Every emergency communications installation begins with five questions that will assist your decisions about which product to purchase, infrastructure needs, graphics and more.
Why are you installing Help Points?
Determine your primary purpose for this installation. For example, are you trying to improve customer service or deter potential criminal behavior? Is this solely for emergency situations? Once this objective has been established, many considerations may be simplified. If your goal is to improve customer service on a hospital campus, for instance, you might not choose to put “Emergency” graphics on your Help Point, since it could send the wrong message to individuals who simply want to ask for directions or need help with a flat tire.
Where should Help Points be placed?
This is a common question, and one that has a simple answer – within line of sight. Imagine a path in a city park. If there is a medical emergency, you should be able to quickly identify and reach a Help Point. It also means that installers may need to consider the local environment. What vegetation or natural barriers exist that could prohibit someone from easily using a Help Point? ADA compliance also needs to be considered to ensure that all people can comfortably use the device.
Are any integrations needed?
Whether this is a new installation or an expansion of an existing one, it’s important to accurately detail the function of each Help Point. New products should seamlessly integrate with existing and additional work needs to be identified. Layering your emergency communications device with other security devices, such as video cameras, access control or public address systems, will also require you to pay particular attention to integration.
How often will you need to expand your solution?
Scalability is a huge consideration with any emergency communications system. Security installations are being asked to do more – and for longer – than ever before. One way to establish scalability is to install IP phones and invest in the appropriate networking and power options. An IP-based solution will allow for lower maintenance and fewer upgrade costs throughout the lifetime of the system. If you have an existing analog solution that you would like to expand, it’s important to research any infrastructure needs.
Can I have an IP and an analog solution?
While the trend for IP solutions is growing for a myriad of reasons, the role analog plays remains prominent due to existing infrastructure or simple preference in installations. The simple answer is that analog and IP can – and do – coexist on the same networks and platforms. Using a media converter can help you bridge the gap between IP and analog, and manage your power and networking constraints. The system will need to be properly managed through either a compatible third party systems management or something built specifically by your emergency communications manufacturer.
These are some of the questions that need to be analyzed during planning and implementation, but they provide a solid foundation from which you can create or expand security at your location.
John Plooster is Director of Sales and Global Partner Manager at Code Blue Corporation and has nearly two decades of experience in the telecommunications industry.