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Jewish Federation of Greater Harrisburg

The project is completed. The fire alarm system and security cameras will have a long life span. Annual maintenance and any repairs will be covered under our existing maintenance agreement with our current vendor and funded by our operating budget.

The fire alarm system was antiquated and needs to be upgraded. It is challenging to find replacement parts and the current system does not allow firemen to determine which zone has the alarm. The current system also does not fully communicate with their newer voice evacuation system. They will also attempt to add security cameras to the facility.

They typically have 100-300 people in the building depending on any day of the week and time. It will increase the safety of all their participants and staff. These individuals include approximately 150 children from the Early Learning Center and the Jewish Day School which is a tenant in the building, staff, and teachers from both organizations, members and guests for the fitness center and cultural programs of all ages including their Senior Club members. It will also increase the safety of firemen and other first responders. This will request will cover the labor and equipment for this project.



What was the problem the project solved?

This funding addressed two safety issues. First, our prior fire alarm system was “conventional” which meant that it did not provide a location to firefighters which zone the incident was located.  Secondly, our security camera system lacked coverage in several critical areas and these additional cameras resolved that issue.

Who does the project help?

This project enhances the safety of the hundreds of children and adults who are in our building daily, which includes infants to young children through grade eight in our pre-school and the Jewish Day School, their teachers, members and guests of our facility, which include an active senior club, campers in the summer, and our staff.  It also reduces the risks of emergency personnel responding to fire or other emergencies.

What makes your solution unique?

This project was funded by leveraging support from two private foundations and a local county funding project supported by gaming dollars. Part of the project (security cameras) was the continuation of a previously funded project that needed additional enhancements and these additional dollars made it a stronger project.

How did the project make a difference?

We have 24/7 awareness of what is occurring on a broader range of our facility.  This enhances our security as in the example above, of knowing if someone is propping open a door. It also helps us reduce costs. One of the new cameras was installed in our auditorium and one of the many rationales behind that location was because people were leaving on the stage lights. The lights are very costly to replace because we have to hire a vendor to come in who assembles scaffolding to do the repairs.


What were the results?

After the installation of the fire alarm system, the vendor was able to identify components of our remaining equipment that needed to be replaced. The enhanced system detected flaws that had previously gone undetected.

We conducted a self-assessment hazard assessment in conjunction with a consultant with the South Central Task Force (contracted by the Department of Homeland Security).  Due to the new equipment, we were able to select lower scores for several threats such as fire, theft, terrorism, etc.

On a more significant note, every minute counts and the fact that firemen will know which zone has been impacted will allow them to go directly to the problem instead of wasting precious time.  That additional time will likely translate into lives saved and reduced property damage.

How is the project sustainable?

The equipment has a long lifespan and we have a strong working relationship with the vendor who installed both systems to do annual maintenance and any needed repairs.

Can the project be replicated? How so?

We can recommend this vendor to other local agencies seeking similar expertise. We have provided guidance to organizations seeking funding from Nonprofit Homeland Security Grants, which became available for the first time to non-metropolitan regions like Harrisburg last spring and can be used for security cameras.