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Remember safe city? It’s a topic that’s alive and well!

Remember safe city? It’s a topic that’s alive and well!
Long before smart city became a hot topic, we in security had talked a lot about safe city. Indeed, before any smart city initiative, a city must be a safe haven for its residents. This article discusses some of the safe city solutions that are available.
Long before smart city became a hot topic, we in security had talked a lot about safe city. Indeed, before any smart city initiative is put in place, a city must be a safe haven for its residents. This article discusses some of the safe city solutions that are available, based on a Virtual Security Showcase webinar held by LRG Marketing in July.

Health and safety of public areas

Safe city is often associated with fighting crime. But in reality it entails more than just that. Ensuring the health and safety of public areas, for example public restrooms and other single-use areas, is a key municipal objective. In this regard, Altronix has their OA2 solution which can be integrated with, for example, the deadbolt of a public restroom. If the door remains locked for a certain period of time, OA2 will issue an alert to the operator, who can then go find out what happened to the user.
“The objective of this product is to ensure the health and safety of public restrooms and other single-use areas. It could be the genitor’s closet or it could be pharmaceutical rooms. What the Altronix OA2 does is it continuously monitor normal traffic patterns to provide notifications of unauthorized activity. It helps mitigate the risk for that end user or that business owner. It’s also ideal for single-use restrooms in retail, restaurants, universities, parks and recreation and more,” said Ronnie Pennington, Director for the Americas at Altronix.

Importance of key management

Key control and management is typically not associated with safe city. But nothing can be further from the truth. Especially during emergencies, key control grants key access to first responders, so they don’t need to break any doors and replace them later.
For this, Morse Watchmans has their EKG or Emergency Key Grab program. It works with Morse Watchmans’ own KeyWatcher solution, which will have one key ring with all the door and access point keys for a particular building/campus. Only first responders would have access to that key ring. Together, KeyWatcher and the EKG key ring will give first responders immediate access to all doors and access points.
“This really significantly improves response time during critical issues. The bottom line is as a manufacturer in the security industry, our goal is to continue to develop products that foster safety and accountability. So include key control as your security policy; include key control as part of your citywide deployments of security. It’s important and it can help,” said Tim Purpura, VP of Global Sales and Market at Morse Watchmans.

Crash-rated bollards and barriers

Brendan MacDaniel, VP of Sales at Barrier1 Systems, spoke about the importance of crash-rated barriers and bollards in safe city initiatives. Especially, he identified three areas that are high-risk to crash-ins by vehicles. One is retail storefronts, where statistics suggest crashes occur more than 100 times per day, and 8 percent of all storefront crashes result in a fatality. The second is temporary events, such as concerts and parades, where pedestrians and bystanders can easily be victimized by ill-intentioned or accidental vehicle crash-ins. Thirdly, public spaces such as outdoor dining areas are high-risk areas too.
This is where bollards and barriers can help. For storefronts, operators can rely on crash-rated bollards, for example those with ASTM 3016 crash ratings that are crash-tested to stop a 5,000 lb. vehicle at 10, 20, and 30 mph, MacDaniel said. For temporary events, operators can use a variety of solutions for example portable barriers, mobile wedge barriers, surface set drop arms and quick-connect cable barriers. For outdoor public/dining areas, removable bollards, retractable bollards and quick-connect cable boards can be used.
“Please continue to educate yourself and all your team members about the threat of vehicles crashing into buildings or crowded spaces. They are easy targets, and the difficult news headlines of these events are unfortunately ever increasing. When protecting cities we need to make crash-rated barriers a priority. The right barrier at the right place can save lives and certainly reduce liability,” MacDaniel said.

Effective use of access control

In safe city, access control can play a vital role. An advanced access control system integrated with various sensors can not only help detect unusual door open/entry events, but also monitor other abnormalities that may impact a city’s operation. This, then, can help solve or reduce city operators’ challenges and pain points.
“Be alerted if you have temperature fluctuations that can cause damage; be alerted to water leaks before they become floods. Use your access control system not only for access control and door event, but for all types of utilities. Use it for your event management and alarm monitoring and be proactive with this; it will help you save time and money,” said Karen Evans, President and CEO of Sielox.

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