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University of Northampton Select DeafWatch™ for Complete Building Protection

Introduction

Based in the midlands, the University of Northampton is one of the most innovative higher education institutions in the country. They have always taken their duty of care for Deaf and hard of hearing students seriously and over the years had put in place a system for their protection.

Problem

Previously, the University College Northampton had taken steps to protect it’s Deaf and hard of hearing students through the use of legacy paging systems from the ‘market leader’ in its most vulnerable buildings. Unfortunately, due to technical developments the existing legacy system was suffering from increasing support and maintenance costs. This combined with prohibitive costs for extending the service to complete coverage forced the University to look at the potential offerings from other suppliers:

“DeafWatch from Wireless Alert Solutions Limited has allowed us to cover more buildings with less fuss than before. We are particularly impressed with the range and penetration of the DeafWatch transmitters, and this, combined with their competitive pricing has been very satisfactory.”
Derek Harris, Senior Engineer, University of Northampton, Office of Facilities Management.

Solution

The University of Northampton is divided into two campuses, Park Campus and Avenue Campus. Using a combination of transmitters, DeafWatch could cover every building on the each campus from strategic points. By exploiting the addressable fire alarm system from these points, students at the University of Northampton receive clear and relevant fire alarm messages such as “FIRE LAMPORT BUILDING”. All this is viewable on a 20 character backlit display, on a personal receiver the same size as a small box of matches.

Avenue Campus: The Distress Alarm frequency operated by Wireless Alert Solutions Limited was specifically chosen for its superb capability in penetrating internal and external environments. The modulation consistently outperforms other frequencies in both external/internal environments and large building structures. This allows DeafWatch to cover the greatest area efficiently, effectively and securely.

For example, the legacy system at Avenue Campus could only protect the Bassett Lowke Hall. DeafWatch could protect every building on Avenue Campus from the same location as the legacy system and have individualised messages for each. In addition to the strength of this frequency, it is licenced to broadcast up to 5 watts, whereas the legacy system could only broadcast a maximum of 2W, limiting coverage and thereby expanding costs.

Park Campus: this represented a more complex environment. All the fire alarm signals on the campus reported back to the 24 hour security centre in the Holdenby reception. We established that we could cover all the buildings on campus from three transmitters, a cost effective solution. During the day, any user could be warned of a fire alarm across the whole site.

However, the user would not want be woken up at night by an alarm across the campus. We therefore added night transmitters to the halls of residence, each of these systems would have a dedicated set of night receivers which would only respond to the fire alarm message of that particular building. Ensuring the user is woken only when necessary.

Due to a large hill running across the 87 acre campus, no signal could reach William Carey Hall. To overcome this problem we simply programmed all the Global personal receivers to respond to either the Global Fire alarm signal or the William Carey Night Signal. By using a flexible approach, this combination of system supplies coverage across the both sites.

Conclusion

Our approach at Wireless Alert Solutions Limited is to give you the right information. We work closely with Ofcom, On Site Communications Association (OSCA) and other organisations to ensure that not only is our information is up to date, but our technology offers the most cost effective solutions in the market.