High-rise security for 30 buildings is a complex goal
High-rise security for 30 buildings is a complex goal

Nov 1, 1999 12:00 PM
Don Garbera

Securing high-rise buildings is a complex task and a challenge that Joseph E. Delco, vice president of operations, faces each day at R.D. Sinto Inc., Shelton, Conn. The company owns and manages more than 30 buildings comprising in excess of two million square feet of space throughout Fairfield County.

"Our approach to security is proactive," says Delco. "We make absolutely certain that our tenants are safe within the spaces they occupy and while traveling around the different building complexes."

Delco has been with R.D. Sinto for more than 11 years. Prior to joining the company, he was the director of parks and recreation for the town of Westport, Conn. At that post, he was responsible for the security of 40 buildings, town beaches and several tennis courts. He also worked closely with the local police department and was instrumental in stopping the consumption of alcohol in Westport's main beach area.

For the R.D. Sinto buildings, Delco manages everything from maintenance and landscaping to fire and security.

The seven-building complex in Shelton houses 100 tenants, and has between 5,000 and 6,000 people passing through each day. Many of the tenants incorporate their own security systems with R.D. Sinto's Northern WinPack Plus card access system.

Tenants such as Iroquois Gas, Cartier, GE, and Prudential are able to use cards from their own systems to access the building's parking garage and doors. They also use R.D. Sinto's badging system. "By doing it this way, everyone throughout the buildings is linked to our Facilities Operations Group (F.O.G.)," says Delco. Badges are made using a Burle (now Philips) camera and Magicard printer by Ultra Electronics.

Some of the buildings are linked through modems, while others are linked through direct wiring. A total of 20 building doors are guarded by proximity readers. These doors are in areas such as loading docks, parking garages, skywalks and the fitness center. They employ Securitron electromagnetic locking devices. Card access is mostly used at these areas during off-hours or on weekends by tenants needing to gain. Parking facilities employ card access automatic gates for employees. Visitors to the complex, when parking their cars, must pass a guard station where they are asked whom they are coming to see.

The R.D. Sinto executive offices employ a Corby keypad system instead of card access.

Where is CCTV used? "All garage areas and parking lots, along with building entrances and exits are patrolled 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Inside locations are monitored by Sanyo 11/43-inch cameras. Outside we use Pelco Intercept pan-and-tilt high- speed domes," says Delco.

The F.O.G. Center is the "heart" of all security operations. It houses a Robot multiplexer, Pelco controller, a Sanyo VCR, and two Pelco 20-inch call-up monitors.

The Notifier Fire System is also located within the F.O.G. Center. It incorporates an InteliKnight addressable fire panel that monitors all smoke detectors, and also provides information on the condition of detectors to detect pinpoint potential future problems.

Both the fire and card access systems can be remotely accessed by computers from Stratford, Conn.-based Barnum Engineering. Barnum also does monthly maintenance on the security system, including the computer, card readers and locking hardware.

The F.O.G. Center incorporates an emergency plan for quick evacuation of buildings in the event of a fire or bomb threat. All tenants have assigned fire wardens that will keep track of employees in the event of an evacuation, and will make necessary calls to authorities.

Security officers are all contract, and are provided by Security Services of Connecticut (SSC). The Bridgeport, Conn.-based company provides the officers with standard training. "In addition, we also provide on-site training as to what areas are of most concern to the security department, and on how to approach people in general, or those who are suspected to be, or that are involved in an incident," says Delco.

Security officers wear white button-down shirts that display a patch and a badge. While on tour, officers check in via a Morse Watchman system every three hours, and carry Motorola SP 50 radios. Tours include continual checks of exterior doors, garages, stairwells and skywalks. The officers are also available to walk employees to their cars after hours if necessary.

Because Delco and his staff keep a tight rein on security procedures, they have been able to keep incidents to a minimum. However, minor occurrences happen from time to time. For example, recently a major brawl between two tenants over a parking space was avoided because the officer stationed in the F.O.G. Center spotted the incident on a monitor, and immediately dispatched a security vehicle to the area.

What are Delco's plans for the future of security at R.D. Sinto? "I hope to eventually add more cameras around our holdings as we continue to grow. I would also like to put in more automation such as computerized locking of doors. This should make us even more proactive in terms of security," says Delco.

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