When Security is Most Critical

High Risk, Harsh and Hazardous Environments” are where security is frequently deployed. These terms are sometimes used casually, and for good reason. These expressions are now assimilated into culture and the security industry. They are used to describe a wide variety of situations and conditions.

The strongest threat posed from the three is “hazardous.” It appears in the NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) code and has a clear definition. A “hazardous environment” is typically one that contains amounts of explosive gases or dust either during normal operations or during an abnormal circumstance. These areas are frequently found in petrochemical, chemical, pharmaceutical and painting industries where hazardous substances are by-products or the end product of the normal process. The word hazardous is further defined by the NFPA under a Class, Division, Group rating system which helps define the severity of the hazardous environment.

CLASS: Defines the form of hazardous substance present.
1. Class I - Area where ignitable concentrations of flammable gases or liquid vapors are present.
2. Class II - Area where ignitable concentrations of combustible dusts are present.
DIVISION: Defines the level of hazardous substance concentration.
1. Division 1 - Hazardous substances are present during normal operation.
2. Division 2 - Hazardous substances are present only during abnormal conditions (such as a leak).
GROUPS: Defines the type of hazardous substance.
1. Class I Substances
Group A – Acetylene (most volatile).
Group B – Hydrogen.
Group C – Ethylene.
Group D – Methane.
2. Class II Substances
Group E – Conductive (Metal) Dust (Automatically classified as Division 1).
Group F – Carbonaceous (Carbon or Coal) Dust.
Group G – Agricultural (Flour or Grain) Dust.

Types of Protection
The three types of protection available are:
1. Intrinsic Safety – This is a means of limiting the amount of energy that a particular piece of electrical apparatus generates or stores. These voltage levels are typically in the 5 to 24 Volt range and are associated with annunciators, instrumentation and other “light load” electrical equipment.
2. Explosion Proof Enclosures – These enclosures are designed to contain an explosion as opposed to preventing one. They’re constructed of heavy cast iron material and have limited openings and, therefore, limited access. Heavy duty electrical apparatus that requires minimal interface are many times housed in these enclosures which tend to be somewhat bulky and cost prohibitive.
3. Purging Technology – The third form of recognized protection by the NFPA is purging. This concept basically means that a NEMA 4/4X rated enclosure will be pressurized with an inert (non-explosive) gas such that the internal pressure of the enclosure is greater than the external pressure of the environment. Consequently, there will always be a continuous clean air flow out of the enclosure thereby preventing the intrusion of explosive gases or dusts into the enclosure.

The Variables
“High Risk, Hazardous and Harsh Environments” represent both the issues addressed in the above definition, as well as sociological phenomenon which affects the occupants of the premises you protect, the equipment you install and your installers themselves. Criminal elements, difficult installation environments, temperature extremes, etc. fall into these broad categories used when specifying and installing systems.

Wireless equipment helps mitigate several factors which contribute to hazardous, high risk and harsh conditions. One reason is that the usual methods of running wire, which might involve ladder work or trenching, is mitigated. This technology, often times, is able to provide levels of reliable security which may exceed the hardwired counterpart by virtue of the strategic deployment possible with wireless.

Video surveillance solutions must not only withstand temperature extremes, they must also operate under a wide range of lighting conditions, and again be readily deployable and quick to get up and running. The ideal intrusion sensor would incorporate an approved rugged sealed housing and fittings, and balanced anti-tamper sensor features.

Many consider the post 9/11 United States to now be classified as a high risk location. A host of specialized security devices have been developed and are constantly being introduced to address these needs. Rapidly deployable, blast suppression devices have been designed to isolate or shield suspicious objects in order to protect both people and infrastructures.

Industrial sites such as petro processing plants are considered not only hazardous, but high risk, as well. State of the art integrated security systems now protect not only the traditional perimeter, but also access points which might be selected by the opportunistic suicidal terrorist.

Building solutions are being introduced that provide not only security and vandal-resistance, but also protection against corrosion and wet environments. Installers and end users are demanding solutions which offer reliability, extended warranties, installation and interfacing flexibility and, often, domestic manufacturers.

Highly specialized enclosures have been developed for fire alarm control panels, keypads, automated external defibrillator (AED) and similar devices to protect them from abuse and accidental damage while still enabling them to be highly accessible for immediate deployment.

Unique Product Choices
Every product category – Alarms, Fire, Video and Access Control—offers equipment suitable for some sort of harsh and hazardous environment. This issue’s selection of products represent some of these advanced security tools. Protecting your clients against the “High Risk; Harsh And Hazardous Environments” is now part of the homeland landscape.

- VideoComm Technologies’ TCO-5808 Wireless Transmitter and Receiver System delivers high resolution, real-time wireless video under even extreme weather conditions. Operating in the less crowded, license free 5.8GHz ISM band, the TCO-5808 series includes a unique, embedded antenna system for quick and easy installation. External antennas are not required. Featuring eight user selectable channels, this series is the ideal choice when extreme weather conditions and multiple real-time cameras are required.

