As Category 4 Hurricane Michael reaches the Florida Panhandle, a potential epidemic of central station outages raises concerns. In a quick search, we found at least nine central stations that are located in Florida and the surrounding states that will be affected by the hurricane. If a single location goes down for any of the below-listed central stations, subscribers could be put at risk across the nation, even those who are not in the path of the hurricane.
- COPS Monitoring - Boca Raton, FL
- GEOARM - West Palm Beach, FL
- SentryNet - Pensacola, FL
- Cen Signal - Columbus, GA
- All American Monitoring - Sarasota, FL
- Blue Ridge Monitoring - Anderson, SC
- Global Monitoring Solutions - Denham Springs, LA
- United Monitoring Services - Columbus, GA
- Universal Security Monitoring - Gainesville, FL
Obviously, the central stations who have hot redundant failover systems in place will be able to brave the storm, but the recovery period afterward takes a lot of time, potentially putting subscribers at risk. And, depending on how particular central stations have their failover systems set up, the delay in service could take hours, and even days.
When Redundancy Just Isn’t Enough
Only weeks after Hurricane Florence hit the Carolinas, another massive storm is about to make landfall. This raises serious concerns about central stations located in high-risk areas that are frequently hit by natural disasters like hurricanes, earthquakes or tornados. Central station redundancy is a system designed to take action in the rarest of circumstances. It should be regularly tested and developed to work when it needs to, but why choose a central station that is regularly at risk for having to use it; especially when there is only one other location to back it up?
Battling Hurricanes With Storm Queue
One way AvantGuard manages the spike in signal traffic from hurricanes is by leveraging a feature in the Stages monitoring automation software called Storm Queue. When a storm triggers an unusually high number of alarms, Storm Queue allows a central station to partition low-priority signals from high-priority signals, keeping the focus on people who need emergency help. As an example, this merely removes flooding, power outage and low battery signals from the list. After all, what hurricane victim doesn’t already know their home is flooding and the power is out?