|Solar-powered call boxes like those used successfully on remote California highways now provide reliable emergency access throughout the Congressional property.|
As one of the country’s largest and most distinguished private clubs, Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Md. has been the site of many major golf tournaments (and will be again with the 2011 U.S. Open). And because of its location outside Washington, D.C., Congressional has included many United States Presidents and dozens of other prominent names from American politics and history among its membership, and hosted many other distinguished guests through its 85-year history.
So it’s not surprising at all that Congressional is also a leading source of best practices for operating safe and secure facilities. But even a leader like Congressional never stops looking to improve how it uses the best available technology to ensure the continued safety of its members and guests.
THE GOAL:Maintain Congressional Country Club’s leadership in safety and facilities management practices through the use of the latest and best available technology.THE PLAN: Use solar-powered call box system to avoid service disruptions experienced with emergency phones requiring buried wires; use commercial-grade instrumentation for real-time monitoring of weather conditions
THE PAYOFF: Improved reliability and precision, plus a side benefit of customized weather forecasts that can be displayed for members on flat-screen monitors.
For example, Congressional’s facilities management was growing vexed over a problem that is common to many golf courses. On-course emergency telephones were connected by wires that were buried, and the depth and length needed to bury the wires properly left them subject to damage and malfunction. Because of these problems, the club found that phones were going out of service often enough that safety throughout the property was in danger of being compromised.
The staff’s quest for a solution led to consideration of several alternatives, including radio call-box kiosks similar to those found on university campuses. Eventually, a product originally designed for California freeways was adopted.
Due to the length and remoteness of many highways in that state, a call box for the California road system had been developed that incorporated a cellular telephone powered by a battery that was recharged by an integrated solar panel.
Congressional’s staff found that the entire assembly was available from one manufacturer that could also provide installation and a unique monitoring system. The call stations on Congressional’s property now monitor themselves, doing a self-evaluation of all components and reporting on their own conditions to a central monitoring service, which then relays any malfunctions that are in need of attention.
Congressional has also upgraded its weather monitoring and response system through installation of commercial-grade instrumentation on the property that records 27 live measurements of existing conditions. The apparatus streams data directly to a command center that now serves as a Web-based weather intelligence platform for the property. The new system brings a higher level of precision to the tracking and analysis of weather for better preparation and response, the club says.
Congressional managers can also use the collected data to display a “slide show” of local weather conditions and forecasts on flat-screen monitors in high-traffic areas. The posting of this fresh and timely content is proving to be a key member benefit, club management reports.
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