Nov 1, 2003 12:00 PM
By Carol Carey
How do you keep tabs on security and life safety at a resort complex that boasts two high-rise hotels, a 40,000-square-foot spa/pool building, more than 100,000 square feet of outdoor event space, an 18-hole golf course, 50 to 75 acres of parking and 1,200 employees?
If you're Ronald Sutton, director of loss prevention for the new Grande Lakes Orlando Resort, which includes a 584 guest-room, 15-story Ritz-Carlton hotel and a 26-story, 1,000 guest-room JW Marriott, you rely strongly on keeping diverse security and safety functions strategically located and accessible. Integrated systems and a well-trained, in-house security staff knowledgeable in both life safety and security hold the program together.
Rather than have all life safety functions separate from security, a fire alarm system network controller has been installed in the resort's centrally located dispatch center, which also houses the CCTV and alarm security systems, monitors, and DVRs. The resort's emergency phone line rings directly into this center as well.
Bordering wetlands at one end and a residential area of Orlando, Fla. at the other, the $600-million, 500-acre property opened in July 2003. It was featured this October on the Golf TV channel as its Greg Norman-designed golf course hosted the amateur Buick Scramble.
A major security challenge for the resort is protecting both its own and guests' property. For instance, its golf clubhouse alone has close to 20 door alarm contacts. Because trade show exhibitors and meeting participants are concerned about protecting valuable equipment, Grande Lakes keeps approximately 60 locks on hand to "recore" large meeting spaces with new security locks, often at the customer's request. It takes 50 of these locks to recore the JW Marriott's 30,000-foot Mediterranean Ballroom, the largest single meeting space.
Integrated Camera and Alarm System
The resort uses 62 Bosch/Philips cameras, both fixed and pan/tilt/zoom (PTZ) to cover indoor and outdoor areas. Video surveillance is integrated with intrusion detection and alarm monitoring through four GE Interlogix/Kalatel digital video multiplexer recorders. Alarm monitoring is provided by a GE Interlogix/Casi Secure Perfect Security Management system, which runs on a Microsoft Windows 2003/XP operating platform. More than 600 GE Interlogix/Sentrol alarm points, including door contacts and motion detection sensors, have been placed throughout the resort and hardwired to the Secure Perfect system.
"When an alarm goes off, this activates a nearby camera, which will zoom into the area while an inaudible alarm comes on screen," Sutton says. Patrick Murphy, director of loss prevention services for Marriott International Inc., notes that a full-screen view of the alarm area will be pulled up when the alarm is activated.
Murphy stresses the importance Marriott put on placing cameras in strategic areas when the system was designed. "We have cameras at the front entrances to the hotels, conference area entrances, back docks, various egress and exit doors, and lobby areas," Murphy says.
ADT Security Services Inc. integrated and installed the security systems. The ADT team members instrumental in the success of the project include Adam T. Burawski, senior national account manager, Newport, Del.; Ken Fuller, systems sales manager, Orlando, Fla., who played a major role in the design of the system; and Greg Hodges, the project manager, "who made the installation virtually seamless," according to Burawski.
CCTV Covers Meeting Areas
Bosch/Philips AutoDome, Envirodome, and Unity Package Fixed Dome color cameras have been placed at what are called "pre-function" areas adjacent to the ballroom/meeting spaces in the two hotels, adds Sutton. "We have cameras at the front and back of these spaces at both the upper and lower levels, most of them fixed," he says. "At the exterior of both hotels there are two load-in areas leading to the ballrooms that also extend into the parking lots. We have a total of five to six PTZ and fixed cameras at these areas."
Cameras are also located in service areas and hallways behind the meeting rooms where goods are transported back and forth, he says. In addition, they are used at the resort's loading dock area, golf clubhouse and golf storage area. At the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club clubhouse, there are two fixed and one PTZ camera and three fixed cameras at the golf cart storage area.
Loading Dock and Grounds Covered
"Our loading dock area is a very significant place where we wanted camera coverage," Sutton says. "It's a large area in which 18-wheelers can turn around, and has eight different bays. Three powerful PTZ cameras cover this area."
PTZ cameras are also used to help cover the extensive grounds, which include 52,000 square feet of outdoor event space at the Ritz-Carlton and 65,000 square feet at the Marriott.
The CCTV system includes a Philips LTC8600 matrix switcher, Philips 19-inch monitors and the four GE Interlogix/Kalatel digital video recorders. A looped, mostly underground fiber optic network of approximately five miles brings the video to an ADT utility tower with the help of International Fiber Systems fiber-optic transceivers.
High Security Locks Used Strategically
Ingersoll-Rand Schlage Everest high-security locks are used on doors to meeting, storage and other proprietary areas.
The areas with door locks include the meeting rooms. Indoor meeting room space at the resort is flexible, with a combination of large and small ballrooms and "break-out" rooms which can be divided or partitioned. There is a total of 33,500 square feet of indoor meeting space at the Ritz-Carlton and 72,000 at the JW Marriott.
"Most break-out rooms use three to four locks but, depending on how they are separated, they may use three to 18 locks," Sutton says. "Most large groups ask to have their meeting rooms recored, which we can do because the Schlage locks are recorable. This provides an added level of security. Each lock core is taken out and a different one placed inside, allowing the user to control access to the room," Sutton says.
Other rooms protected by the mechanical locks include the golf clubhouse and golf storage areas, exterior doors in both hotels, computer and phone system rooms, employee locker rooms and storage rooms in the dock area. "The golf clubhouse alone will have 17-20 different door contact alarms," Sutton notes.
