Toledo Hospital CCTV Project
The Toledo Hospital in Toledo, Ohio recently choose Torrence of Perrysburg, Ohio a highly specialized security contractor to provide a surveillance video solution worthy of its new state-of-the-art campus tower.
In 2008, the Toledo Hospital and Toledo Children’s Hospital opened “The Renaissance.” The 10-story tower is credited with the rebirth of the original complex, which is now able to offer an enhanced patient care experience and expanded services for communities throughout a 27-county region.
Operated by the nonprofit ProMedica Health System, the 500,000-square-foot tower houses vital clinical areas, including a surgical intensive care unit (ICU), adult intermediate care units, a newborn ICU, general pediatrics and pediatric hematology/oncology. The facility features 289 private adult and pediatric patient rooms, while a two-story atrium offers an aesthetically pleasing space for patients and visitors to commingle. The interior design throughout the hospital promotes themes of nature and healing, and artistic works are featured to illustrate the healing elements of earth, air, water and sun. Simultaneously reaching new heights are efforts to keep the hospitals’ staff, patients and visitors more secure – an undertaking boosted by a new video surveillance system.
When ProMedica officials were planning for the Renaissance expansion in 2004, new video surveillance capability quickly became part of the mission. The hospital’s existing security command center located on the first floor in the north parking garage had outgrown its dedicated space. The center would have to be enlarged and modernized to accommodate more than 160 cameras that would watch over the new tower.
Torrence Sound Equipment Co., a Perrysburg, Ohio-based systems integrator with a longstanding relationship with the hospital, was awarded the project to have a camera cover every stairwell, every elevator alcove, and all entrance and exit points. Three cameras would also be needed in a new parking lot, and because the hospital’s emergency room is a hot spot, security personnel wanted to keep a close eye on images from cameras covering that area as well.
The new video system needed to provide viewing capability for all cameras in the security control center and from remote sites, since the administrative offices are in a separate building.
After spotting camera locations, the wiring was an expedient endeavor thanks to the new tower’s fiber backbone. With system design work aided by Sylvania, Ohio-based JDRM Engineering, Torrence Sound ran coaxial cable from each camera to a closet on each floor. From there, the video jumps on multimode fiber running to a matrix switch located in a secured room on the basement floor.
In the security control center, a second matrix switch receives video from all pre-existing analog cameras. A new controller provides seamless operation between all the cameras and DVRs.
“An officer with the single controller can seamlessly talk between the two matrix systems because they are integrated together,” says Frank Mramor, sales engineer for Torrence Sound. In fact, video can be viewed from any computer on the network by accessing the digital recorders using Panasonic’s management software.
“I can do it all from my desk,” says Don Sullivan, security technical specialist at Toledo Hospital.
Hospital security personnel wanted to capture one or two images per second on every camera, operating 24/7. The 1.5 terabytes of storage on each DVR allow for a 10- to 15-day review period. If there is a security incident, the event and associated video can be downloaded and preserved as long as necessary, including the date and time of the incident.
The video surveillance solution installed in the hospital’s new state-of-the-art tower was designed by Ken Rahman of JDRM Engineering, Don Sullivan of Toledo Hospital and Frank Mramor of Torrence Sound Equipment Co. “With all the cameras we have added and everything digital now, whatever happens throughout any of our monitored locations, we will likely have some video of it. The system also can protect us from a liability standpoint,” says Sullivan.
In a testament to the pace at which IP-based video solutions have become more accessible in just the past few years, planning for the Renaissance project essentially preceded the emergence of IP affordability. The installation’s use of analog cameras is also proof of the traditional format’s continued viability.
“We had been talking to [Toledo Hospital officials] about cameras for at least two years. At the time, IP was still in its infancy and some of the early cameras were significantly more expensive,” Mramor explains. “The other consideration was we had to integrate more than 100 existing cameras. At that time the technology that integrates analog and IP wasn’t available either.”
So the decision to expand upon the existing analog backbone was based on budgetary considerations and the IT department’s apprehension about accommodating the bandwidth required for IP.
“It wasn’t like an entirely new building in which we’d be starting with a clean sheet of paper. We had to always keep in mind that at some point we are going to have to integrate those existing cameras and some existing digital recording capability into the control center and we wanted to make it as seamless as possible for the officers,” Mramor says. The hospital’s security personnel view video feeds on three 15-inch monitors, eleven 20-inch LCDs and three 42-inch plasma displays. The vendor’s camera types used in the new tower include compact domes for most areas, other models for high contrast lighting areas, plus a few outdoor and indoor pan/tilt/zoom (p/t/z) cameras.
The cameras feature Super Dynamic III (SDIII) technology with 128x dynamic range and pixel-based contrast correction circuitry to maintain image integrity regardless of contrast within a single scene or changing lighting conditions. “We use Panasonic’s SDIII cameras in areas where there are glass partitions and doors,” says Mramor. “The ability to see inside and outside simultaneously has just been phenomenal. It has worked out very well for the hospital.”
Rodney Bosch is the managing editor of Security Sales & Integration magazine.