Where do the good ideas come from? In this column, we offer our readers the opportunity to learn about — and benefit from — some of the cutting-edge technologies being implemented by law enforcement colleagues around the world.
Hospitals Prepare for Second H1N1 Wave with Western Shelter Systems GateKeeper Portable Triage/Treatment Facilities
As the first wave of H1N1 flu recedes across the United States, hospital emergency preparedness managers are reviewing their lessons learned in preparation for what many believe will be an even larger assault on their hospitals.
Providence Health Systems in the Pacific Northwest is expanding its very successful surge capacity plan to its smaller outlying facilities. Providence deployed the GateKeeper alternative care facilities just outside the hospitals’ Emergency Departments (ED) to protect the hospital and staff from exposure while still providing appropriate care to the community.
“The decision to deploy the surge shelters at the hospitals was based on a trend of ED wait time, the ED’s ability to separate Influenza Like Illness (ILI) patients from normal patients, and a high pre-divert status,” said Al Rhodes, emergency preparedness manager, Providence Health and Services System – Portland Service Area.
“Staffed with our personnel that had already received the H1N1 vaccine, the shelters were stocked and ready should our ED’s become overwhelmed,” Rhodes said. “This planning strategy was used at four of the Providence facilities in Oregon.”
“The Incident Command opened up the surge shelters when the ED had more than 25 ILI patients in the waiting room in addition to patients with other concerns and injuries. Within four hours of opening the surge shelter for triage and treatment of ILI patients, leaving the ED to treat all others, the waiting room had been cleared of all patients. The surge shelter was restocked and closed, ready for another surge.”
The GateKeeper alternative care facilities from Western Shelter Systems were initially purchased with federal grant funds. The costs of deployment and use are being borne by the hospitals; and are being tracked for reimbursement under Presidential Declaration guidelines.
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Proper Acoustics Solved Outdoor Firing Range Noise Problem
The Monmouth County Police Academy outdoor firing range has been in operation since 1967. When the range was originally built, and they were firing mostly handguns, there was no concern about noise issues.
In 1997, a steel bullet-catcher, timber backstop, and containment sidewalls replaced the old 40-foot berms (due to lead contamination). The result: a high-reverb echo. One problem was solved (contamination), and a new one arose: noise.
Complaints started pouring in from neighbors that the noise had become disruptive to their quality of life. John G. McCormack, director of the Monmouth County Police Academy explained that, “Since 9/11 there has been more mandated training and firing of weapons . . . almost all of the police departments in Monmouth County use this range, in addition to federal agencies.” All these components—increased facility use, larger and more powerful weapons being fired, along with the change in construction of the range have contributed to the problem.
As a result of the complaints, Monmouth County hired an independent acoustic firm, Metropolitan Acoustics, to analyze the situation in order to develop a baseline to move forward to correct the problem. Their studies showed that local noise ordinance levels were in excess, and needed to be reduced by 3dBA.
Due to the noise problem, the firing range’s hours of operation have been reduced from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. down to 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., with a complete cease fire on Saturdays, in order to accommodate the residents. One of the mandates of the state Attorney General’s Office and the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office is night firing. Officials are still trying to figure out how to meet this requirement at present.
To address the issue and correct the problem, a competitive bidding process awarded Troy Acoustics Corporation of Santa Clarita, California, a contract to supply the new acoustics materials. Interact Business Group wrote the strategic plan.
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Centurion Technologies’ Smart Shield Resource Suite to Manage, Protect, and Preserve Desktop Environments for Closter Borough, New Jersey, Police Department.
Centurion Technologies announces the Smart Shield protection and network management software. The Closter Police Department in New Jersey uses this technology. Closter is a full-service law enforcement agency. In addition to policing duties, the department operates the Interborough Radio Network, which is a regional dispatch center for the Northern Valley, responsible for the dispatch of police, fire, and emergency medical services for the New Jersey municipalities of Alpine, Closter, Haworth, Harrington Park, Norwood, Northvale, and Rockleigh. The Interborough Radio Network also handles all 9-1-1 calls for the aforementioned communities, as well as the Palisades Interstate Parkway.
Sergeant Alphonso Young Jr. assigned to IT services is Closter’s lead IT manager, responsible for making sure all the department’s workstations stay up and running with minimal technical support. “Over the years, we have experienced numerous issues with our workstations being contaminated with spyware and malware. Also, users would make unauthorized changes to computers resulting in the failure of various workstations, requiring the affected computers to be rebuilt,” Young said. Consequently, Sergeant Young decided to seek a solution to these problems with three primary objectives in mind: protect department computers from user error and tampering, eliminate the negative effects of spyware and malware, and decrease the amount of work required to resolve Closter’s workstation issues.
“After we purchased Centurion’s software, I was able to secure all of our workstations and tablets. We also purchased the Control Center, which gave us the ability to control these workstations from a centralized location … we are able to upgrade and register the software through the centralized location, rather than having to work at each computer,” stated Sergeant Young. ■
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