Warning Systems in Residential Community Zones
The provision of security and early warning to the civilian population takes different forms in different locations and types of settlement. Different warning systems are required in scattered dwellings, isolated slums (such as Rio de Janeiro), or residential communities heavily concentrated in one place. Moreover, different communities face different risks.
Residential community zones are densely populated, often partially organised communities of citizens that occupy a relatively small area, sometimes located at a greater distance from the inner city. Therefore, it is necessary to think about possible threats and appropriate methods of warning their residents.
What threatens residential community zones
The higher the population density, the more severe threat in an emergency. However, the type of threat also depends on the exact location. The most common hazards that affect residential zones include, but are not limited to:
- Fires, especially in areas close to forests
- Floods near rivers or bodies of water
- Cloudbursts, snowstorms, and windstorms
These risks should be considered when designing and setting up a warning system, i.e. what type of warning system the community will need (stationary and/or mobile sirens, control panels/units, or possibly SMS alerts) and what measures and procedures they will have to apply in the event of a particular threat. However, there are also many unexpected or relatively unpredictable threats, including earthquakes, leaks of chemicals, or criminal activity.
Setting up a warning system
Stationary sirens are the traditional means of warning the public in usual, relatively small areas. A selection of modern electronic sirens can be made to suit specific conditions; for example, a Gibon siren’s output ranges from 300 W to 1,200 W (or potentially even more). Sirens can sound various acoustic signals but can be tested silently, which means they will never disturb people’s everyday lives. Also, they can cover the whole residential area very quickly.
What can be more complicated, however, is siren activation and control. Community organisation and communication between neighbours and local residents are essential, and so is familiarisation with the emergency and evacuation plan. It is advisable to set up a group of responsible persons with access to the control unit. This unit, such as Telegrafia’s LCU 15, can select, activate, and deactivate warning signals and perform silent tests. The operators can also make live-voice announcements using a microphone and provide the residents with verbal instructions if necessary.
However, the sounding of sirens should not be the only warning method in a residential area. A study examining siren alerts during the 2011 tornado in the US state of Missouri revealed that up to 16 per cent of the residents did not hear the warning or receive any other notification of an incoming disaster. Therefore, in addition to sirens, it is recommended that the siren system should be extended to include other forms of warning, such as text messages or directly linked to the fire department.
Other specifics of residential zone warning systems
The scope of warning and set-up of the system also depends on available resources. They can automatically respond to the so-called ‘critical’ or threshold values (measured by smoke sensors or water level sensors, for example), and they can be programmed, thus controlled through a smartphone or tablet.
How residents will react to warnings is a question of their organisation. Nonetheless, the system can be adapted to suit the community needs. If some residents are elderly and therefore less mobile, a short text message may not be an ideal choice. Alternatively, multinational residents living in the area will not understand a voice message.
Densely populated areas are susceptible to major damage in risky situations if they are inadequately secured. That is why modern warning and notification systems supplied by companies like Telegrafia have become popular in residential communities. Modern electronic warning systems can be customised. Customising the warning plan for a particular residential zone (adjusting the system coverage and settings) will not burden the community budget. On the contrary, a well-designed warning system will protect human life and property at a compelling price.
The article was written by
Zuzana works at Telegrafia at the marketing department. Her main responsibility is to keep an eye on Google Ads and Facebook. Online marketing is changing all the time, giving her the chance to expand her knowledge constantly and put it into real practice. After work, she relaxes best by going to the gym and watching good films.