Establishing a perimeter in an emergency environment and using cards to verify identities of first responders, law enforcement and emergency workers is the kind of dream that a number of vendors and government agencies have had. It has never been an easy task, with agencies issuing different cards and often no time available to do the kind of on-site integration and systems work needed to make a variety of systems communicate with each other.
However, it seems, that vision for a card-based access control system in an emergency situation (or even in an event setting) is moving closer to fruition. HID Global and Secure Network Systems (SNS) reported this week about the two companies' involvement in a test of a card- and reader-driven demonstration called Summer Breeze involving the Department of Homeland Security and Department of Defense.
According to a report from SNS and HID, the test involved cross-vendor support, reading cards designed to provide information on the responder's role and other relevant information. SNS put the technology to the test at a location involving the Colorado State Patrol. SNS uses HID's MultiCLASS technology as part of its NIMS-IMPACT system, which is a converged physical/logical access control system.
While the demonstration was not without hiccups with some handheld readers used during this widespread "Summer Breeze" emergency operations test, the demonstration largely proved the ability to do cross-platform card reading and data acquisition. A number of vendors took part in the demonstration.
"The focus of this demonstration was to test the ability of several different vendor products to see if they could read different card formats. By the end of the day, this goal was successfully achieved by the Colorado North Central Region using the NIMS-IMPACT mobile product family", said Captain Craig Meyer, Regional Credentialing Coordinator for the Colorado North Central Region. "Plus having a mobile system means a perimeter can be quickly relocated if a plume or wildfire takes an unexpected turn."
According to SNS and HID, mobile emergency environments present unique challenges for access control, including outdoor environments, humidity, even chemical washes. The NIMS-IMPACT system is designed to take advantage of portability, and rather than using access points manned by guards with handheld readers, the system uses standard readers designed to be positioned on site without the need for full-time staffing. The NIMS-IMPACT system is designed to integrate also with hazard detection systems (such as gas/plume detectors) and with video surveillance.