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‘Fireworks’ can spark a quick response

April 18, 2011

Dale Bieberich

    "Fireworks" is what one thinks of during celebrations, such as at the Fourth of July.
    However, in this area, Fireworks means an ultra-modern way of fighting fires or handling other emergencies inside buildings.
    The idea was laid out briefly during the recent annual State of the Schools program at a luncheon meeting of the Decatur Chamber of Commerce at Woodcrest Retirement Community.
    Dale Bieberich, retired buildings, grounds, and transportation director for North Adams Community Schools, spoke about Fireworks and gave out an information sheet which points out that Adams County has a School Safety Commission that is composed of the three public school systems. The commission determined a need, which was identified through local school site safety surveys, our fire departments, police, and emergency management personnel have difficulty finding a given location within our large school buildings, it was explained.
    The Fireworks idea, said Bieberich, uses computers and lets dispatchers at the county communications center operated by the sheriff's department identify exactly where in a school a fire, burglary, or something else is occurring.
    Bieberich added that security cameras in all schools can be used to locate and show fires or other things so problems can be viewed as they happen and responses can be greatly speeded up.
    The data sheet says fire officials report that responses to a fire in a large building can be 50 percent faster with the Fireworks system. Responses are quickened because emergency dispatchers have immediate access to building floor plans and can tell responders which doors to enter for the fastest way to reach a problem inside.
    The Fireworks program in the eight North Adams, Adams Central, and South Adams school buildings cost about $150,000, according to Bieberich,
    Now, he told the gathering of local business leaders, there is "a tremendous opportunity to enhance safety" by putting the proven Fireworks system in use in other large buildings.
    An informational meeting will be held at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, April 20, in the North Adams administration building in Decatur for business owners in Adams County who are interested in linking up to the existing Fireworks system.
    The information sheet notes that fire and police officials and others in local emergency services "are very much in favor of this program."

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