AES-IntelliNet Technology Survives Wildfires in Southern California

Evacuees asked central station to ‘ping’ their residence using AES-IntelliNet to check status of their homes

Peabody, MA – February 1, 2008 – The October 2007 California fires were a series of wildfires that began burning across Southern California on October 20, 2007. Pushed by the notorious Santa Ana winds that were clocked at more than 80 mph in some areas, 23 wildfires scorched more than 515,000 acres across seven counties from Santa Barbara to the US/Mexico border. Almost 2,800 structures were destroyed, including 2,000 homes, while nearly 1 million people were forced to temporarily evacuate.

The Command Center, a contract central station in Corona, located southeast of Los Angeles, covers both San Diego County and the San Bernardino mountain areas. "It just hit us all at once. We were pounded with troubles, AC fails, low battery and missed timer test signals," said Morgan Hertel, vice president of The Command Center Inc. "Since we were dealing with such a huge area, it wasn’t like it happened for a couple hours and stopped. It was sustained for a period of at least four days." Hertel says his normal daily volume of alarm signals and calls skyrocketed from roughly 1,800 to more than 7,000.

The Command Center monitors various alarm communications systems, including AES-IntelliNet, GSM, and other digital dialers. During the fires there were many issues due to large-scale telephone service failures in both areas. They experienced many GSM outages and were informed by a major vendor that the GSM network was experiencing problems in both areas due to wildfires. According to Hertel, "GSM was spotty, the telco facilities failed, and through all of this the AES-IntelliNet system continued to work. In fact, the wildfires had no impact at all on AES-IntelliNet’s RF system and that was one less thing to worry about. Our AES customers were actually calling us to "ping" their radios because they knew if the radio was still operational that in all likelihood the home was still standing. We heard many sighs of relief when we gave them the good news that the radio was still online."

The AES-IntelliNet MultiNet is a radio mesh communications system for alarm monitoring. The 7705i enables large regional users of AES-IntelliNet networks to expand system capacity and add coverage regions thereby increasing recurring revenues. In addition, as with all AES-IntelliNet products, there are no third-party alarm transmission fees, freeing new users from recurring costs. The added benefits of the 7705i’s scalability, combined with owner use and control of the system, makes it the perfect solution for monitoring companies that want to worry less about service interruptions common with other technologies.

Tom Kenty, General Manager at AES Corporation said, "This is another example of the proven superior reliability of AES-IntelliNet. It’s also more than 10 times faster than telephone or cellular technology."