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Emergency Communications Management in Tornado Alley

In April 2014, the City of Moore, Oklahoma opened a state-of-the-art Public Safety Center as part of the City’s disaster recovery plan following a Category EF-5 tornado in May of 2013. RGB Spectrum solutions are a vital part of the new 1,050 square foot Emergency Operations Center (EOC) and 9-1-1 Communications Center housed in the facility, which is located in the heart of “Tornado Alley.”

In the event of severe weather and other emergencies, key personnel including the chiefs of police and fire, director of emergency management, and the media, gather in the EOC to collaborate, view data, track, assess, and respond as the situation develops. During quieter times, Moore’s EOC is used for training local, regional, and federal emergency response teams.

The new EOC’s advanced capabilities are an enormous improvement over the prior setup with a separate 9-1-1 call center that had no access to visual data, only telephones, making rescue and recovery efforts difficult to coordinate.

The challenge for Jeff Brokaw, Audio\Video Designs systems consultant, was to design a unified AV system that could display a variety of information sources simultaneously to all concerned parties. The system had to deliver rock solid performance and clear images in any weather conditions. The system also had to recover quickly from power outages and be simple to operate.

RGB Spectrum’s MediaWall 1900 video wall processor was chosen to meet the requirements, with proven 24/7 reliability. The MediaWall video wall processor supports two Panasonic edge-blended projectors feeding a 30-foot video wall. Up to eight inputs can be displayed simultaneously, including outdoor cameras, computers, a cable TV set top box, an Apple TV, and a DVD player. The system is controlled by presets on a computer control system and by iPad or iPhone. Video wall processor output can also be distributed to any of 24 flat panel displays mounted on flanking walls.

The new system has enhanced communication across the emergency response community, making for better decisions and faster recovery. “The system works wonderfully!” said Gayland Kitch, the City of Moore’s emergency management director. “With all the extreme weather conditions we have here, it’s in constant use and never fails to deliver.”

Robert Rogers, Audio\Video Designs principal adds, “There’s no doubt the coordination is much better now that everyone has access to the same information. We can view data from satellites, helicopters, roof cameras, storm spotters – space, air, and ground – simultaneously and in real-time.”

Another satisfied customer.