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Yet Another New York State University Chooses Mid-State Communications & Electronics and Whelen Engineering

RPI’s Rensselaer Campus is a 275 acre blend of modern style and classic design. Built into a hillside, RPI overlooks the historic city of Troy and the Hudson River.

In July of 2009 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute approved its new Whelen Outdoor Warning System. On July 8th, an initial test of the Whelen outdoor warning system was performed. The system consists of four siren speaker arrays located atop buildings on the Troy campus of RPI. The sirens will be used in the event of emergencies on the Troy campus. According to Steve Abrams, Director of Emergency Management at Rensselaer, “it is the most recent addition to the comprehensive RPIAlert communications system.”

The system installed at RPI includes siren alert tones as well as digital voice messages and live public address capability. In addition, other components of the RPIAlert system include voice mail, email and texting. Multiple warning systems using various forms of technology help to inform students and faculty of emergency information, regardless of their location.

Mark Frost, director of physical plant at RPI is very pleased with the overall system installation. According to Frost “Mid-State Communications and their installation team were very professional throughout the process and successfully installed a system which met or exceeded local electrical and building codes. Mid-State Communications was helpful and informative during the design process and were very cooperative when asked to incorporate some campus input into their final system design. The installation phase of the project went exceptionally well and Mid-State’s interactions with our in-house staff as well as our campus community was always cordial and professional. Our continuous communications with Mid-State during and after installation were helpful in insuring that the Project was implemented successfully. The end result was 100% system performance during our initial operational test of the system.”

Hamilton College Chooses Whelen & Mid-State For Outdoor Warning

On Friday August 28, 2009, Hamilton College took delivery and held the first live test of its new Campus Outdoor Warning System. The system worked as expected and was heard across the entire 350-acre main campus. Hamilton’s warning system was designed to remain as inconspicuous as possible while providing ample warning in the event of an incident. Two WHELEN WPS2902 voice and tone systems were mounted on building rooftops while another was mounted on a 60-foot wooden pole along the eastern edge of the campus.

The system was designed to be activated from a fixed location or, in the event that location is impractical to use during an emergency, from a mobile controller. The control system includes two-way diagnostic feedback and WHELEN’s Si-Test feature, which allows Hamilton College to silently test the system without disturbing the campus or having to visit each site.

“The outdoor warning system is just one part of our multi-layered campus emergency notification plan,” said Director of Campus Safety Fran Manfredo, “and we are extremely satisfied with the final product. Obviously, no one wants to think about having to use any type of emergency notification system, but Hamilton has taken the necessary steps to protect our students, faculty and guests in the event of an emergency. Mid-State Communications, as our supplier, was involved from the design stage to final testing and helped to make the process as simple as possible.”

Emergency sirens installation begins for Port of Providence

01:00 AM EDT on Tuesday, September 15, 2009
By Gregory Smith
Journal Staff Writer

CRANSTON — What if something bad happens at the Port of Providence, such as an accidental chemical spill? Or sudden and severe weather? Or something nefarious, such as a terrorist attack? How would the alarm go out quickly? How long would it take to evacuate the port and any affected neighborhoods?

A network of sirens and public-address loudspeakers is now being installed to warn everyone who would need to be alerted of a life-threatening emergency. The first of four planned sirens was attached to the top of a 60-foot utility pole which was set in place Monday at the Johnson & Wales University Harborside Campus, on the Cranston side of the border with Providence. The Harborside Campus installation would double as a warning system for Johnson & Wales students and staff in the case of a campus intruder or other danger. Public briefings about the warning system have been scheduled in Providence and East Providence, with the first set for Thursday night. And the system is expected to be heard for the first time between noon and 1 p.m. during a periodic port emergency drill scheduled for Oct. 23. One of the sirens will be installed in East Providence, since the prevailing easterly wind could carry a gaseous chemical across the Providence River and into that community. As defined by the Coast Guard, the Port of Providence includes the Providence and East Providence riverfronts. The siren will have “an old civil defense sound,” according to Peter T. Gaynor, director of the Providence Emergency Management Agency and Office of Homeland Security, and the 60-second tone will be followed by a prerecorded message. “Attention. This is an emergency evacuation order. Remain calm. Follow the instructions of the emergency officials.” The message would be automatically repeated once. City officials then would be able to repeat the tone and stock message as often as they wanted from the four stations as well as make any ad-hoc announcement, including messages in a foreign language. J&W officials also would be able to control the station on their campus. The tone is expected to be set on maximum volume so that it is audible slightly more than a mile away, depending on the wind, and the voice, about half that distance. Right now, according to Gaynor, tenants at the Municipal Wharf in Providence, where much of the shipping in the river comes and goes, only have a telephone tree for systematic notification about an emergency. The City of Providence garnered a $130,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to build the network. The solar battery-powered, wireless radio-controlled siren/public address stations are being installed in East Providence, on Exxon-Mobil property off the 3300 block of Pawtucket Avenue; in Providence, on the property of Promet Marine Services Corp., a repair and maintenance yard at 242 Allens Ave.; and at the Engine Co. 13 fire house at 774 Allens Ave.; and in Cranston, south of J&W’s Harborside Village Community Building on Harborside Boulevard. Monday, an auger truck drilled a hole into the sand of the Harborside Campus. Using the arm of the truck, workmen then lifted a utility pole with the carbon-fiber loudspeaker housing fastened to one end — the housing is topped with a white strobe light as an alert for the hearing-impaired — and set it 9 to 10 feet deep. The briefings are scheduled to be held Thursday and again on Oct. 8, from 6 to 7 p.m. in the auditorium on the first floor of the Providence Public Safety Complex at Dean and Washington streets, and on Oct. 15, from 6 to 7 p.m., at East Providence City Hall on Taunton Avenue. “If there is an annoyance factor [for the public], we can ramp up” the volume in increments, said Michael Lemieux, chief technical officer of Wright Communications, of Pembroke, N.H., which has the contract to install the system. “But you do want it to be an attention-getter.” The sound that will be emitted is the same as the signal from the three-station siren network at Brown University, which became operational in 2008 and was installed in consultation with city emergency-management officials. Gaynor said he wants uniformity, in order to distinguish these signals from other emergency signals. It does not matter if someone in the vicinity of Brown mistakes the port siren for Brown’s, said Lemieux. It will prompt the public to seek additional information, according to his rationale.

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