Gilda’s Club, Metro Detroit in Royal Oak, Mich., provides emotional support for people with cancer

“It just goes to show you, it’s always something. If it’s not one thing, it’s another.”
  -Rosanne Rosannadanna

“Oh! That’s very different! Nevermind.”   -Emily Litella

“So, it’s the laughter we will remember whenever we remember the way we were.”   -Lisa Loopner singing, “The Way We Were”

Rosanne, Emily and Lisa are not poet laureates or well-known politicians, they’re a broadcast journalist, a substitute teacher and an elementary-aged school girl brought to life by comedian Gilda Radner.

Radner’s performances in the Broadway show “Gilda Live” and on “Saturday Night Live” as one of the “Not Ready for Prime Time Players,” revealed a truth about her life ¾ she loved to make people laugh. Even after her death, Radner’s dream of helping people laugh is alive in Gilda’s Clubs.

Gilda’s Club, Metro Detroit is one of several homes opened since 1995 that is devoted to providing “a place where family and friends can take part in full support of a person with cancer, where professional staff is available for therapy, lectures and workshops ¾ all for free.”

Among the many gifts the Metro Detroit house received before opening its bright red doors in January 1998 was a security system. Act Now Alarm in Mount Clemens, Mich., installed the system and provided the time and effort required to request and coordinate equipment donations from manufacturers.

The 83-year-old, three-story home is protected with motion detectors, glassbreaks and smoke detectors. A couple of late additions, two audio/video intercoms allow staff at the reception desk to see and communicate with persons requesting access.

Home Pre-Wired to Create Invisible System

It took 47 hours to install the 32-zone system with two-man and three-man crews. The Napco 3000 control panel is expandable to 96 zones, but allows for eight zones originally. Thus, three eight-zone expanders allow the wiring of each sensor to its own zone. Even with 32 zones, all of the wiring is concealed.

Working closely with the construction company that was renovating the 83-year-old house eliminated the need for unnecessary drilling and helped Act Now hide the wiring.

“We kept in touch quite often with the construction company to schedule everything properly,” says Rob Riedel, installation manager for Act Now. “After we wired it, the construction supervisor kept us informed of things that happened. For example, there were a few cut wires and we were able to repair them before it turned into a big problem.”

As a result of the pre-wiring, the motion detectors and the 1-inch flush-mount glassbreaks are the only visible pieces of equipment.

The 12 Napco 680 passive infrared motion detectors are installed everywhere there is a window and where there is accessibility from the ground.

The detectors are placed in the corner on the same wall as the window. “A motion covers 90 degrees from where it’s mounted,” says Riedel. “Mounted in the corner, it puts several beams across the window, so if someone does come in, it will trip right away. It’s been our experience that if the detector is pointed straight at the window from across the room, the beams shoot directly at the window and there is potential for someone to walk directly to that unit without being detected.”

To remain true to Riedel’s installation requirements, one of the motion detectors required a unique modification. Installed in a corner of “Noogieland,” a children’s play room, the motion had to be painted to match the decor.

Hand-painted by Kate Paul of Graeme Faux Finishes, it is perhaps the only motion detector painted to look like a part of a tree. Paul painted the detector as part of the animated mural after it was installed. The lens was the only part of the detector that could not be painted.

In addition to motion detectors, 12 Sentrol 5820A recessed Shatter Pro II glassbreak detectors are ceiling-mounted in every room, approximately 15 feet away from the windows. “The glassbreaks are very inconspicuous. It worked out that they’re the same color as the rooms,” says Riedel.

Another aspect of the home’s security that differentiates it from most installs is the voice driver. When the system is tripped, the sirens actually talk. According to Riedel, the siren sounds for about five seconds, then the voice driver announces, “burglary, burglary, burglary … you have violated an area that is protected by a security system. Please leave immediately.”

Riedel is especially confident when it comes to the Uplink cellular backup unit. “We have been using the system for awhile and we love it. It’s simple to install and our experience has been that it works every time,” says Riedel.

Radner Remembered for Making People Laugh

Gilda Radner is probably best known for her work as one of the “Not Ready for Prime Time Players” featured in the original cast of “Saturday Night Live.” With wild hair and a smile as big and bright as the moon, Radner could make people laugh until they cried.

In “Gilda Live,” she performs sketches from some of her most famous characters, including Rosanne Rosannadanna, Emily Litella, Lisa Loopner and Judy Miller, the most beautiful brownie in the world.

Radner’s book, “It’s Always Something,” includes a chronicle of her battle with ovarian cancer, which she lost on May 20, 1989 at the age of 42.

The Metro Detroit Gilda’s Club is especially significant because Radner is originally from Detroit.

The program is free of charge. For more information, call (248) 577-0800.

Past issues of Security Sales can be purchased for $5 by calling (888) 239-2455. The complete case study can be found in the June 1998 issue of Security Sales.

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