Security System Takes Wing

Police department monitors airfield operations center

Springfield-Branson National Airport, located in Springfield, Mo., which has a population of 400,000, recently underwent a large expansion project. Its six-gate terminal was no longer supporting the increasing air traffic from its four airlines, so the airport built a new terminal on the opposite side of the airfield. The new facility currently has 10 gates with the capability of expanding to more than 50 gates.

A new terminal required a new security management system.

Randy Riley, airport director and assistant director of operations worked with AMAG and several third-party vendors to provide a sophisticated yet easy to use system that met strict TSA requirements. Symmetry secured the main terminal building, its seven satellite buildings, the perimeter fence and 10 vehicle gates via fiber optic cable that surrounds the airfield.

The Springfield-Branson airport employs a police department that monitors security in the Airport Operations Center (AOC). Inside the AOC, furnished with Winsted consoles, sit two workstations that include three large monitors. One monitor graphically shows an overview of the entire airport. The police can see the entire building and zoom in on areas that are in alarm while displaying in real time a rolling count of who is swiping their card throughout the airport.

On Screen

The second monitor displays camera views using the Symmetry video matrix. The third monitor is for alarms. When an alarm sounds, the camera associated with the alarm zooms in on the area. A trigger is set so a pop-up screen appears on the monitor to provide a closer look. That pop-up screen will also appear on a 50-inch wall monitor, normally used to display flight information, to provide a larger look at the area in alarm.

“The camera view is automatically tagged to its alarm,” Riley said. “If the police want to go back and review the video, they can instantly pull it up on the screen to view it.”

The video is stored in an Intransa Video- Appliance for 30 days. The VideoAppliance holds 58 terabytes of optimized video and RAID protected storage, and it is designed to eliminate the risk of lost video and downtime.

Security integrator C&C Group installed the airport’s comprehensive security management system, which includes more than 150 fixed and PTZ AXIS IP cameras that monitor all access-controlled doorways, jet bridge doorways, general areas and the holding room.

“If an alarm sounds in a jet bridge, the security staff can see two viewing angles,” said Martin Dowman, C&C Group’s operations manager. “They can see views from a fixed and PTZ camera. A person in the control room can move the PTZ to get a better view or follow someone throughout the terminal.”

In the Right Spot

Indoor PTZ cameras are also positioned to view outside activity.

“At the end of a jet bridge in the turret is an emergency exit door,” Dowman said. “That door leads to the tarmac, and pilots walk through it to perform plane inspections prior to take-off. If someone passes through the door that does not have access or someone breaks through the door, a delayed egress alarm will sound and a PTZ camera will swing around and begin recording through a glass wall to catch what’s going on outside.”

“I am very pleased with how the alarms and cameras are integrated and how the triggers operate,” Riley said. “It’s smooth and does most of the work for us. When an alarm sounds, the cameras are automatically pulled up so we can view it. We aren’t fumbling through video. It’s very nice.”

Airport officials also use an integration kit that is synchronized with the police department’s paging system. When an alarm sounds, all officers on duty, including the sergeant, are alerted through a page. The airport found it beneficial to have all police officers notified simultaneously. Everyone is up to date, and the officer closest to the alarm can respond. In an emergency situation, all officers can respond and call for backup if necessary.

Badging Requirements

All staff, contractors and vendors wear colorcoded badges to identify themselves and where they are allowed access in the airport.

TSA rules require that all commercial airport employees who need a badge must pass an online training test, and TSA and the FAA require a background fingerprint check to enter the Secure Identification Display Areas (SIDA) of an airport. Once they pass the background check, commercial airport employees are issued a badge that identifies they have access.

General aviation staff have access only to non-commercial ramps, and their badge color reflects their access areas.

All components of the management system are connected to an NEC fault-tolerant server. Fault-tolerant servers provide an innovative solution to address planned and unplanned downtime for these important security applications. The servers deliver continuous uptime through their fully redundant modular hardware, which provides continuous availability in all components: CPU, memory, motherboards, I/O, hard disk drives and cooling fans.

In the event of a failover with any server component, the server automatically switches over to the redundant server and reports the failure to the police for component replacement.

“The system runs on the primary set of computer boards,” Dowman said. “If a board or component fails, they can change the board or component out and it starts working immediately. The system is capable of never losing control. The hot swappable capability is valuable; the IT staff can handle a server failure and still continue to run the system.”

Voice Messaging

Managing the flow of traffic on and off the airfield are 10 vehicle gates surrounding the airfield. Each vehicle gate requires a card swipe to enter the airfield. If a service truck needs to gain access, TSA requirements demand a positive identification of all people entering the airfield. A Stentofon intercom provides a fast way for officers to speak with drivers. When the intercom is activated, it alerts AOC and a camera zooms in on the driver. An officer can speak to the driver as well as verify identity and allow access.

“Stentofon intercoms are used when vehicles, such as trash trucks, need to enter the airfield,” Riley said. “Trash trucks notify the AOC they need access, and the police meet them at the intercom and search the trucks prior to entrance. Once the truck passes a search inspection, they are escorted onto the airfield to pick up trash.”

“This project shows how access control and video are strengthened with the use of high-quality audio and voice for critical environments,” said Dan Rothrock, senior vice president of OEM global sales at Stentofon. “The ability to hear and speak adds a major component to the integrated security mix that video and access control has to offer.”

Since the initial installation, the airport built a rental car facility, which added eight more Axis cameras.

This article originally appeared in the January 2013 issue of Security Today.

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