How State and Local Government Benefits from Surge Protection
State and local municipal governments are where the rubber meets the road in terms of public policy, basic education, court systems, transit and a wide range of protective services including fire departments, police, and social services. It would be difficult to overstate the importance of these activities in maintaining a functional and civil society; yet in many areas, municipal governments remain in an endless process of prioritizing and reprioritizing purchases and services to address their objectives while never quite having enough resources to cover all the activities they would like to provide.
This difficult situation is only made worse when electronic equipment doesn’t last as long as it should, or when a key system is knocked offline or out of service by an unexpected equipment failure. Unplanned equipment expenses are bad enough, but the downtime and extra costs incurred until these systems are restored can place municipalities at risk; especially if video surveillance, access control and fire alarm systems, or emergency call centers are out of service.
One way to help stretch budgets, and to avoid the risk of system downtime, would be to protect critical electronic systems and equipment from the damaging effects of electrical surges. The best way to protect electronic equipment from surges is to install surge protection devices on every potential electrical pathway that leads into the equipment.
For video surveillance systems, the head-end network equipment as well and any externally mounted cameras should have protection. Something to consider when choosing your network surge protectors, using products with shielded Rapid-Replacement Modules are easier to install and maintain; and also provide grounding when STP cabling is used.
For access control and phone systems, web servers, desktop computers and many other critical systems, protection should be installed on incoming AC power lines and any wired connections to networks, antennae, sensors, and alert devices. To ensure proper protection of magnetic door locks, always remember to install surge protection devices inside the door, the control panel and at the card reader/keypad.
For fire alarm systems, not only should you protect the AC power supply line, but also the signaling, initiating and notification circuits, along with any outdoor antenna connections. When installing surge protection on critical systems such as fire and life safety, you should consider using SPDs with an audible alarm. When such a unit stops functioning, it alerts the user – loudly – that it is time for a replacement. This virtually eliminates the problem of an SPD becoming non-functional without the user realizing it, leaving your system fully at risk. Ideally, the unit should also alert the user via a flashing red LED light for visual confirmation, and offer dry contacts for connectivity to an alarm panel and direct notifications to management, if those are available.
The reason surge protection devices are necessary is because electrical surges are much more common – and damaging – than most people realize. Surges are created by large, externally generated electrical events such as lightning strikes, power plant grid switching, blackouts/brownouts, and similar events. There are also many smaller, daily surge events generated by machinery startups, welding, HVAC systems, and many other common internal and nearby external sources. These smaller events have a cumulative damaging effect on electronic equipment and are truly the “silent killer” of many systems. SPDs can help prevent this damage, extend equipment life and improve overall system uptime.
Learn more about how DITEK can help provide peace of mind for municipal governments while providing the best surge protection the industry has to offer. Contact us today!