Redundancy rescues central station

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Saturday, January 1, 2005

PORT CHESTER, N.Y. - On Nov. 6 at 3 a.m., a drunk driver, who was later apprehended, jumped the curb outside of Energy Industry Park in St. Paul, Minn., and collided into an electrical box that contained cross-connected phone cables for the complex.

The force triggered a power outage in the complex, affecting USA Central Station Alarm, a tenant of the building and its UL-listed monitoring station that serves 8,000 systems and 300 active alarm companies.

USA Central Station had the appropriate back-up systems in place, so when disaster struck it was prepared.

Despite the power outage, USA Central’s Port Chester, N.Y., location received signal of the power outage within moments. Phones from St. Paul, Minn., were rerouted to that office.

“End users never saw any interruption in service,” Bart Didden, president of USA Central Station Alarm, said.

According to Didden, most central stations meet UL criteria, but there are a lot of central stations that don’t have the ability to have underground phone lines. Luckily, this monitoring station did, he noted.

The phone company responded efficiently and took the necessary steps to restore the power, added Didden. “It took almost a week before full service was restored for the entire building,” he said.

USA Central’s power was restored a day and a half later, said Didden.