The St. Charles, Mo., fire department uses Talkaphone’s ECO PHONE to stay in touch with people who need emergency assistance when no one is at the fire station. Courtesy of Talkaphone

Many manufacturers in the security industry have worked to develop eco-friendly products, many of which use less energy and are made from environmentally friendly materials. In some cases, these products also save costs while increasing efficiency.

An example of how a “green” solution worked out for the best can be found in St. Charles, Mo. According to Richard Olney, the town’s assistant fire chief, residents or travelers would pull up to a fire station during an emergency or needing help when no one was there.

“We could be out on a call; we could be anywhere,” Oney said. “And there’s nothing we can do for them if we don’t know they’re there.”

Inspired by the emergency communication systems installed on the campus of nearby Lindenwood University, the fire department has installed the ECO TOWER emergency phone tower from Niles, Ill.-based Talkaphone. Now even if no one is at the firehouse, people in crisis can still call for help over one of the two towers installed at the city’s fire stations.

The phones are connected straight to police dispatch, ensuring that the call will always be answered. Additionally, the clearly marked ECO TOWER is extremely visible, making it impossible for people to miss.

According to Oney, the fact that the installation required just one person was a major advantage of the ECO TOWER. The tower’s lightweight aluminum construction not only helps reduce ecological footprint, it also requires less people for installation, cutting down on project costs.

When asked why the department chose the green option, Oney answered, “Weight, price and a quick install time … With the footing, connections and getting all the internal settings right, it only took three hours to install. It was a one-person job.”

Oney is considering options for more of the towers around town in St. Charles, including first responder stations, public facilities and maybe even senior centers. There have also been discussions about placing the same emergency phone towers along some of the popular running and cycling trails throughout the area.

The ECO TOWER, which also features substantial transportation costs savings, stands nine feet tall and has an always-lit LED Blue Light to help people recognize it as an emergency phone.

“If they were the normal steel towers, the ones where a whole team has to install them, I’d have a very hard time selling it,” Oney says. “But these give us a lot of options.”