Evolución de los sistemas de notificación de pánico

During the past few years, the “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” commercials on TV have become the target of many jokes. All humor aside, the seriousness of the commercial’s message is unfortunately lost in its delivery.
Most of the alarm/panic systems on the market require an activation of some sort to notify the authorities that you need assistance. Simply calling out for help won’t get the attention you need if you live alone. You must activate a wireless panic button that might be dangling from your neck, or you have to press something wired to the alarm panel to create an alarm condition. Then you have to assume that you have fallen in a room where a direct-connect or dial-up line of communication is terminated with a speaker of some sort capable of both hearing and emitting voice patterns.
Personal panic systems become more necessary as we grow older. No one wants to be stranded in the living room or bathroom with a broken leg or hip without hope that someone is on the way to help. But if you are going to offer your customer a viable solution, you need to know what is available.
At one time, all you could offer was a panic button on a nightstand or coffee table. It was a remote device roughly the size of a pack of cigarettes with a 9V battery inside. The battery was usually red in color with a black cat for a logo, and the button had a large area on the front that clicked loudly when it was pressed. Because of the design, it was not uncommon for the police or paramedics to be summoned when all the customer was trying to do was open his or her garage door. The buttons for both systems were almost identical in appearance, and both required a single press of a button. That problem was addressed when a two-button transmitter requiring both buttons pressed to generate an alarm was released.
Linear’s wireless design was simple but effective: an AM signal tuned to 305 MHz without supervision features. You could have from 1 to 100 (or more) transmitters programmed to any single-channel receiver with hardly a concern to its operation. Soon after, Linear came out with a slim-line model transmitter tuned to 303.875 MHz. The design was cleaner, and it didn’t have the same false-alarm problem the earlier models seemed to carry. (The D-21, for example, used to transmit an alarm signal at random as the battery weakened, picking up speed as the battery neared the end.) Linear also offered 4- and 8-channel receivers for the relatively new expanded systems that required a breakdown of rooms, areas, or alarm applications. Aside from the ever-frustrating sporadic false alarms caused by Air Force One or other military aircraft that happened to fly overhead, problems were kept to a minimum. Signal supervision and battery status transmissions were still a few years away.
In the late ’80s and early ’90s, Honeywell dabbled with spread spectrum technology before designing its own FM-based line of transmitters. Tuned to 315 MHz with a varied transmission pattern, these devices could reach 900 feet in an open-field testing environment. ITI was a competitor with its AM-based transmitter, which could span more than 1,000 feet in an open field. Since then improvements have come out that helped develop today’s RF product line.
Inovonics uses a spread spectrum with a frequency range of 902 to 928 MHz. The idea is to use the higher band in an effort to transmit through some of the basic architectural obstacles. Spread spectrum sends out multiple signals across a 10 MHz window with the understanding that one or more of these signals will make it back to the receiver.
Ademco 5800
Ademco’s wireless system transmits at 345 MHz with a minimum effective range of 200 feet. I used quite a bit of Ademco’s RF product line, and I experienced the least amount of headaches when I used the 5800-series product line.
The concept of Bosch’s Security Escort System is impressive. The brains of the system are PC based, and it uses a series of receivers located throughout a business to provide to the monitoring facility a close approximation of where the panic button was pressed. Each wireless button is fully supervised and individually assigned to a user. The database supporting the system can store photo images and personal information of the owner of the transmitter. When a wireless button is pressed, the signal reaches out and hits as many receivers it can that happen to fall within its range. The central console then determines which receivers heard the signal transmission the best and flags the possible location on a computer screen. The recommended range between each of these receivers is around 300 feet for outdoor applications and 80 feet for indoor applications. Those specifications really mean that the environment hosting the RF signals will determine the range of the receivers.
Regardless of how many bells and whistles these systems offer, the basic limitations still apply. Transmitters from yesteryear used 9V carbon batteries to power them and lasted anywhere from six months to a year depending on the amount of usage they were put through. There was even a time when certain alarm companies thought alkaline batteries were bad and burned out transmission circuits. Today’s transmitters use 3V lithium (and alike) batteries (coin or barrel type) and can last as long as five years. The transmission range is still anywhere from 300 to 1,000 feet, but that depends on the physical construction of the room or building.
RF interference is still an issue, and it’s only going to get worse. Most of these transmitters still operate between 300 and 320 MHz, and so do other products. Garage door openers, wireless TV and cable transmitters, and other things will interrupt or bury signal transmissions. You could try to market a stronger transmitter, but the FCC still controls that piece of it.
Even as a field engineer, I learned how to increase the standard transmitter’s range from 300 feet to more than 1,200 feet by simply adding a 10-inch wire to a solder junction on the circuit board. It worked great. I used this modification for several problem accounts, and most of the headaches disappeared.
The best way to protect customers is to know where they need the most help. Bathrooms should be high on the list. I used to locate panic buttons on the wall next to the commode as well as one behind the door about a foot off the ground. That way the customer had a 50/50 chance of being near the device when trouble occurred. Panic buttons should also be in the bedroom, either sitting on the nightstand or mounted to the wall next to the bed.
Also, high-risk customers should wear a pendant or belt-clip supported wireless panic button as often as possible. Of course, the amount or type of devices will depend on the physical or mental limitations of the customer. Entering a code sequence or pressing a button in a predetermined pattern won’t work if the customer is in a lot of pain or on the verge of passing out. Simple activations are key, and a quick response from the proper agencies is invaluable. It’s not a commercial — it’s real life.
Steve Filippini is a senior technician with more than 20 years of experience in the security and installation industry. He can be reached at ulano5@aol.com.

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