Commercial Fire Alarm Retrofit at Capital Hill Church


The Capitol Hill United Methodist Church was built in 1964. Recently, the church decided to add a preschool to one of the floors, but soon discovered that the fire system was desperately in need of an upgrade. To begin with, the system had never been connected to the municipal fire department.All of the devices—detectors and panel—had to be upgraded and the panel, monitored by the central monitoring station. Instead of only upgrading the floors for the preschool, the church decided to bring the entire building up to code.

The work of installing the detectors was a challenge in itself given the age of the building. Urban Alarm’s technicians ran into physical obstacles, such as ducts and vents, which made the wiring difficult, but not impossible.

Expanding the project posed several issues that Urban Alarm had to tackle. A time constraint was one, as the upgrade had to be finished before school was in session. In order to meet the necessary regulations and keep the project within the budget and time limit, Urban Alarm had to work closely with city inspectors. On working with the inspectors, project manager/field supervisor Nabil Osta said, “…We came back with very positive feedback. And we were able to get a compromise that worked for the customer, the city, and the city inspectors."

Alexis Tinsley, Director of Childhood Education for Hill Havurah, expressed her satisfaction with Urban Alarm’s work, "They addressed all of our concerns and the concerns of DCRA. They worked hard to make sure that everything happened the way it needed to and that it happened in a timely fashion.”

Retrofit of Wireless IP Access Control System at South West Condo Complex

cctv camera

The Capitol Park Towers apartment building is located in Southwest DC and houses 289 units, a two-story garage, and a swimming pool. As it houses many residents and has multiple points of entry, it is crucial the access control and video surveillance systems function properly. Although an access control system had been in place for some time, property manager Gere Murphy believed that it could be greatly improved.

The system that preceded Urban Alarm’s had a major drawback as it was reliant on underground telephone lines that ran under the building. This arrangement greatly limited the system’s ability to perform at the level that was necessary. After a consultation, Urban Alarm proposed using wireless mounts for cameras, which would allow visual access to far-reaching gates.Not only would this approach provide guards with the monitoring ability they needed, but it would also keep costs down. On the wireless mounts solution, Gere Murphy commented, “They were able to help me minimize the number of cameras with the optimal field of vision.” Thus, it saved her money and gave her what she needed.

Cameras were only part of the plan for the system. The perimeter of the property is surrounded by a six foot fence. The multiple points of entry (both for parking and pedestrian entry) necessitated access control system be installed at every gate. This was not a problem for Urban Alarm and the installation went smoothly.

Gere has been a customer of Urban Alarm for four years and has been constantly impressed with the responsiveness and technical knowledge of this local company. “It has been a great experience to be working with a local company that can provide services, but also provide innovative services.”

Video Surveillance and Access Control Integrated Across Fleet of Vessles

The Washington DC branch of Entertainment Cruises offers dining and sightseeing cruises from Southwest Washington to National Harbor MD. Given the nature of their business, creating a security system for their facilities posed several rather unique obstacles.

Urban Alarm had to design a system that would not only not interfere with the numerous customers that would pass through on a daily basis, but also uphold regulations put in place by the Coast Guard and Federal agencies.

The installation of the system required careful scheduling and efficient work on the part of Urban Alarm. It was essential to work within the timeframe of Entertainment Cruises, which was not easy considering their facilities were constantly moving and on a varying schedule. Nate Handy, Associate Director of Machine Operations, was pleased with Urban Alarm and said, “They were able to accommodate our busy schedule and not interfere with our operations.”

With no access control system in place (except locks and keys), Urban Alarm had to start from scratch and determine the most practical system to install. An access control system with video surveillance ultimately proved to be the most appropriate. “It’s made it easier on everyone. We’re now able to more centrally monitor who’s coming and going…It centralized and streamlined the process…” Nate Handy reported.

Entertainment Cruises has been pleased with their service and has praised Urban Alarm for their responsiveness, the knowledge of the techs, and their ability to accommodate their busy schedule.

Multi Unit Residential Access Control at Park Potomac Condo

telephone guest entry system integrates with whole-property access control and vehicle entry.

telephone guest entry system integrates with whole-property access control and vehicle entry.

The Park Potomac Residences are part of the Park Potomac community in Potomac, Maryland. With hundreds of residents, a parking garage, and multiple entrances, it is a daunting task to monitor who enters and exits the property. A secure, camera-monitored entry control system is necessary to ensure the safety and peace of mind of the residents. Prior to Urban Alarm, the Park Potomac Residences were plagued by a malfunctioning key access system. It was unreliable, suffered from crashes and power outages, and was in a general state of disarray. An excessive amount of time and money was wasted on repairs. They were in need of a security system that was easy-to-use, maintain, and that was reliable.

Urban Alarm was one of several security vendors that Park Potomac contacted. They were impressed by Urban Alarm's detailed system assessment, which included issues of which they weren't even aware.

After surveying and assessing the property, Urban Alarm determined what kind of access control system would best suit Park Potomac, as well as the proper placement of cameras.

Simply installing a system is not enough to protect a property. Troubleshooting a system to ensure it is working properly is crucial and Urban Alarm made sure to do so.

Since the installation of Urban Alarm’s system there have been no dropouts or issues. Urban Alarm has been praised by many clients for its responsiveness and Park Potomac was no exception. Bruce Fonoroff, President of the Homeowners Association said, “They’ve been reliable and dependable and responsible. So we’re very pleased with the work they’ve done for us.” Any potential problems with the system were addressed right away. As Property Manager Tami Feltenberger said about her experience with Urban Alarm, “We feel confident that we’re getting the best service here.”