• 22/04/2015
    Saving lives in the event of a Tsunami

    Some coastal locations facing the Manila trench in the Philippines are particularly exposed in the event of a tsunami. To mitigate significantly the risk of such disastrous event the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) in association with the Advanced Science and Technology Institute (ASTI) devised and implemented a Tsunami Detection and Early Warning System (TeWS).

    Project TeWS is a cost-effective and reliable system for tsunami forecasts and timely disaster response consisting in a local tsunami warning system directed at alerting selected coastal communities in a timely way so that evacuation plans can be carried out with plenty of notice and save lives.

    The project also includes capacity-building activities such orientation on earthquakes and tsunami concepts, familiarisation of tsunami hazard maps and preparation of tsunami evacuation plans.

    After being implemented in densely populated coastal towns and cities of Metro Manila such as Subic Bay, Lingayen Gulf, Batangas Bay, Manila Bay, Albay Gulf, Bislig Bay, and Saranggani Bay, TeWS has been extended to various coastal zones in Western Visayas.


    How the system works

    The components of the system include detection sensors, a data communication system using GSM data communication modules, data visualisation, interpretation, local tsunami emergency decision tools and tsunami warning stations equipped with GSM-activated A121 AX Appello warning sirens.

    Ultrasonic tide gauge sensors, which detect sudden rise and fall of sea level, and ‘dry’ and ‘wet’ sensors, detecting post-earthquake receding waters, are placed offshore on up to 15-metre high poles (see diagram below).

    Information generated by the sensors is sent real-time to the PHIVOLCS Data Receiving Centre. If the earthquake is strong enough to be likely to cause a tsunami, the PHIVOLCS will sound off the GSM-triggered A121 Appello warning sirens to warn populations living in the affected coastal areas and give them enough time to prepare and flee their homes following designated evacuation paths leading to higher grounds (see diagram below).

    A versatile and sustainable project

    In case the GSM-GPRS communication network is down, the system will automatically switch on the redundant satellite module to provide the communication.

    Furthermore, the system can also be used to warn of other natural calamities such as Lahar flow, typhoon, flash flood, and land slide, among others through minor tweaks in the program.

    For sustainability, both the sensors and the tsunami warning stations are solar powered. In addition, instead of using expensive satellite communication system, GSM-GPRS data communication modules developed by ASTI will be used to substantially lower down the cost of the tsunami detection network.

    Further information about the Appello range can be found here.

    All images and diagrams courtesy of Advanced Science and Technology Institute (DOST-ASTI)

  • Concept Adds Voice and Tone Sounders to Improve Safety

    Concept Systems Ltd. is a leading supplier of advanced IT systems, solutions and services to the oil exploration and production industry.  Its SPECTRA Integrated Navigation and Control system is accepted as an industry standard for 2D, 3D and 4D marine streamer operations, making Concept a world leader in the supply of real time navigation and positioning products.  To further enhance their navigation systems, Concept have now added the unique Appello voice and tone sounders and strobes from E2S, enabling warnings and safety critical alarms, previously only flagged onto the operator's workstation, to be broadcast throughout the vessel, ensuring that relevant personnel are made aware of the situation automatically.

    E2S Appello Range at Sea

    The E2S Appello range of high performance voice and tone sounders are unique in that bespoke voice messages, music or sound of up to 2 minutes long, can be stored in a CMOS device containing non-volatile memory cells, providing zero-power storage, ensuring that the message quality does not degrade with time and that it is not lost during power outages.  The voice is stored directly into the memory in its natural form, providing high quality, solid state reproduction.  During playback, the message can be preceded by one of 45 different user-selectable tones; a visual warning is also given by a Xenon strobe mounted on top of the Appello sounder.  The new version, A121 AX Apello sounder produces up to 111dB(A) @ 1m, giving an effective range of up to 300m @ 1KHz. 

    A Concept Systems designed Alarm Control Unit controls up to six sounders over standard Cat 5E Ethernet cable, which provides 24VDC power on unused pairs, so no local power is required for the sounder units.  SPECTRA system communicates with local Alarm Control Unit using industry-standard Modbus/TCP Ethernet protocols - each Alarm Control Unit has a unique network IP address.  Setup, test and diagnostics of sounders is made easy using built-in Alarm Control Unit web browser.  The combination of alarm tone and voice message enables critical alarms to be easily differentiated from other instrument room, bridge or back deck alarms.

    For further information about the A121 AX Apello sounders, please follow the links below:
  • Temporary Construction Site Alarms at Wembley

    E2S, a leading independent manufacturer of audible and visual signalling devices, and PACSCOM, a radio telemetry specialist, joined forces to supply John Sisk with a radio-based audible warning system to give open area protection on the Wembley Stadium construction site. 

