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July 9, 2021

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Alarms

Considerations for alarm systems at remote locations

Remote facilities with a lot of complex and expensive equipment are a sweet spot for intruders and vandals. These can include anything from oil and gas complexes, airport infrastructure, railway facilities, automatic filling stations, remote research bases, cellular and energy facilities, and plenty more besides. Here, the team at Ajax Systems details what security and fire systems installers may need to think about when specifying alarms for such locations.

The main task of the security equipment at such distant sites is to scare off the intruders, and in case of unlawful acts, the security service will receive evidentiary material and transfer it to law enforcement bodies.

AjaxSystems-RemoteLocation-21

The protection of such facilities commonly includes:

  • Access control system
  • Indoor and outdoor video surveillance
  • Alarm system
  • Remote monitoring

Cameras play an important role when stopping crime, but while these devices do help deter thieves and vandals, the most brazen criminals still persist. That’s why a tamper-proof and durable alarm system that doesn’t depend on Wi-Fi or cellular signals is essential.

Here are some vital features that are worth paying attention to when considering an alarm system for a remote location:

  • Photo verification of alarms: Easy to install and not expensive to maintain, the new photo verification equipment allows taking high-resolution photos after the alarm triggering, sending them in a matter of several seconds. This allows the security team to quickly identify whether the intrusion is genuine or somebody just forgot to disarm the system, without being physically present on the site.
  • Operation from external batteries and low-voltage networks: Moving remote facilities with missing, low, or unstable power supply, such as houses on wheels, warehouses or yachts, need protection no less than any other property. For them, consider an alarm system that can operate from a low-voltage power source or an external battery.
  • Outdoor protection: The protection of any site starts from its perimeter. Make sure that the security system you choose provides outdoor security devices. A highly accurate motion detection system, which allows screening out triggers like natural interferences and pets, as well as the highest-level anti-masking and vandalism protection would make a difference.
  • Automation: As not all remote facilities feature personnel on-site, alarm solutions with automation features may come in handy. In this case, it will be possible to set up the system to automatically resist threats and prevent escalation of incidents. For example, the system will automatically shut down the water on the facility in case of leakage, cut off power by a fire alarm, etc.

Extreme case study: What fire alarm system to choose if the facility is a polar station?

Why would a polar station need an alarm system? A good question. Antarctica is the windiest place on earth, where hurricane-force winds blow most of the time. Even a tiny flame can quickly turn into a large blaze.

Most of the buildings at Antarctic stations were built decades ago and are often small wooden houses with metal panels insulated with foam. When the foam burns, it releases deadly phosgene gas.

Ajax-FireProtect-21Recently, an Ajax pro-grade wireless alarm was installed for the protection of Vernadsky Research Base – a Ukrainian Antarctic Station. The Ajax equipment was delivered at a distance of 16,000 kilometers and now ensures the fire safety of the polar station.

While choosing a security system for such an unusual remote facility, the following criteria were considered:

  • Communication reliability: The station is a complex of buildings, so it is important to cover them with one system. For this, the most reliable radio communication with a long range is required.
  • Maintenance: You can’t invite a professional installer to a station in Antarctica; the station engineers maintain the system themselves. It mustn’t require a lot of attention. Devices must operate from batteries for years, and instantly alert if something goes wrong. For example, if a detector loses connection or if batteries need to be replaced in a couple of months.
  • Fire alert: There is a person at the station who monitors the system. You need a system with a handy alarm-monitoring app for PCs as well as loud sirens to alert people to danger.
  • Сlimate impact: During the cold season, the temperature outside drops to -27°C. In residential premises, it is kept at +16-18°C, and in non-residential ones, it is kept with a slight ‘plus’. The specifications of the detectors must correspond to these conditions.

In addition to the hub (the security system control panel) and two sirens, 10 Ajax fire detectors were delivered to Galindez Island in West Antarctica. They protect against fire, detect smoke and rapid temperature swings, and prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. When connected to the Ajax security system via the secure Jeweller radio protocol, the detectors can operate at distances of up to 1,300 meters from the hub.

Ajax fire detectors will continue to work even if the station loses access to the Internet or there is no one to monitor alarms, as the devices can operate independently from the system control panel. The siren volume is 85 dB to wake up even those who fast asleep.

The system will also handle it when the temperature in the station premises drops to +11-12°C (happens when there are strong winds). Finally, station personnel won’t need to worry about how frequently they have to send new batteries to the station. The autonomous operation period of the detectors is up to four years.

How does station alarm monitoring work?

The station uses the computer with Ajax’s monitoring software installed. A screen with all the indicators is placed in the lobby of the main building. Another computer in the on-duty person’s office is used as an alarm monitoring station.

To manage the system on the go, station engineers have Ajax apps on their smartphones. The station has internet, but it became unlimited only this spring after installing a satellite antenna.

During the two months of operation, there were two alarms at the station: in the kitchen, when the polar explorers were grilling steaks, and in the carpentry shop, where welding work was taking place. In both cases, the equipment responded to the smoke.

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Kenny
Kenny
July 23, 2021 10:30 am

Wow! Two surprises in a row. 1. Ukraine has a polar station. That is amazing! 2. Ukrainian polar station is equipped with the Ukrainan alarm system Ajax. And it looks decent and modern. That is amazing as well! Good job!