Today, approximately 82 percent of the nation’s hospitals are accredited by The Joint Commission, an organization helping set standards for health care organizations to expand health care safety. To advance fire and life safety systems and maintain accreditation, hospitals must undergo rigorous, unannounced on-site surveys conducted by an Environment of Care surveyor. Evaluation is based on the following:

  • Inspection of the building’s fire safety equipment and features.
  • Compliance with relevant Life Safety Code® requirements set by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).

When SSM St. Clare Health Center in Fenton, Miss., opened its doors in 2009 it became the first full-service hospital built in St. Louis County in 35 years. The SSM Health Care – St. Louis network of seven hospitals has a strong presence in the region, and is consistently recognized by The Joint Commission for its record in accreditation. So after opening, SSM St. Clare Health Center requested accreditation from The Joint Commission to take its organization to the next level of patient care and safety and maintain its focus of providing safe, high-quality health care.

To develop the customized paperwork needed for the Joint Commission’s Environment of Care surveyor, SSM St. Clare Health Center enlisted solutions-based system integrator, Tech Electronics, St. Louis, for its extensive experience in implementing security, fire and other life safety systems for health care organizations.

Part of the evaluation includes familiarizing the surveyor with the entire layout of the building and its fire safety features. SSM St. Clare turned to Tech Electronics to help manage many aspects of required testing because it networked a NOTIFIER® Fire Alarm System for the entire 600,000-square-foot facility.

What began as routine visits to inspect and maintain the facility’s state-of-the-art intelligent fire alarm system grew into a proactive and collaborative effort. SSM St. Clare Health Center and Tech Electronics met every few months for nearly two years to ensure the paperwork would meet The Joint Commission requirements for ongoing readiness in life safety and environment of care.

“Our goal is to provide thorough documentation for hospitals to use during The Joint Commission visit,” Shari Gentsch, health care account manager for Tech Electronics. “This includes gaining an understanding of what exactly transpires in a survey and planning and documenting everything.”

Today Tech Electronics tests devices — monthly, quarterly, and annually — based on a carefully documented schedule that is set more than a year in advance and those inspection times are coordinated through the service department, Gentsch described.

Additionally, The Joint Commission expects detailed inventory of all fire and life safety equipment.   

“We truly collaborated to take a proactive, safety-oriented approach when preparing for the survey,” said Erik Enderling, plant operations team leader for SSM St. Clare Health Center. “The entire survey process was streamlined because we involved Tech Electronics from the start.”

The regulatory standards focus on how well an organization documents the maintenance, testing and inspection activities to ensure that the facility is providing a safe environment for patients, visitors and caregivers.

Tech Electronics approached the relationship as a “trusted adviser,” Gentsch shared. “The hospital takes the information we provide them and then make decisions based on what is best for the hospital. Our partnership with SSM focuses on improving patient safety, meeting regulatory compliance standards, increasing HCAHPS Scores, improving workflow efficiencies, and reducing overall costs. It allows them to do what they do best — providing patient care — while we focus on the technology.” Gentsch described.

The surveyor from The Joint Commission was so impressed with the quality and detail of the paperwork compiled by Tech Electronics and the team at SSM St. Clare that the health center received a perfect score on its on-site survey for developing a process to continuously meet ongoing readiness in the life safety and environment of care realm. The paperwork is viewed as a best practice by the auditor.

“Tech Electronics is a committed partner to SSM as a trusted fire alarm expert when it comes to inspection testing, monitoring, and maintenance of the fire alarm system,” Enderling added. “Tech Electronics worked with us to develop the correct documentation format and, as a result, allowed SSM St. Clare Health Center to present a positive tone for a successful survey.”




VMS Helps Domestic Abuse Shelter Enhance Awareness, Protection


According to reports issued by the CDC, domestic violence is a crime that will affect one in every four women in her lifetime. Twelve million adults are victims of physical assault by an intimate partner each year. Worse, there are approximately 1,300 deaths and 2.2 million (medically treated) injuries due to intimate partner violence annually. Domestic violence results in $3 to $5 billion dollars lost annually in absenteeism, decreased productivity and health and safety costs.


The House of Ruth Maryland (HRM) is one of the nation’s leading domestic violence centers and since 1977 has helped thousands of battered women and their children find safety and security.

Security in and around HRM is vital for the protection of residents and staff. While they had never experienced any incidents or a threat, in 2006 it was determined that security should be strengthened and the decision was made to upgrade facility security by installing a video surveillance system. To meet these needs, House of Ruth Maryland turned to Techmark Corporation, a local Baltimore company experienced in designing and building life safety systems that address safety and security risks at facilities such as House of Ruth Maryland.

