100,000 square feet.
Is it required by code? According to the 2015, 2018, and 2021 International Fire Code Section 510.4.1, every building shall have acceptable signal coverage when strength measurements are at 95% in all areas and 99% in critical areas as denoted by the AHJ. The system itself is not required but if your building does not meet code, the AHJ could require one to be installed.
Where can I find it in the code? NFPA 72 – 2013, 2016, 2019 IFC – 2015, 2018, 2021 NFPA 1221 – 2016, 2019
What can cause interruptions in signal? There are many reasons that signal can be interrupted for public safety radios. Certain construction materials such as concrete, fiberglass, low-e glass, and more can cause disruptions in the signal. Obstructions outside of the building can also affect the signal like tall trees, hills, new buildings, and storms.
What are considerations when designing these systems? It is most important to know the frequencies that the local fire and police departments operate at. Generally, public safety operates in the 700/800 MHz Public Safety band, VHF band, or UHF band. Often, they will operate within multiple bands which may require more than one system. While it is important to know the central frequency, it is important to also know the frequency band that is required to be amplified and if there are separate uplink/downlink frequencies. Also, the lead designer and installation personnel must have (at least) a valid FCC-issued General Radiotelephone Operator License and certification of in-building systems issued by an approved organization or manufacturer of the equipment.
How do I know if I need to install a DAS? In general areas, 95% coverage is required and in critical areas 99% coverage is required. The inbound/outbound signal must be sufficient to provide no less than a DAQ (Delivered Audio Quality) of 3.0. Within existing buildings, the owner can verify coverage by a Grid Test. A Grid Test works by dividing each floor into a grid of 20 equally sized test areas. A fully calibrated portable radio is utilized at the center of each grid to measure the signal strength at each. If more than one grid fails, the building does not meet the 95% coverage requirement. If two grids fail, the floor will be divided into 40 equally sized test areas and if no more than two nonadjacent grids fail, the system passes. If your system fails, a DAS will need to be installed as required by the AHJ. Within new buildings, you cannot fully know if there is limited coverage until construction is underway and the shell is complete. Then, it is required as designated above. Typically, though, larger buildings like hospitals, malls, large schools, campuses, convention centers, and stadiums usually require additional coverage.
What are the inspection requirements? The building must be tested annually and when there are structural changes. Testing includes the Grid Test as described above, all amplifiers must have their gain measured, recorded, and stored with the building owner, 1 hour load testing of all batteries and power supplies, and verifying operation of all active components. Once testing is complete, a report must be sent to the fire code official.
What are the battery backup requirements? Either 12 hours or 24 hours depending on what year IFC is locally adopted. IFC 2015 requires 24 hours and IFC 2015 & 2018 require 12 hours.
Does this need to connect to the Fire Alarm System? Yes. The FACP must monitor the system and provide a supervisory alarm for the following –
Donor Antenna Malfunction
Active RF-emitting device failure
Low-battery capacity indication when 70 percent of the 12-hour operating capacity has been depleted
Active system component failure
Loss of normal AC power
Failure of battery charger
The communications link between the fire alarm system and the emergency responder radio enhancement system
A dedicated annunciator shall also be provided for annunciating the status of –
Normal AC power
Loss of normal AC power
Battery charger failure
Low-battery capacity (i.e., to 70 percent depletion)
Donor antenna malfunction
Active RF-emitting device malfunction
Active system component malfunction
What other terms should I be aware of?
See NFPA 1221 for more definitions
Public Safety Frequencies – the frequencies in which the local jurisdictions will operate their radios under. They may fall under 3 different bands and each band requires a separate system.
Class A – amplifies individual frequencies separately with no other outside frequencies from other jurisdictions amplified. A more expensive system but are more specialized, reduce noise, and are good for downtown areas
Class B – amplifies the entire band and all frequencies within that range that operate will be amplified. A less expensive system but can create noise and is good for rural or suburban areas.
Class B systems are the only ones that need to be registered with the FCC currently. In order to register the system, an FCC Licensee must approve the commissioning of the system and register under their FRN (FCC Registration Number).
Uplink/Downlink – Also known as Receive/Transmit
Uplink – signals from the DAS/BDA system are sent from the server antennas to the donor antennas.
Downlink – signals from the DAS/BDA are sent from the donor antenna to the server antennas.
Trust and Cyber Security How secure is your security? Ensure your security software and hardware has cyber security and responsibility at its core.
Reliability and Resiliency Can you count on your security? Ensure your security hardware and software is architected to maximize uptime built with redundancy and failover capability.
Integration Is your security on an island or is it an integral part of your operation? Integrations with Active Directory, Visitor Management, Intrusion Detection can securely streamline managing your facility operations.
Esscoe was granted the opportunity to work on their largest design-build project yet. It showcases Esscoe’s ability to self-perform complex professionally engineered systems in-house, the strength of our supplier-partner and sub-contractor network and their ability and eagerness to work for Esscoe, our agility and ability to rapidly respond to design-build RFP’s at the preliminary stage and conceptual level, and, most importantly, partner. A partnership that serves to ensure America’s supply chain infrastructure.
America’s leading Storefront retailer is competing with America’s Online leading retailer for the home and B2B delivery business and introducing a fully automated storage retrieval system and packaging system to increase speed to your doorstep and minimize packaging waste.
This 3D automated storage and retrieval system within the facility is produced by the Austrian company, KNAPP AG. The KNAPP OSR (Order, Storage, Retrieval) Shuttle System™ uses robotic shuttles to traverse the storage system, pick out a storage tote, and then bring it to a product “picking station” where workers then pull the requested quantity of said product. The shuttle then returns the tote automatically until called again for another customer order or to replenish product inventory storage levels. This system is over 12 million cubic feet, more than the volume of 100 hot air balloons!
Esscoe also has a strategic partnership with Edwards. This showcases Esscoe’s competitive advantage with simplifying complicated fire alarm network systems using Fiber optic cabling, lower total installed costs through use of the industry’s lowest current draw Fire Alarm Strobes, and intelligible voice evacuation signaling (a.k.a. Mass Notification) for life safety, workplace security and severe weather advanced notification.
Esscoe sets itself apart from the competition with in-house design capabilities, use of Air-Sampling Smoke Detection with VESDA™ (Very Early Smoke Detection Apparatus) to protect our Nation’s supply chain with the ability to rapidly detect and locate the threat of fire in high-dollar capital equipment (KNAPP OSR), large value of stored inventory (food, clothing, commodities and supplies) and our rapid construction speed.
ESSCOE’s In-House Design & Commissioning Group Consists of:
NCEES accredited Professional Fire Protection Engineers
NICET Level IV Fire Alarm Systems Layout Technicians
NICET Level III Fire Alarm Systems Layout Designers
NICET Level II Inspection, Testing & Fire Alarm Systems Inspectors
AXIS Site Designer is a comprehensive, professional tool for designing video surveillance systems. Accessible via web browser, it allows for design work on-site. This tool can work with floor plans or satellite map images, and with adjustable view shapes for dozens of camera types, you can be sure that you can get 100% of the coverage necessary for your facility.
Axis Site Designer provides accurate calculations for pixel density, bandwidth and storage estimates, and power requirements, giving you confidence in the quality and reliability of our design. It also creates exportable camera configuration reports and installation plans so that engineered details are translated onto your site as intended. Whether your needs include a few key cameras, or many more, Axis Site Designer equips us to engineer professional video surveillance systems to fit any project.