- MINNEAPOLIS, MN-The consolidated fire district of Blaine, Spring Lake Park, and Moundsville, MN recently finished a new facility that includes a training center connected to the station. To meet the needs of the community as well as the fire staff, the district contracted Tierney Brothers to install the AV system in the new building. The drawings were completed in March, and in June ground was broken for the facility, however Tierney Brothers didn't begin building until September, leaving them about a month to finish before the October 13th open house.
With a new training center that includes Da-Lite rear-projection screens, the fire district of Blaine, Spring Lake Park, and Moundsville, MN has technology that is intuitively used by both the fire staff and members of the community.
Jane Kennedy, AV sales consultant for Tierney Brothers, worked with engineers and the client to put together a system that would meet everyone's needs. "The client had a very distinct vision of what they wanted: a highly flexible, high quality fire dispatch emergency operations and training center."
Additionally, the system had to be simple for outside groups that would also utilize the facility. Jamieson Phyle, project manager for the install for Tierney Brothers, explained, "It had to be very simple and intuitive so someone who has nothing to do with fire training could come in and make a presentation without a coordinator on hand."
The completed system is centered around two Da-Lite snap-on 7 x 10 foot screens with a custom mirror rear projection setup with a Panasonic 3500 projector, a Crestron 3000 touchpad controller, an Extron 12 x 8 matrix switcher, Crown amps, and in-ceiling speakers, Audiotechnica wireless microphones, and a MP2E processor. The touchpad is set to feed the many sources in the firehouse to the two screens freely. Phyle said, "The way it's laid out is they've got their source material and two screens on the touchpanel. They just select a source and then select which screen to send it to. It's very intuitive." There are several sources from around the facility that can be sent to the screen, including a dedicated computer in the podium, a laptop connection in the podium, a document camera in the podium, cable TV, digital media, and there's a training facility in the back of the facility with three separate computer signals. There is also a SMART Sympodium that gives them annotation ability.
Another unique aspect of the facility is the presence of video messaging for internal communications throughout, including the lobby and offices. Kennedy said, "The fire staff commented on how it gave them a cohesive feel immediately. It can give them information instantly if they're being dispatched."
In the conference room there is a standard ceiling mounted projector and screen, but also another SMART board for annotations. The fire staff does a lot of visual presentations and they wanted the ability to be mobile. Kennedy said, "They are able to send annotated files to laptops in the fire trucks to give up to date information even when they're already dispatched."
The design of the facility was tweaked so the fire staff could add more to the system as new technologies emerge. Kennedy said, "We designed the facility to give them an infrastructure that allows them to add technology such as video conferencing. Yes, we had to work within the budget, but we had to make sure we weren't limiting them from future growth."