Techmark first conducted a facility security analysis to ascertain vulnerability points and then met with personnel from HRM to prioritize needs and establish a project plan and design. Integral to the system design was the requirement for a video management system (VMS) that would allow cameras to be securely monitored, recorded, administered and accessed from any authorized workstation. The final design developed and installed by Techmark included 22 video surveillance cameras controlled and managed by an OnSSI video management system. In addition to the camera control and video management aspects of the design, Techmark was also able to integrate the VMS software with the facility’s electronic door locks for a total comprehensive security solution.

Business partners Terri Annis and Rebecca Heaton are owners of Techmark Corporation, that implemented the video management software that provides HRM staff with situational awareness both inside and outside the facility.

According to Annis, “The system provides complete control of every camera and also advanced motion detection so if an operator looks away momentarily and then looks back at the monitor, they immediately know if there was motion or whether someone was at the door in view of the camera.”

They can then take whatever necessary actions policies demand. Inside the facility, cameras are located in communal spaces like the kitchen and hallways so that staff can monitor activity and ensure that everyone is protected.”

Sandi Timmins, executive director of House of Ruth Maryland, explains that the system is more than just a tool for security.

“Our operating philosophy allows the women to come and go as needed, without restriction,” she said. “If there is some question or concern when a woman leaves as to whether she will come back or when she will come back, we can review the recorded images for indications. What time did she leave? Did she have her children with her? It’s very helpful for us to have this information.”

Timmins said the same is true for monitoring the children.

“We have school buses coming and going all day long because we take kids to their home schools as well as coming here. The system is recording that activity and we can monitor it live or access any of it quickly if something looks suspicious or we need to verify something,” she said.

The system’s primary purpose is to enhance the security and safety of the residents, staff and premises and its value was made abundantly clear when an incident did occur. When a spouse followed a resident back to HRM and began assaulting the woman as she tried to gain entry, staff saw what was happening and was able to secure her safety and prevent him from coming in. Ultimately, the recorded video of the assault was used in prosecuting and convicting the spouse. 

“Our staff lives in a state of alert and even though it doesn’t happen very often, we make it very clear that the potential for danger is quite high. It isn’t that we may have a problem, it’s when we’re going to have a problem,” Timmins said. “Everyone is mindful of the fact there is a video surveillance system in place and it brings tremendous peace of mind to the staff.”

Annis learned of this incident on a recent follow-up visit to House of Ruth Maryland to discuss upgrading the system with an additional six cameras. The gravity of the incident brought into focus the importance of the video surveillance system in keeping the residents and staff safe. Annis proposed that, along with the additional cameras, the video management system be upgraded to OnSSI’s new Ocularis platform. Knowing HRM would not be able to fund the VMS upgrade, Annis offered to search for alternate means of securing the new equipment.

A phone call to OnSSI and one to its regional manufacturer’s rep Security Products Marketing quickly put the wheels in motion and a commitment was made to provide a complementary Ocularis upgrade to House of Ruth Maryland. Techmark Corporation is responsible for implementing the new software solution.

“Knowing what House of Ruth Maryland manages to do and how far they will go to protect residents and staff, making sure they have the latest and best technology is the least we can do,” Annis shared.


PROJECTS in the News



Friedman Memorial Airport (SUN), which provides air service facilities to south-central Idaho and the Sun Valley resort area, has become the first airport in the country to implement Quantum Secure’s new SAFE for Aviation v4.5 software suite. The physical identity and access management software solution is expected to save hundreds of man-hours for airport management by streamlining the complete lifecycle of physical identities and automating related processes.

“Given the complexity of security requirements in an airport environment, timely and effective identity management procedures are a necessity,” Jain said. “SAFE for Aviation is a holistic and judicious approach to addressing those needs.” Read the full story at

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Verint® Systems Inc. announced that a large mid-Atlantic-based county in the United States is benefitting from the Audiolog™ for Public Safety solution in its centralized 911 operation. The communications center, which receives and responds to emergency calls for the county’s police and fire departments, was faced with challenging technical requirements that Verint helped address through a solution design that accommodates the county’s unique, redundant recording environment.

The communications center serves as a first step in handling citizens’ calls for police and fire emergencies. Since implementing Verint’s software two years ago, the emergency services organization has further integrated the Verint Audiolog solution with its Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) system to track dynamic radio alias changes from CAD mobile data terminals. Doing so has helped it track and identify radio communications by radio alias as managed in the CAD system and updated by field personnel, simplifying the search and retrieval of recorded radio transmissions based upon the alias assigned to specific personnel in the CAD.

