Your emergency response center is a critical hub for community health and safety deployment. To do your job, you rely on a complex network of software, supported by hardware that connects to the building power. The electronic equipment you rely on faces three major power-interruption dangers: lightning, static electricity discharge, and electric al surges. Improperly grounded equipment can be damaged, data can be lost, and the vital services that you provide can be disrupted.
According to experts at Electrical Construction & Maintenance, it only takes 25 electrostatic volts to irreparably damage an integrated circuit.*
And Markel Specialty Insurance shares:
Claims involving lightning damage can be significant and impact your ability to operate effectively. According to the National Lightning Safety Institute, damages caused by lightning may exceed $5 to $6 billion per year...These damages typically involve various electronics critical to daily operations like computers, phones, phone lines, and printers. Without these tools, valuable time and stored data can be lost.**
That type of disruption can lead to a waterfall of damage - CPUs, VoiP, radio equipment, mapping. In the 911 world, that can mean graver consequence.
Recent headlines attest to power-surge and static disruption danger:
Multnomah County emergency dispatchers couldn't accept 911 calls for about a half-hour Wednesday after a power outage took out their phone and radio systems, marking what authorities believe is the longest ever service disruption for the state's largest emergency dispatcher. The outage was caused by a faulty component in one of the bureau's two uninterruptible power supply units, according to Paulsen. The malfunction caused an electrical surge that shut down the second unit and took out the power. (2017 - Multnomah, OR)
An outage caused a headache for 911 dispatchers across the state on Wednesday morning. Around 11 a.m. officials with the Enid Police Department say the state-wide 911 operating system was disabled. (2016 - Enid, OK)
In a major metropolitan area like NYC, 30 minutes of disruptive service could mean 100+ opportunities lost to help someone with a medical or safety emergency.
While the need for a ground is not a tech trend per se, it does protect your critical technology, no matter how systems designs are trending.
Grounding Your PSAP Workstation
While most critical grounding work is performed by site electricians, PSAP teams should look to their product providers for education and reasonable support. With regard to console workstations, manufacturers should consider the challenges faced by centers during remodels, installations and maintenance periods. These challenges can be addressed through design, materials selections, and third party testing and certification.
Before we dive into console workstation features that can mitigate ground-compromising damage, let’s uncover how and why the ground plays a critical role in maintaining your mission critical work.