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Zoned Fire Alarm System Cures Hospital’s Detection Disruptions

The new St. Luke’s Magic Valley Medical Center located in Twin Falls, Idaho, has installed a state-of-the art fire detection system that integrates with other security and life safety systems to minimize disruptions to unaffected areas.




A fire alarm technician inspects one of the various Gamewell-FCI E3 fire alarm panels installed throughout the medical facility.Workstation Pinpoints Problems

Displaying a comprehensive view of the entire facility’s layout, floor by floor, with the location and status of all major fire alarm components is a FocalPoint graphic workstation, housed in the maintenance department. With pinpoint accuracy, the screen’s graphics automatically zero-in on the location of an alert in real-time.

“That is a huge asset to our team,” explains Lisa Knecht, team leader. “It’s a quick display — if we have any trouble come in — any alarms, anything unexpected — if someone’s in the vicinity we can go straight there and see exactly the detector that’s going off. The address comes up on the screen’s blueprint.”

The Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) required the hospital to include the FocalPoint Mobile monitoring system. This wireless version, housed on a rugged, military-spec tablet, provides the same, real-time information on system status and alerts, while aiding in emergency response. Located at the emergency room entrance, firefighters can take the tablet with them to quickly decipher the problem and plan an effective response. Lopez believes that in a 732,000-square-foot hospital, any technological advantage afforded to the local fire department was a bonus.

“More than anything, they like the idea that the firefighters could take it off the wall and take it with them when they respond to a fire,” says Lopez. “The fire department, once they heard about the mobile, really pushed for it. It can guide them to where the fire is and gives them the quickest path to get to the fire, so it cuts down on their response time.”

Throughout the building, the system also features Network Graphic Annunciators (NGA) placed in seven key locations. With a touchscreen display made to function as intuitively as the common automatic teller machine (ATM), the NGA provides critical fire alarm information, including the location and reason for alarms, current system status and off-normal conditions. Capable of displaying more than 500 different text messages, the NGA can also be programmed to show information key to a specific event, such as emergency contacts information and the types of occupants or contents typically present within a specific area.

New System Already Proving Its Value

Overall, says Curtis, the engineer, the flexibility of the system was key to being able to set up the smoke-zone system.

“We really did like the node capability of the system — it is such a distributed network system. That really met the needs of the whole defend-in-place and smoke-zoning strategy, so we would have survivability,” says Curtis.

The system has been called into action already. We had a boiler incident, causing multiple detectors in the plant to go off. Central dispatch was called, the fire department rolled, and the system work as designed says Rothfuss. No one was hurt and the damage was contained, thanks to the quick response.

“Everything so far that we’ve had has worked the way it’s supposed to work,” says Rothfuss.

There’s on-going improvements and additions to the system, says Lopez. The integrator is currently working with St. Luke’s to create new smoke zones while considering the addition of more infant abduction areas.

“Hospitals are renowned for constantly remodeling certain suites and areas, based on the different technological updates inherent in health care,” says Curtis. “This system will be able to very easily accommodate that now, and through quite a bit of the future.”

Beth Welch is Honeywell Fire Systems’ public relations manager.

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Article Topics
Fire/Life Safety · Fire/Life Safety 2 · Beth Welch · CO Detection · Exclusive Web Features · Fire Alarms · Fire Detection · Gamewell-FCI · All Topics
Beth Welch, CO Detection, Exclusive Web Features, Fire Alarms, Fire Detection, Gamewell-FCI, Health Care


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