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Bosch Security video surveillance and evacuation solutions are being used on the new driverless metro line in Milan. The longest metro system in Italy, the Milan metro, has a total length of 92 kilometers and 101 stations and a daily ridership of more than one million people. To secure this transport system, Bosch Security Systems is supporting Milan’s new driverless metro line 5, which opened earlier this year, with a security solution that combines video surveillance and public-address communication for managing passenger information and evacuation measures. Due to the peculiarity of the city’s ancient and magnificent architecture and the resulting constraints, lines of communication between the single security components needed to be as minimally invasive as possible. This was why the decision was made to install a wireless LAN network to cover the 13 kilometers of line, along with 19 new stations, where video cameras and a public address system needed to be integrated.

The main tasks of the surveillance and evacuation solution were to provide video monitoring and passenger movement control on trains and in stations. This included providing public information while guaranteeing increased passenger control and safety, as well as the management of any system alarms and diagnostics together with continuous event recording.

Ansaldo STS was in charge of designing the video surveillance and public address system and was supported by system integrator Tyco. The project included 400 vandal-resistant FlexiDome cameras, 10-bit digital processing technology, video and audio signal transmission encoders, as well as 10 iSCSI storage units from Bosch Security. The Praesideo system was selected as the evacuation component and installed in each station, connected via LAN. All sub-systems operate independently, even in the event of a network failure or other outage, providing maximum operability and thus maximum security. Finally, all the systems supplied by Bosch Security were integrated via a software development kit (SDK) in the control room to form one complete solution. For information, visit

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Milestone Systems provided the underlying technology for an integrated new learning technology system called MedVu, a video capture system for medical students enrolled at the University of St Andrews School of Medicine. 

MedVu enables St Andrews’ medical students to record, delete, share, bookmark and present video evidence of key practical medical experience in the areas of clinical and communications skills. This video evidence forms part of the portfolio that all UK medical students need to gather during their seven-year training to become practicing doctors. MedVu is also being used by the school’s post graduate researchers to gather and analyze evidence to support important medical research projects.

MedVu is based on a customized integration of Milestone XProtect® Enterprise open platform IP VMS, XProtect® Transact and XProtect® Smart Client. Milestone Certified Partner King Communications & Security Ltd worked closely with Milestone’s professional services team to complete both front and back-end system customizations.

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Key control systems from Morse Watchmans, the industry’s premier manufacturer of key control and asset management solutions, are in place at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport to maintain strict security procedures for the safekeeping and access of facility keys. Installed throughout the airport complex for use in all back of house operations (i.e. mechanical, fleet pool, maintenance, etc.), the various KeyWatcher Illuminated key control cabinets enable controlled access to keys and provide forensic capabilities such as automated tracking, alarm and reporting functions. KeyWatcher systems used at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport were configured and installed by Genesis Resource Inc., a provider of Morse Watchmans’ electronic key control systems.

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PRD International, manufacturer of Polaroid Professional Security Systems, announced it will be an official provider of surveillance systems to more than 7,200 Burger King franchises. RSI (Retail Services Inc.), the Burger King-owned provider of “approved goods and services” for all franchises, approved and selected the Polaroid line of CCTV surveillance systems to be used at all locations. New York Security Systems Inc. will be the integrator.

“After a careful and thorough evaluation process, we feel the Polaroid products and post-sales support will best serve our franchises,” explained Eddie Chirino, equipment and facilities purchasing manager, RSI. “Franchise owners will be able to remotely monitor their restaurants on an iPad, tablet, smartphone or computer with their Polaroid surveillance systems. The 10-year warranty will give them a feeling of confidence in their surveillance investment.”

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LED illuminators from Raytec were installed in the world’s largest bauxite mine in western Australia. The mine currently produces around 23 million tonnes of bauxite a year and was looking to improve overall efficiency by upgrading its site lighting and conveyor belt lighting.

The conditions that light fittings operate under on site are harsh. They include vibration, dust, heat, heavy rain, and long running times; all of which affect the performance and life span of the illumination. Operation in these conditions can often lead to premature failure, causing production downtime during maintenance/ replacement.

After a successful trial of Raytec’s RAYLUX Urban illuminators, the mine was confident that the illuminators could satisfy all its requirements. Raytec illuminators delivered a consistent performance over the 12 month trial and continue to run.

  “The new Raytec illuminators have revolutionised the way we work,” said the control system engineer at the mine. “Previously we were making bulb changes every two or three months, but the RAYLUX illuminators have allowed us to significantly increase productivity because of their reliability and need for no maintenance.”