    The Wembley system enabled any worker to give a warning if a fire or other dangerous incident occurred.  The system consisted of six A121 sounders arranged in three clusters of two devices and it was initiated from any of the seven manual call points (MCPs) located around the site.  The MCPs, were attached to a PACSNET 300T radio transmitter which communicated with the master control panel by radio. When it received a break glass signal, the master control panel activated all or some of the A121 sounder clusters by radio communication with battery backed slave panels with local wiring to the sounders.  The sounders used, have a wide effective range in an environment with an ambient noise level of 70 - 80 dB and bespoke recorded messages such as "small fire or other safety incident" and "full site evacuation" are possible. The central panel continually monitors the health of all elements of the system, with a check signal received hourly from every radio device.

    Such systems will be particularly useful on a temporary basis when construction work is being carried out on large or congested sites. John Sisk is at the forefront of applying best practice in this regard, established in process sites to meet obligations under the Control of Major Accident Hazard (COMAH) regulations.

    The system is modular and easy to configure when deployed at a new site.  Up to 64 break glass/radio units can control up to 48 sounder clusters, enabling the protection to be extended as required; the break glass call points and sounders can be located up to 5000 metres from the MCP.

    The new version of the A121 sounder, A121 AX Apello can store up to 2 minutes of content and play it back with excellent clarity. The recorded messages such as voice messages, music or sound can be recorded with built in microphone or line-in audio input and it is stored directly to non-volatile memory.

    For further information about the A121 range of sounders, please follow the links below:

  • Tsunami Evacuation Alert System: City of Penco, Chile

    In February 2010, an earthquake with 8.8 magnitude occurred off the coast of Central Chile effecting large parts of central and southern Chile. The earthquake triggered a tsunami which hit many coastal areas including the City of Penco with a population of approximately 40,000.

    As part of UNESCO’s and the European Commission Humanitarian Aid Department’s (ECHO) project to provide tsunami preparedness and risk reduction, a number of sirens and backup systems were installed to coastal areas to provide an early tsunami warning system.

    Wide Area Siren System

    The system was installed and designed by ATECMIN LTDA, an E2S distribution partner in Chile.  A131 4-horn alarms were distributed along the coast of Penco. Each siren consists of a control panel and battery backup. Communication to the A131 alarm system is via radio and can be initiated by the Hydrographic and Oceanographic Service of the Chilean Navy (SHOA) whenever they consider the population of Penco need to be warned of a possible tsunami.

    The A131 wide area audible warning sirens have a high output of 131dB(A) @ 1 metre and can be installed with up to four alarm horns with sound coverage up to 300m.

    The A131 has a battery back-up option which means it can deliver a safety warning even in the event of a power failure, for up to 30 days in standby and 30-minutes alarm assisting greatly in emergency situations such as natural disasters or in other wide area evacuation warning system situations. 

    For more information about the A131 Sirens, please follow the links below:

  • Improving Safety with Network Rail

    The tragic accidents and casualties related to pedestrians and vehicles ignoring train level crossing warnings have been well documented in the UK press. Responding to this Network Rail identified that a significant percentage of all safety incidents at level crossings occur when a second train is approaching. In the past, there was no particular method to advise or alert anyone nearby that another train was coming and why the barriers were not opening immediately after the first train had passed.

    E2S Warning Signals, working with engineers at Network Rail, designed and developed a solution using an alarm horn sounder from the Appello range for use on automatic level crossing sites. 

    Customised Voice Recording Technology from E2S 

    E2S were pioneers in the use of digitally stored voice recording technology. The Appello range offers unparalleled reproduction clarity and output, combining user recordable content with a choice of alarm tones and automatic synchronisation on multiple unit installations.  
    Existing level crossing audible signalling devices only provided an alarm tone warning as the first train approached the crossing.  The system provided by E2S added a voice message to the alarm tone to alert anyone present at the crossing of the imminent arrival of a train. 

    Alarm tone followed by “Warning, more than one train may be approaching. Warning, more than one train may be approaching”

    Listen to the warning here.

    Crucially, the multi stage capability of the Appello unit allowed a second voice message and alarm tone to be activated should it be necessary to wait for a second train to pass through before it becomes safe for members of the public to use the crossing.

    Alarm tone followed by “Warning, another train is approaching. Warning, another train is approaching.”

    Listen to the warning here.

    Different alarm tones and message content was trialled before arriving at the most concise and effective wording. E2S were also happy to create the voice recordings for Network Rail.

    A challenging aspect of the project related to the potential impact the new audible warnings would have on residents of property near to level crossings. The distance at which the Appello unit could be heard increased dramatically at night so custom electronics were designed by E2S to enable the Appello unit to have a remotely selectable day and night time function that reduced the sound level output automatically. During installation the Network Rail engineers are able to set the day and night time volume levels that are appropriate for that site.

    To provide the control interface, E2S also designed and manufacture custom voltage regulator modules that are mounted in the track side cabinet. 

    Network Rail believes that the notification of additional trains approaching the crossing will significantly improve overall crossing safety.

    The Network Rail acceptance certificate number is PA05/04380. 

    View the video of the Appello alarm solution in use at a level crossing:

    For videos for safe use of level crossings, please visit the Network Rail Website – Level Crossings section

    For the news release and comment from Network Rail please follow this link:
    Network Rail Article - Voice warnings to improve safety at level crossings.

    Additional information about Appello user recordable sounders can be found here: