Originally published in the July 2012 issue of the Security Products magazine.
Adding Safety to the Scenery at Emeryville Marina
Emeryville Marina is located on 14 acres of land that extend out into San Francisco Bay. It is a popular local marina with 381-permitted boat slips and hundreds of visitors every day. Built in 2005, Emeryville Marina is run by Marina International, which owns 30 additional marinas around the country. Don Gussler, a local San Francisco boater with over 30 years of experience, was hired as the Emeryville Marina Harbor Master and was designated to create the marina’s safety and security plan.
Mr. Gussler had worked with Talkaphone emergency towers in the past and knew that they would be a perfect fit for the marina. He had witnessed their durability and reliability first hand during several hurricanes and various emergencies at other marinas. Mr. Gussler elaborated on his decision to use Talkaphone towers, “In the early 2000s there was a series of marina fires across the country and I felt it was important to have quick access to fire suppression from the city of Emeryville. While on the marina, a boater may not have access to his or her cell phone during an emergency. They also may have to run from their current location. The Talkaphone units give boaters an alternate and easy means of communication with local authorities.”
Emeryville Marina installed Talkaphone emergency phones and towers along their main dock walkway, making sure they were visible to every boater and visitor in and out of the marina. Due to the need to install Talkaphone units on docks hundreds of feet out into the bay, Mr. Gussler initially believed that the installation would be difficult. To his surprise, the towers were easy to install and integrate with the power and communication infrastructure already in place at the marina. The Emeryville police and fire departments also had no trouble setting up the towers to dial their call and dispatch centers.
It wasn’t long after the installation that the emergency phone towers were first used. The marina, unfortunately, had two boat fires in short succession and the Talkaphone units proved invaluable. In both situations, a boater did not have access to a cell phone and instead activated a nearby tower to get emergency assistance. The activation of the emergency phone towers allowed the Emeryville fire department to act quickly and prevent the fires from spreading to other boats in the marina.
Many marina boaters appreciate the fact that they can contact the Emeryville fire department so quickly. Mr. Gussler added, “We tried to make sure that we put these units in the central dock run. The reason for this was to make sure that everyone had reasonable and quick access. Even in the world of the electronic connection we live in today, it’s so much simpler to have these units. For our customers, one of the benefits of these systems with concern to a fire is that it gets them away from the boats. Boat fires can spread fast and the risk of injury and damage to surrounding areas is high. Rather than having our customers sit there trying to put out a fire we encourage them to use a Talkaphone unit and get professional help. The towers also give our boaters a piece of mind knowing that someone is there ready to provide assistance.”
San Francisco Bay’s harsh environment presents many challenges for the installation of emergency phone towers. Every year the towers are examined and tested to make sure they are working properly. Over time, the towers have withstood high humidity, saltwater, severe storms, and physical abuse on a daily basis. This reliability is a testament to the quality of Talkaphone’s products. The boaters and marina employees definitely notice the unwavering presence of the towers.
“They’ve always functioned correctly and don’t require any maintenance,” said Mr. Gussler. “When we installed the docks we put in a conduit to carry the phone lines. We test the units periodically and we never have problems. I’ve seen other competitor’s units fail after one or two storms. These towers have been working without problems for six years strong. ”
Several new docks are currently under construction at Emeryville Marina and with them comes the installation of more Talkaphone emergency phone towers. The plan is to place the units in strategic locations across the new docks. The new docks will be located on the far south end of the marina’s central dock run. Due to the docks’ outlying position, quick and safe access to emergency communication at these locations is paramount. Mr. Gussler said, “They will allow the boaters on the far end of our marina quick and easy access to emergency personnel. You won’t have to have a boat docked at our central dock run in order to have quick access to the towers. All the major areas of our Marina will be covered.”
Overall, Mr. Gussler and the Emeryville Marina boating community are happy to have the safety blanket Talkaphone towers provide. The blue light strobe on top of every unit allows boaters to easily identify the emergency phone’s location, and their bright blue color blends in nicely with the surrounding bay. At night the blue lights act as a deterrent to crime for the marina and surrounding property. Boaters know that when they see a blue light they are in a safe area.
Mr. Gussler concluded that the towers have increased business at the marina, “The Talkaphone units are a good sales tool because it shows our customers what to do, how to do it, and that we spent the time to put in a system to help protect them. We have many individuals who live here on their boats at the marina. For them, knowing that another form of communication is just a push of a button away is very comforting. They feel safe…and that is one of the reasons why our marina is so popular.”
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