Article Archive
Net Talon
Demonstrates Virtual Fireground

NetTalon, Inc, with the assistance and cooperation of the State of Louisiana and the City of Baton Rouge, conducted a demonstration of its police and fire Virtual Command Technology in October.? NetTalon is introducing an unparalleled ability to provide virtual, visual validation to police and fire departments within seconds of a developing emergency. Time is crucial in a fire or security incident, aided by NetTalon's Virtual Command Technology, fire and police responders will reach the fire or intrusion emergency with their incident planning and preparation well in progress enabling units to respond immediately on arrival at the scene.

Virtual Command Technology can be of enormous significance to the future security of states and cities. Two weeks of vigorous testing have been witnessed by the State of Louisiana and the City of Baton Rouge including the Chief of Police, the Fire Chief, the Attorney General's office, the Insurance Commissioner, the State Facilities Department and other local and state officials.

?The live security and fire demonstration was conducted at the A. Z. Young office building in downtown Baton Rouge. The Baton Rouge Special Response Team and the Baton Rouge B Shift took part in live emergency response exercises, and attendees viewed the operations in real time from the Baton Rouge Welcome Center using Virtual Command Technology.

Fire Department Chief Ed Smith said, "This new system will revolutionize the tactics of first response."

Police Chief Jeff LeDuff said, "If law enforcement officials in Pennsylvania had this technology the first shot in Lancaster would never have occurred."

Providing a Virtual Presence

The demonstration showed how the NetTalon Virtual Command system gives firefighters and police officers a virtual presence within an affected building. Within seconds of the alert they can understand a developing emergency and react to it, as opposed to conventional response technology where many minutes may pass and the responders still have no real information to go on.

In this new concept of emergency management, a facility equipped with NetTalon sensors is networked directly to police and fire department dispatch and operations centers. Every responding entity receives notification at once, eliminating time-consuming rerouting.

Emergency notification reaches the fire or police responders directly, and in seconds they can view the inside of the building, virtually "looking at" the emergency. The alarm control panel in the building has a database containing all floor plans with icons representing sensors. In an emergency, sensor conditions are updated every second by changing their color, from "not in alarm" green to "early warning" orange and "alarm" red. The change of color shows the observer the nature of the developing emergency.

Video is integrated into the system where it's critical to identify an intruder or validate the presence of a victim in a refuge room.

The inbound fire apparatus and police cruisers access the same information en route, so they can see the incident and complete preliminary incident planning as they drive to the building. By the time they arrive at the building everyone has an assignment and incident mitigation begins immediately.

How is Virtual Fireground Command Different?

?Today the fire department knows little before it gets to the building. The incident commander has to go to the alarm panel to determine what's in alarm. A recon crew is sent in - essentially blind - and comes back to report, and then the commander works out an attack and rescue plan.? Much vital time is lost before the responders even start fighting the fire.

With the NetTalon system the alarm panel is in the apparatus allowing the first fire captain and incident commander to conduct size up as the first engine leaves the fire house and fine-tune their attack plans en route to the fireground.

In a real emergency a number of people typically get out safely because they're in an uninvolved part of the building. In this demonstration, people in the involved part of the building who can't get out will go to designated refuge rooms on each floor and alert their presence. These refuge rooms are fitted with cameras for verification by the fireground commander, so that informed rescue procedures can begin immediately.

Smoke detectors and digital temperature sensors throughout the building enable the commander to prioritize rescue operations according to where the fire and smoke are closest to the refuge rooms.

Virtual Fireground Command Lesson Learned

  • Virtual Command provides a time advantage to the fire service.
  • There is an immediate ability by fire dispatch to validate a working fire.
  • Verification of a working fire allows fireground commanders to request additional resources.
  • Apparatus equipped with Tough notebooks, wireless connectivity enables each captain to locate and monitor the fire's behavior, its location and spread and to identify any refuge rooms activated.
  • False alarms are easily identified.
  • Firefighter safety enhanced.

How is Virtual Incident Command Different?

Ninety eight percent of today's security alarms are false. Today's police departments know little of the incident prior to arrival on the scene. Police respond to an electronic alarm incident by dispatching an officer to investigate the situation. Only after a discovery of forced entry are units dispatched to an actual incident.? Those officers must then enter the building not knowing if perpetrators are present, how many or if they left the premise.? They are forced to make a room by room, floor by floor search.

With NetTalon, an actual incident is verified in seconds and responding officers can determine the point of entry, locate and track the intruders using the Rugged notebooks. Video cameras can be used to obtain subject description of perpetrators.

Virtual Incident Command Lesson Learned

  • False alarms are eliminated.
  • Actual incidents are verified.
  • Adequate resources are dispatched to the scene.
  • Mitigation planning takes place en route.
  • Continuous ability to track perpetrators allows incident commander to obtain tactical control of the building.

October Demonstration

Attendees observed a security incident that involved a simulated nighttime break-in by an individual who plans an arson action. The incident was responded to by the Baton Rouge Special Response Team. Responding units tracked the perpetrator from the cruisers with a tactical backup from police department operations as well as police dispatch. Attendees monitored the tactical radio network during the incident and watched the police make the arrest.

While the perpetrator was in the building he lit a fire that was slow to start and put the building in alarm after the police left the scene with the perpetrator in custody. The building went into fire alarm with B Shift Baton Rouge Fire Department responding to the developing fire.? B Shift was dispatched to the developing fire observing the fire location and behavior from their Tough notebooks. People working late in the building unaware of the incident were trapped by the fire and found safety in a refuge room. From their cell phones they notified the department of their presence. The attendees monitored the tactical network during the operations.


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