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Aug 7, 2007
The Sterling Volunteer Fire and Rescue Company located in Sterling, VA is the operations center for volunteer fire and emergency response teams in Northeastern Loudoun County. In 2005, The Sterling Volunteer Fire and Rescue Company decided that the facility's paging system needed an upgrade to correct a number of inefficient features, specifically: the sound quality of incoming pages and other internal announcements; sound coverage; speakers in every necessary area; the ability to properly route specific pages; distinguishing between fire and rescue pages at the beginning of a page; and the ability to turn the bunk room lights off automatically following a critical page. After much consideration, it was decided that Audio Video Group of Frederick, MD was best equipped to develop a unique audio network that improved all of these requirements. Of greatest concern was the ability of the new system to split pages so that non-critical pages would not distract volunteers. This was particularly a problem in the bunks where non-critical pages would sometimes be broadcast in the middle of the night, waking up all of the volunteers for no reason. Because the audio was being broadcast via a single channel method, there was no way to correct this problem. The legacy system also proved to be problematic because incoming pages automatically turned on lights in the facility, but then had to be manually turned off once the page was completed. Audio Video Group devised a solution that met all of these needs using only a single Biamp AudiaSOLO processor and a Biamp Logic Box, in addition to a combination of Bogen and Community speakers throughout the facility and two QSC amplifiers. The AudiaSOLO, configured with eight inputs and eight outputs, was installed for signal routing, automatic volume adjustment, EQ, and speaker and lighting control management. After performing these functions, the AudiaSOLO then distributes audio to an eight channel QSC amplifier for the entire in-house speaker set, and an additional, two-channel QSC amplifier feeds three Community R.5HPT speakers dedicated to reinforcing sound in the large truck bays where volunteers scramble to get ready while listening to important instructions. An ambient noise compensation module in the AudiaSolo keeps the audio level in the bays above the noise floor generated by the truck engines. "Everything went very smoothly with this installation," remarked Dave Lightcap, Director of Engineering, Audio Video Group. "This was a very detailed project for a very important facility in the Sterling community and it was important to us to provide a powerful and reliable system that would enable these firefighters to do their job better – as well as get a good night's rest! The whole team at Audio Video Group really welcomed the challenge that this project presented." Using the Audia® software, Audio Video Group was also able to add a number of additional capabilities, including: priority levels for different incoming signals and the ability for the system to automatically override signals with a lower priority; priority relay control designed to separate fire and rescue signals before broadcast; signal routing so that bunk room speakers only receive critical messages and phone pages; and leveling so that speaker volume is consistent throughout the facility. With the AudiaSOLO and Logic Box, Audio Video Group was also able to add a control component for the bunkroom lighting. Using the Audia software, control signals were created to turn on appropriate lights for fire or rescue units, depending on the type of signal received. The Logic Box emits control signals to Radio Design Labs solid state relays to turn on the appropriate lights and then, approximately two minutes after the lights are turned on, control signals are once again automatically generated to switch the lights off. Ron Claar, Vice President, Sterling Volunteer Fire and Rescue Company agreed that the new configuration solves a lot of the previous problems. "The system accomplishes everything we asked for and expected from the final product. Our volunteers can hear pages much more easily and the fact that unrelated pages in the middle of the night don't distract them – well, you can imagine that feature has been a huge improvement for our teams. We are very pleased with the system's performance. Audio Video Group – Eric Johnson, Dave Lightcap, and their entire team – did a great job." For the improved signal tones that the fire company requested, Audio Video Group kept the two Motorola Minitor radios to receive signals and broadcasts, but used two Bogen digital message repeaters to replay the new tones provided by the Fire Company, in place of the legacy signal tones. Using the AudiaSOLO and Logic Box, the new system automatically mutes the old radio tones, replaces those with the new, more intelligible tones, and then switches back to the radio for the playing of the alert details and instructions. Lightcap expanded on just how easy it was to work with the Biamp components. "The AudiaSOLO does a great job of 'sweetening up' the sound so that it's easier to hear and understand. And Biamp was very helpful throughout the entire process. We worked very closely with Kiley Henner, as well as the company's other engineers, to develop a simple and effective solution for this paging system that turned out to be really quite easy to implement. The client is very happy with the results and we couldn't be happier with the performance of all the products used." About Audio Video Group Located in Frederick, MD, Audio-Video Group (www.audiovideogroup.com) applies decades of experience in custom sound and video to every project, no matter the size or complexity of the need, with the goal of providing the best expert service to help reach any audience within a manageable budget. Audio-Video Group provides comprehensive system design, install, and testing, as well as training support and a full range of equipment and systems for rent or purchase. The company's proven, intentional process ensures that each system is personalized and guaranteed.