The $17 million central command and information hub monitors and controls fire and EMS activity in the five boroughs of NYC. Selected to help create the AV communications environment, McCann’s designers were involved from the start in shaping the space and contributing ideas to the overall floor plan.
The overriding challenge was to employ the latest and most innovative technology to funnel the maximum amount of information at one time to this single, central remote location. It allows staff to effectively evaluate and manage multiple, large scale incidents and daily emergency calls.
The FDOC space is divided into three areas. An Emergency Operations Center (EOC) which supervises up to thousands of daily responses; an Incident Support Center (ISC) which manages large scale disasters; and two divisible Command Center Conference Rooms.
As events unfold in multiple locations, the FDOC can immediately share updates with field commanders and other rescue and fire fighting personnel. They can track ambulances and fire vehicles, accept line feeds from NYPD helicopters and access real time traffic cameras located throughout the city.
In the EOC we designed and installed three Christie 50” Truview Low Reflective high gain screens to handle varied source material. The EOC and ISC walls each use six Panasonic, 7000 lumens projectors. In both areas, images are edge blended onto a thin, curved, seamless, rigid, acrylic screen. To avoid the voice echo sometimes associated with a curved screen, we created a slight curve in the vertical direction which eliminates unwanted echo.
One of the overriding challenges in each room was how to simultaneously handle more than 50 feeds at one time. The solution was to create a preview area in each room. One room used three video projection cubes the other room utilized custom mounted LCDs. These viewing surfaces served as preview areas. Each preview area can display 50 or more PIP feeds. Senior fire commanders can then project selected scenes onto the video walls.
Taking advantage of highly developed video processing technology to support our video walls, enables the FDOC to handle most format video signals, including HD, satellite, analog, computer inputs and remote desktop connections. Using a remote desktop as a source gives the department broad flexibility. For instance, a web cam on a laptop computer at an incident can transmit real time graphics back to the command hub.
We also created the two interconnected Command Center Conference Rooms. They can operate as a large single space or be divided into two areas. Each is equipped with strategically placed Smartboards and video conference equipment.
All areas are separated by snap glass (LED glass), which can instantly be switched to appear opaque or transparent.