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Situational Awareness helps prevent fire at Canadian independent living location

Shaw Computer Systems Inc. recently completed installation of Status Solutions’ Situational Awareness and Response Assistant (SARA) at the St. Peter’s location of Kawartha Participation Projects (KPP) in Peterborough, Ont. Recently, the technology alerted KPP staff to a smoke alarm, helping prevent a fire within one of the building’s apartments. 

August 3, 2015  By  SP&T Staff

Upon investigation, the fire department discovered a vacant but smoke-filled apartment where a pot had been left on an active stove burner. Without SARA’s integration to the building’s fire panel, KPP staff and residents would have been unaware of a potential fire until it escalated.
“Not only did SARA help alert us to a potential fire, it also acted as a failsafe,” explains Carol Gordon, KPP’s CEO. “We decided to implement SARA to improve safety and services. Needless to say, we’re pleased that the fire panel integration was completed, enabling us to avoid a larger fire incident and possible injuries, loss of life and other damages.”

SARA is a universal alerting engine that integrates stand-alone alarm and communication systems for centralized monitoring, alerting and reporting. SARA converts random alarms into detailed alerts for delivery to key individuals, select groups or entire populations via the designated devices. Alerts include data about the unfolding situation, approximate location and instructions based on an organization’s predefined emergency protocols.

KPP learned about SARA from its IT services provider, Shaw Computer Systems Inc., and decided to deploy the solution to enhance life safety at its St. Peter’s location. KPP provides self-directed support, complex care and affordable housing for people with various disabilities to enable them to live independently in their own homes. St. Peter’s is one of KPP’s larger projects, with approximately 30 resident-clients living throughout the three-story building (along with other tenants).

Before SARA’s implementation, KPP staff were alerted by audible alarms only and would have had to run to the fire panel to determine the location of a smoke or fire alarm. With SARA, the appropriate alert containing the apartment number and client’s name automatically goes to on-duty staff for investigation. Had SARA processed an actual fire alarm, alerts would have gone to staff and residents so they could evacuate, as well as to the fire department.


“Situational awareness saves critical time, as demonstrated by this incident,” says Carlye Boruta, CEO for Shaw Computers. “Because KPP’s staff received a direct alert [from SARA], they were able to quickly investigate the alarm at its source and prevent escalation to a potentially dangerous situation. KPP is an important and long-time customer providing valuable services to our community, so we’re pleased we were able to provide the SARA solution to help them improve client and staff safety.”   

Along with the fire panel integration, SARA provides KPP with other capabilities to enhance client care. For example, clients receive medication reminders via phone calls automatically generated by SARA at the appropriate times. KPP also plans to provide each staff member and client with a mobile duress pendant or touch pad should clients with limited dexterity need to initiate an alert. If a pendant or touch pad is activated, SARA will summon immediate assistance by generating alerts to a new phone system and mobile handsets also provided by Shaw Computers. These alerts will tell staff which client needs help, along with his/her apartment number. KPP also is considering the addition of SARA’s Positioning System (SPS) for vector mapping, which will enhance mobile duress by providing location data for any pendant press anywhere within the building and/or the surrounding grounds.  

“We’re enthusiastic about the complete roll-out and appreciate that as our clients’ needs change, we can make adjustments to how SARA is configured, including the possible integrations, alerting devices and protocols we use,” adds Gordon. “The level of customization and flexibility the situational awareness solution provides were key selling points, and obviously we’ve already seen that it’s reliable.”

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