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Karen Schmidt June 29, 1995

RELEASE: 95-047

New Employee Alarm System Ready for Testing

The Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas is installing a state-of-the-art

employee alarm system to significantly improve their ability to warn employ-

ees and the surrounding communities of imminent danger from weather or

hazardous materials emergencies on site or in the vicinity. The system will

undergo testing at 9 a.m. Friday, June 30, 1995. The test will last for one

hour, ending at 10 a.m.

"An important part of preparing employees for hazards they may encounter in

the workplace or living on the Texas coast is educating them about warnings and

what they mean," said Keith McQuary, the JSC emergency preparedness

manager. "Each employee should know immediately whether to run away or

shelter in place when they hear the siren or fire bells sounding, which is what

we're trying to explain in the current program."

The alarm system uses solar panels to charge internal batteries and wireless radio

frequency signals to transmit control and audio signals. The speaker enclosures

mounted atop each of the seven poles will broadcast specific siren tones to get

employees' attention followed by appropriate verbal messages about the nature of

the emergency.

Siren poles are located throughout the center. Alarms may be found at the south

end of Bldg. 2 on Avenue D, on 5th Street west of Bldg. 38, at the southeast

corner of Bldg. 227, at the southwest corner of Avenue C and 2nd Street, at the

north end of 2nd Street across from the Gilruth Center, at the northwest corner of

Bldg. 356 and on the north side of Avenue B about one kilometer west of the

water tower.



In a serious incident where the siren might not be needed initially, the JSC Incident

Commander at the emergency scene may direct siren activation if needed or ask

that an announcement be broadcast.

"Ideally, employees will never hear the siren except during periodic system tests

to verify the system is functioning properly," McQuary said. "The center is in such

close proximity to community residential areas, we need to tell them in advance

when we're going to test the alarm; likewise, we need to tell our employees."

The surrounding community will be notified of testing and a verbal announcement

will precede use of the siren during tests. A schedule for regular system tests,

based on final system acceptance, will be developed and available to employ-




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