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Energy consumption in wireless sensor networks is one of the most important challenges for designing appropriate middleware protocols for specific applications. Meanwhile, how to provide the maximal sensing coverage to the monitoring area is another key issue that has to be considered with both the sensors' communication connectivity and their power management strategy. In this paper, we propose a novel sensor node working scheduling algorithm targeting to a typical surveillance system. We call it REactive sensor management and COverage Scheme (RECOS). The performance of the algo rithm has been evaluated in terms of system lifetime, coverage rate of the monitoring area as well as the robustness of the system against un-expected sensor node failure.