International News: Emergency Passenger Communications
IN FULFILLING ITS RESPONSIBILITY to provide fail-safe communications to passengers during times of power outage or other emergency events, the Netherlands Railways purchased more than one hundred portable PA systems to expand upon last year’s successful placement of 65 units within public transit stations throughout the Netherlands. These handheld portable public address systems help ensure passenger security by providing a quick and effective means of directing stranded riders to areas of safety.
With 2,000 kilometers of electrified railway and 463 trains, Netherlands Railways (Nederlandse Spoorwegen – NS) has addressed an issue that now impacts transit operators throughout the world. “Ensuring the safety and security of our transportation system is now first and foremost,” said Norman Mineta, secretary of the U.S. DOT, when commenting on the post 9-11 atmosphere at a national convention of transportation officials.
Recognizing the mission critical need for communications during terrorist attacks or other emergencies, officials at NS sought a portable sound system powerful enough to be heard over a crowd of panic-stricken passengers.
“NS needed something like a megaphone, but they also wanted the loudspeaker away from the face of the user so that he or she could see what was going on,” said Rob Rutten. “We also needed a strong sound pressure level.”
Since this portable sound system accepts a handheld, lapel, headband or wireless microphone, security officers can maintain his or her field of view while freeing up one or more hands. “The ample power for its compact size, the fact that users don’t have to hold a megaphone up to their face, and the quality of the sound contributed to Dutch Railways’ decision to purchase more portable public address systems,” noted Rutten. “With its wide frequency response, passengers can clearly hear any important instructions offered by the emergency personnel.
IP Video at Munich AirportIn accordance with new European Union regulations requiring that all airport employees undergo the same security checks as passengers when entering the secure airside area, Munich Airport undertook a security reconfiguration of its staff access points. This included scanners, security arches and security video.
The new security measures were installed in both Terminals by IPPI GmbH. The furthest camera was located approximately 1.5 miles from the central control room, the main monitoring point for the airport’s entire 1,800 camera system and the new IP video solution. The system was interfaced to both the existing digital MJPEG system in Terminal Two and the analog matrix system in Terminal One. This allowed users of the existing security video systems to have access to the images from the new secure access areas.
IP video was an ideal choice for this application as it provided high-quality MPEG-4 images from cameras located over a large area of the airport and a flexible interface path to the existing hybrid mix of security video systems. Extending the existing systems would have been far more expensive and would not provide the same level of scalability for the future.
In addition, the existing analog cameras in the parking areas were connected to the new networked system to improve the overall level of security for those areas. A local monitoring system was established for the parking area. Advanced motion detection was installed in the parking area ensuring critical events were alerted and recorded.
In total the IP video network accommodates 43 cameras for the new access areas and 23 existing cameras from the parking areas. The cameras are a mix of fixed and dome cameras and are connected to the network via stand-alone and rack mounted transmitter/receiver units. These units convert the camera signal to DVD quality, high-resolution digital video, for transmission over the airport’s existing LAN.