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An AV System to Train Firemen, Part 1

Jun 12, 2012 10:44 AM, With Bennett Liles

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Part 1

Editor’s note: For your convenience, this transcription of the podcast includes timestamps. If you are listening to the podcast and reading its accompanying transcription, you can use the timestamps to jump to any part of the audio podcast by simply dragging the slider on the podcast to the time indicated in the transcription.

Outfitting a fire station with a state of the art AV system involves some special considerations and a few handy tricks. Andrew Van Veld and Circle City Audio installed a system for training that’s easy for firemen to run, and they did it all while the station was fully online and operational. That’s coming right up on the SVC Podcast.

Andrew Van Veld, it’s nice having you on the SVC Podcast from Indianapolis and with Circle City Audio and tell us a little bit about Circle City Audio.

Business started in 1995 it was one of those good stories about how a hobby turned into work. We do all sorts of projects; about three quarters of our work is HOW whether it’s new construction or retro. We also do a different school or other government type of things as well as commercial projects. There are five of us that can do various aspects of the field work, a little bit of office help. We do sound, video, both projection and camera systems, lighting, all of the AV trades. [Timestamp: 1:27]

OK, well, that’s enough to keep five people real busy for sure. This is an especially interesting one because I don’t think we’ve ever covered an AV installation in a fire station. At first thought you might say, “Well what kind of AV stuff do they need other than paging speakers or a big bell,” or something but like everything else, it’s not that simple anymore. For one thing, they do a lot of training there, so was there anything especially challenging about outfitting a fire station with an AV project?

There were really two focuses on this project, one would be true with any fire station some of the problems they had were the firemen—because this is a facility where the firemen live when they’re on their 24 hour shifts so when they’re working in the engine bay or exercising or doing whatever they’re doing in the facility they like to have music or maybe watch a movie so the tendency is to bring boom boxes in and then when there’s a call that comes in on the radio system they can’t always hear the call. It’s not that all the kittens are stuck in the tree still but the call isn’t clear and they’ve got issues and they’re just using their walky talkies so one of the tasks was to outfit the building with a system that would basically pause or duck when there was an alarm call. The other thing on this facility was they were making a training center for classroom training so not the outdoor kind of fold your hoses and climb the ladder training but best practices and all those kind of things and for all of the staff in the territory so they were trying to make it not only work in the classroom with the normal kind of things with a computer and Power Point and a projector but also the ability to record the trainings for future use as well as stream them to the other two fire stations so staff that are on duty in other stations could also observe the training but still be local to where they needed to be in case there was an alarm run. [Timestamp: 3:26]

Yeah I guess when you first think about training firemen you picture them out there stacking hoses and burning down abandoned houses for practice and they certainly do that but there’s also a much more modern aspect to the training. They’ve got sound, video and graphics and you used some Xantech gear to do that, so what all is controlled by the Xantech touchpanel and Web Intelligent Controller? I think that’s what you used.

In the training room is where the touchpanel is located. It’s right by the podium so the trainer or presenter can run the system, which is switch what computer is being used or there’s a document camera and things like that so all of the basic functionality for training is managed at the touch panel as well as all of the audio throughout the building with a couple of minor exceptions, two of the rooms are outfitted with surround sound theater systems that were done from a consumer prospective so those systems we’re not fully commanding and integrating but we are muting them when there’s a call so we did have a little bit of control going out there. The televisions in those rooms are also controlled so we can put the training in those rooms as well as on the streaming system. So all of the functionality or all of the AV gear is done with a combination let’s say of the touch panel and the WIC, Web Intelligent Controller. The reason why there are both of those, it’s kind of two-fold, with the Xantech line certain things work easier out of the touch panel, for example infrared control is smoother and simpler especially when you have a remote device that you don’t have the IR codes for and you have to use the learning remote that’s very easy with the touch panel. The WIC, the web piece, does really well with managing the Ethernet devices so we have these little IPRS232 gadgets which is another Xantech piece, there are ten of those in the system. They’re running the televisions, they’re running the bi amp Nexia which is the audio DSP, as well as a Kramer video switcher. So those things are managed over Ethernet and a WIC is the right device for that as well as we’ve made a simple website so if it’s a guest trainer, for example, who isn’t familiar with how to run this system the fire department’s trainer can sit in the back of the room with a computer or an iPad or a Smartphone and control the system over the network without having to get up to the touch panel. [Timestamp: 5:58]

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