The TCO-5808 Wireless Transmitter and Receiver System is ideal for applications where trenching cable may not be possible. Various models are available to meet different range requirements from 500 feet up to 4 miles line of sight, and includes universal mounting brackets and power supplies. For more, visit www.VideoTransmitters.com.

- With STI-USA’s STI-7521 NEMA 4X Protective Cabinet fire alarm control panels, keypads, automated external defibrillator (AED) and similar devices are protected from abuse and accidental damage. The STI-7521 polycarbonate cabinets feature a clear design, making fire alarm control panels and AED units to be highly visible. They mount on the wall, enabling appliances to be stored in a central location and are capable of housing CPR accessories. The cabinets are secured with a thumb lock (or optional key lock), allowing easy access. The polycarbonate is backed by a lifetime guarantee against breakage from normal usage.

- Speco Technology’s new “LEDome” is tamper resistant and weatherproof. The day/night dome can be either wall or ceiling mounted. Exview technology allows operation in complete darkness when coupled with IR LEDs.

LEDome also features a mechanical IR filter for perfect operation in all light levels as well as interchangeable IR LED heads to suit different installation requirements. The installer can program the camera for when it should switch from color to b/w by using the adjustable lux settings. Other features include composite and UTP outputs and tamper switches. Visit www.specotech.com for more information.

- The Sentrol 2800T Series magnetic contacts are designed for High Security hazardous environments. The rugged die-cast aluminum housing with conduit fittings meets UL requirements for hazardous locations. The contacts are balanced, triple-biased SPDT switches that make defeat with external magnets virtually impossible.

The contacts feature tamper circuits that are actuated by removal of the faceplate or by introduction of an external magnet. The terminals are located inside the housing providing additional protection from tampering or accidental shorting. Optional features include pry tamper loop for alarm in case of contact removal, current limiting device for circuit protection, and a housing approved for Class 1 Group B and Class III environments.

- Chase Security Guards and Enclosures are designed to fit over various manufacturers’ products. Units are welded inside and out with reinforcement for a solid construction and finished with various coatings. They are constructed of 14 to 16 gauge steel, perforations 3/16 inch diameter on L inch staggered centers. Expanded security enclosures are made of flattened 16 gauge expanded metal. Chase Metal Guards and Enclosures are designed for ease of installation and maintenance. Chase Metal Security Guards are available in a variety of finishes and models and can be designed and built to individual specification. Visit www.chasesec.com for more information.

The Essex Electronics Incorporated Model K1 is a multi-format keypad designed to provide either standalone access control, or one of several industry standard outputs which are easily field configured. With Piezoelectric keypad buttons (no moving parts) the unit is weatherproof (-40 to + 160F) and waterproof (100% relative humidity). The stainless steel construction and vandal-resistant design is enhanced by Essex Billion Cycle Switch Technology where the piezoelectric switches generate a charge or voltage simply by applying force to them. Visit www.keyless.com for more information.

- Deep Development Corp’s Viperfish Land is designed for top side applications. The Viperfish Land is a high performance shock and vibration proof digital recorder that converts analog video to digital format. It records high resolution video (720 x 486 pixels), at full-speed 30 frames per second with zero latency.

Designed for intense environments, the Viperfish Amphibian is a ruggedized, all-weather, digital video recorder. Viperfish Amphibian converts analog signals to digital format and records non-multiplexed video up to 640 x 480 pixels to a high capacity hard drive. The digital platform has four video inputs and combines a 1 GHZ host processor board with MPEG 4 compression.

- The “LT” (Ladder and Tower) Version of PlRAMID from Protech is an outdoor dual technology motion sensor specifically designed to protect against intruders climbing up ladders and towers. The PlRAMID LT Version features Protech’s proprietary Stereo Doppler Microwave Technology combined with passive infrared. The sensor is configured so that both technologies must activate simultaneously for a sensor alarm.

PlRAMID LT is equipped with a three-position Direction Control Switch that selects the direction of movement required for a sensor alarm. For protecting ladders and towers, the sensor is generally mounted at the top of the structure looking downward. The Direction Control Switch is set in the “Approach” Mode so that the sensor detects only approaching targets, i.e. ,someone climbing up the ladder or structure. For more information, visit www.protechusa.com.

- McGill Protect-O-Globes offer corrosion and vandal-resistant protection for lighting. The Protect-O-Globe Lighting System is fabricated from rugged polycarbonate to assure the ultimate in impact-resistance, as well as low operating temperatures and lateral light diffusion. Virtually unbreakable, Protect-O-Globes are also suitable for use in wet locations such as marinas, farms, warehouses, plant floors and other corrosive areas. The low profile, one-piece globes and durable bases are suitable for wall or ceilings. For more information, visit www.mcgillelectrical.com.