Guest Room Access Has Automatic Deadbolt Feature
Guest room access is controlled by a Saflok automatic deadbolt system, with cardkeys programmed at the front desk of each hotel. Software for the system is installed in a dedicated master computer and is interfaced with the resort's property management system, so that clerks can check in guests through the property management system (PMS). "We have four PCs with encoders which are connected to the PMS at the front desk in the Ritz-Carlton and at least 10 at the JW Marriott," says Sutton. "Keys are programmed for the duration of a stay. When we have large functions we pre-register guests and pre-key their rooms so that we don't have a large number of people waiting in line at the front desk."
Dispatch Center Includes Life Safety System
The Security Dispatch Center is located in the middle of the resort complex in the conference center area and houses both fire safety and security systems.
Two computer workstations with Philips monitors are used for alarm monitoring and camera playback, while four additional Philips monitors are used for CCTV monitoring. "If an alarm point is breached, the alarm will show up on these monitors," Sutton says. "But, it can be manually called up on four additional Philips monitors, which are operated with a joystick." Two security officers monitor the cameras around the clock.
Placement of a main fire safety panel at the dispatch center ensures a timely response to life safety as well as other emergencies. Calls to the resort's emergency phone line also ring directly into the dispatch center, Sutton says. This includes emergency phones in the hotels' elevators.
Fire Safety System Networked
Life safety is a primary concern in any facility, and is particularly crucial in high-rise buildings. A Notifier addressable multiplex fire alarm system consists of large and small control panels. The panels are located in the fire command rooms of certain buildings, with the larger panels at the two hotels and convention area, and the smaller panels located in the golf clubhouse and storage buildings, spa and maintenance areas, say Sutton and David Blagg, installation manager for Aerwav Integration, which is part of Armorgroup Integrated Systems Inc.
"The main control panels in each building are networked together," explains Blagg. "Each building operates independently and reports back to an intelligent network annunciator located in the security dispatch center's fire command room. We have also put network annunciators in the fire command rooms of the two hotels," Blagg says.
The system is set up so that each building operates independently. The network annunciators are able to perform operations for the entire networked system. That system includes a smoke evacuation system, which allows fans to purge the building of smoke, smoke detectors, heat detectors, sprinkler heads, tamper switches and duct detectors. Beam detectors in the ceilings of the ballroom areas denote smoke through infrared lighting.
There is also a voice evacuation system, which is automatically activated via smoke, beam, heat or duct detection; by sprinkler water flow activation or manually from pull stations, Blagg says.
Sutton is particularly pleased with the placement of a network annunciator, along with the large fire control panel in the fire command room of the dispatch center. His staff includes an in-house life safety specialist, and he has personally trained the staff in operation of the life safety system, along with evacuation procedures.
Staff Worked Closely With Fire Officials
A fire inspector stayed on the premises for several months during construction of the resort to oversee the installation of fire safety systems, Sutton says. "Before we opened to the public, both police and fire personnel worked with us in developing evacuation plans and conducting drills. We conducted a full evacuation drill with all associates and employees before opening," he adds.
Blagg and Sutton point out that there was a close working relationship with the local fire agency, Orange County Fire and Rescue from the beginning of the project. "There was a stringent review process at the beginning of the project. We sat down to meet several days a week at the pre-planning stages. Weekly inspections followed. By the beginning of 2003 (some seven months before the resort opened), inspectors were here nearly every day," Blagg says.
"We made several changes to systems and procedures that made them more 'user friendly' to firefighters," Blagg adds. "The fire department wanted to be able to react easily in case of an emergency. For instance, we had toggle switches on the fire panel to turn the smoke evacuation system exhaust fans on and off. We changed these to smooth rocker-type switches, which were sturdier. In addition, we provided as-built virtual drawings of the final system on drawing tables in the fire command centers, along with zone maps for smoke compartments, enabling the firefighters to isolate zones and exhaust fans.
There was excellent teamwork between Grande Lakes Resort officials and county fire officials, Blagg says. "We discussed the issues together and we have exceeded Orange County fire codes."
Security Staff Plays Critical Role
Sutton, along with his Assistant Director of Loss Prevention Michael Vasquez supervise a full-time, in-house security staff of 26 people. Plans are to increase this to 40. Along with the two officers who monitor the CCTV system, the staff has other critical duties. Patrolling the grounds, hotels and parking lots is one. "We have patrols in each tower, in the spa/pool area and in the convention (meeting space) areas," says Sutton. "We also have a mobile patrol of the parking areas, which total 50 to 75 acres. We use a Ford Expedition and three golf carts as mobile patrol vehicles."
Several of the parking lots are connected, with valet-parking only at the Ritz-Carlton and both self and valet parking at the JW Marriott. Gates and metal poles separate the various parking areas. A garage may be in the works several years down the line, says Sutton.
Security officers are also stationed at employee entrances to the hotels, according to Patrick Murphy, the corporate loss prevention director.
Sutton and his staff run "pre-convention meetings" to educate guests to take precautions against theft. "We make sure people are aware that the meeting rooms need to be locked up and not to leave laptops in the meeting spaces," he says.
Security at the Grande Lakes Orlando resort has been achieved with a carefully designed program of life safety, CCTV, alarm and lock systems, along with a sizable and dedicated in-house security staff. Because security at this complex facility is managed at a centralized dispatch center which houses both life safety and security systems, this high-profile resort is able to deliver a safe, secure environment along with its other amenities.