Being in the security industry, I’ve developed a fascination with technology and the amazing ways in which it is used to ensure safety and security. One vertical in particular, fire and life safety, is unique because of the way in which each product must adhere to certain, ever-changing regulations on the local, state and national levels. Staying educated with the most up-to-date information is paramount. But, what if you live in a city with extreme budget cuts, so much so that it can directly affect yours as well as your family and friend’s lives?
The city of Detroit, the largest US city to ever declare bankruptcy, has been suffering through economic pains with ongoing budget cuts and debt for years which has forced city service-workers to become quite creative in developing low-tech “products” to deal with the lack of resources and technology.
Imagine this: You are a proud citizen of Detroit. In fact, you are the 5th generation that represents your family so you have deep and established roots in this city.
One night, while you are asleep the unthinkable happens…you smell smoke. Rousing awake, you realize that your home is on fire and is in quite a blaze. You quickly wake your sleeping family and all run outside to safety. You immediately call 911 to dispatch the fire department to your burning house.
This is how the fire department is alerted: An incoming fax tips over a pop can that is filled with coins or screws. Or, a chain-reaction gadget is put into action as a fax hits a door hinge, a wire is then tugged and a doorbell is set off. The clink of a can or the sound of a doorbell means there is an emergency. (The video below demonstrates starting at 0:35 seconds.)
According to Detroit Deputy Fire Commissioner John Berlin, the city is about 30 years behind on technological upgrades. None of the city’s 38 firehouses have modern-day emergency alert systems. In other cities, however, when an emergency alert comes into a fire station, a series of bells sound off and then an automated voice offers instructions, detailing which engines go where.
With fire and life safety technology so readily available, it’s puzzling that no one has offered to help the city of Detroit’s workers and citizens to live safely.
(Slideshow image: Patricia Marks / Shutterstock.com)