Monroe County Office of Emergency Preparedness

Rochester, New York

The future of emergency preparedness resides in this state-of-the-art 110,000 square-foot facility located in Rochester, NY. Designed to achieve seamless, reliable systems integration while providing intuitive, user-friendly features, the Office of Emergency Preparedness (OEP) incorporates AMX NetLinx control and automation to serve and protect the residents of Monroe County.

"NetLinx was the control system of choice because it could deliver the ease of use and comprehensive integration the county wanted in this new building."

"I assisted the county's consultant, ECC Technologies, in choosing the right products for this multimillion dollar project," said David Laiacona of Delaware Audio Video Distributors (Kenmore, NY). "NetLinx was the control system of choice because it could deliver the ease of use and comprehensive integration the county wanted in this new building. I explained to the consultant that NetLinx is the future of control."

Delaware AV, a systems integrator and AMX Dealer located about 75 miles from the OEP, brought in NetLinx to efficiently direct a dizzying amount of media: Internet access, online government data, numerous simultaneous television feeds, AM/FM tuners, cassette decks, VCR and DVD players, computers, projectors and document cameras. Ceiling-mounted digital projectors generate images to five massive projection screens. Four 36" monitors offer additional display areas.

"The agency members have more technology at their disposal than ever before and with enhanced capabilities," Laiacona said. "This facility compares favorably with any other emergency preparedness office throughout the state. What makes it even more impressive is that the planning for this facility was accomplished with the direct input of several agencies and on site visits to existing OEP sites."

Flipcharts to Touch Panels

Prior to the development of this two-year-old building, the OEP operated in the basement of the county's social services building. Rather than having AMX Touch Panels at their immediate reach, agency members resorted to gathering flipcharts of information. Now, with AMX control and an array of electronics and other media equipment linked together, the OEP is widely recognized as one of the most technologically advanced facilities in the state.

At the main control desk, an AMX 15-inch Tabletop Touch Panel and wireless AMX 2-way Viewpoint Touch Panel provide complete control of nine display screens, 30 distinct electronic devices, lighting zones, audio signals and videoconferencing components with microphones. From here, the lights can be activated using presets or dimming levels. The AMX Touch Panel Interface, which operates behind the scenes to accurately route signals between the integrated devices, provides feedback as to the status of the projector, monitor, tuner or camera. For added convenience and functionality, an AMX 8-Button Keypad positioned at each table in the command center allows agency members to instantly select dedicated signal sources and adjust audio levels.

In Total Cooperation

At the heart of the two-story OEP is a command center where representatives from 28 different federal, state and local agencies convene as a coordinated emergency response team. The agencies taking part include the Monroe County Sheriff's Department, Rochester Fire Department, American Red Cross, New York State Department of Transportation and others. From the FBI to the local Office for the Aging, each agency uses the OEP and the NetLinx Control System to remain in constant communication, dispatch emergency personnel, and access any resource to assist in personnel training or crisis management.

A fully integrated series of AMX Control Systems allow OEP team members easy access to one-touch control and automation technology. This unified network, one that seamlessly maintains and manages a variety of single purpose electronic equipment, prompts immediate action and delivers results. Vital information is gathered from sensors, cameras, gauges, meters and database infrastructures already in place. The right facts and figures determine the right decisions.

For example, a door is forced open at the OEP or another location under their surveillance. A sensor detects the possible break-in, as well as the rise in room temperature. Instantly, an alert is generated and forwarded to the command center through the AMX Control System. Here, the possible security breech and HVAC problem are displayed on a video monitor, inputting a feed from a surveillance camera positioned nearby. The OEP team members are now able to view what is happening in this area of the building. The appropriate personnel are then dispatched to investigate and apprehend any intruders. Real data. Real time. Real results.

Preparation is Key

Since the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center Towers in New York City on Sept. 11, 2001, more communities are finding ways to prepare against other forms of surprise attacks, according to Rochester Mayor William Johnson Jr. The building also offers space for city, county and college training staffs, multiple classrooms and specialty training rooms for hazardous material, emergency medical, police operations and crime and fire investigations.

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