When Hurricane Sandy slammed into the East Coast in October, the resulting flood swamped police and city operations in Moonachie, NJ. Miraculously, the Fusion Centre – a remote surveillance and security facility for SecureWatch 24, a New York City-based security firm – stayed above water, but just barely.
The redundant systems in the just-renovated building kept data, power, and other essential operations humming along without a hitch, allowing it to serve as a makeshift town hall.
Kieran Flanagan, co-founder of Hollister Construction Services, explains how his company created the bunker-like facility from the shell of an old warehouse.
What’s inside the
The facility contains offices, a mezzanine, and the fusion center itself, which is an amphitheater that contains 72 big-screen TVs for monitoring. We also put a large board room, offices, and an R&D center in the back where they can assemble and test equipment.
What changes did Hollister make to transform a warehouse into a state-of-the-art security facility?
We upgraded the electrical services and installed two redundant generators. They’re dual fuel, so they run on both natural gas and diesel – even that is
redundant. The entire facility can run on the generators.
It also has every broadband communication service that comes to this location, so if one goes down,
another one picks up all of their circuits.
What challenges did you run into during this project?
We had to install a few girders to support the mezzanine, but in order to ensure clear space in the fusion centre, we basically had to cut the girder out and reinforce the roof in a different way. That was a challenge.
When you deal with all of the utilities, you’re backfeeding from the existing utility service into the generators and then back out so that when the transfer switch changes over, everything is energized. The entire building has a UL rating, which is a higher standard than your typical building code.
What advice can you offer to FMs regarding emergency
A backup generator system is a critical piece just to keep your business going. In a commercial setting, a diesel generator is one option, but that still requires refueling and everything else. A natural gas generator is really the way to go – it’s worth every penny you put into it.