KEY EMERGENCY COMMUNICATIONS CENTER DESIGN REQUIREMENT: QUALITY OF LIFE, SAFETY, AND UNINTERRUPTABLE EFFICIENCY
In today’s world, mission critical facilities not only need to withstand Mother Nature’s worst, but they need to provide protection from terrorist attacks as well. Public safety departments need to be able to communicate quickly with each other and stay in operation for extended periods without any support from the outside through extreme conditions. While doing all this, facilities must also provide a reasonable quality of life for occupants. Providing all this is no small order.
September 11, 2001, drew attention and a sense of urgency to the lack of compatibility within communications systems used by emergency responders. At the time, there were 50 different communications systems in St. Louis County alone. Reflecting on the events of that day, plans called for the emergency communications system for St. Louis County in Ballwin, MO to be consolidated and expanded to include adjacent counties and establishing an 800 MHz trunked radio network and systems data center. This radio system would ensure better management of incidents through the rapid sharing of information among firefighters, EMS, policemen, hospitals, public works and other groups. St. Louis County took the opportunity to bring together the 911 dispatching center, emergency communications center and emergency management section all under one roof to further enhance the communications channels.
These functions had been housed in separate facilities with no connection to other participants in the emergency communications process. Two of the facilities were not secure and one was located in a nuclear fallout shelter which was well past its useful life. To make matters worse, this area is a high seismic zone.
The 31,600-square-foot facility features strategically placed windows in the exterior wall, including windows in the 27-foot tall north wall to provide natural light and views. Winco architectural-grade pre-glazed window systems were utilized to provide the required tornado and impact resistance. The facility is designed to withstand 180-mph winds with an impact from a 15-pound 2x4 traveling at 100 miles per hour. To meet code requirements throughout the years, Winco Windows has continually developed products able to meet ever more rigorous demands to ensure the protection of buildings and their occupants from natural or man-made disasters. They even built their own live blast test chamber and cannon to test newly-developed window systems because none existed when these high-performance windows were first being developed. Tremco Spectrem® 2 Silicone Sealant and Tremco 440 Tape are incorporated in their design.
THE TREMCO SOLUTION:
Understanding the operational requirements, it was critical to make the enclosure as monolithic as possible. “We wanted to wrap the building with materials from one manufacturer,” noted Jason Mayfield, project architect for Ross & Baruzzini. “The fewer people involved, the better so we don’t have to worry about compatibility.” Assigning responsibility for components to a single-source where feasible helps maintain control, eliminate risk, and facilitate the process. It also helps ensure the appropriate solution (and application sequence) is specified and eliminates any gaps that may be left to guesswork or interpretation down the line.
Tremco’s ExoAir® 120 Fluid-Applied Air & Vapor Membrane serves as the foundation for the air barrier system, providing a monolithic, seamless membrane which ensures continuous integrity without gaps. ExoAir® 110 Self-Adhered Air & Vapor Membrane is used as a transition membrane into door and window openings. To achieve a holistic, continuous system throughout the building enclosure, Tremco’s Proglaze® ETA Engineered Transition Assembly was incorporated to span the critical gap from the window to wall assembly.
Proglaze® ETA Engineered Transition Assemblies are turnkey, engineered solutions for critical connections throughout the building enclosure which provide visible assurance of a secure, continuous seal without voids. Consisting of pre-engineered, Alodine finished aluminum and silicone materials that are mechanically and/or attached with Spectrem® 1 Silicone Sealant to window and/or wall structural framing, these assemblies provide a more secure, durable connection and seal.