High-Rise Showcases How to Be Both ‘Green’ and Safe

[IMAGE]12126[/IMAGE]Integrating the fire alarm system with building automation resulted in a digital audio network for transmitting messages that enable emergency responders to interface with building occupants, as well as firefighter access. With all the integrated systems, operators can program a door lock control during emergencies, such as containing a single-floor fire.

Because 360 State Street is fiber optic-based, as backup to the system Firetech built multiple points of control, including one in the basement and one on the roof.

During the installation, Firetech tested the speakers to make sure they operated properly, a process observed by 360 State Street Service Manager Dion Smith who was present while the integrator installed the amplifier boards on the floors.

“The system is designed so that if there is a fire alarm in the garage on the third floor, it’s only going to sound on the sixth floor down,” he says. “This is important, especially at night, because we don’t want to interrupt residents sleeping. Because 99 percent of our fire alarms are inadvertently pulled at a pull station, or someone smokes by a smoke detector, we didn’t want to wake the residents for issues that weren’t of serious nature.”

Training Stems False Alarms

Since the installation’s completion, there have been a few kinks that needed to be addressed, such as strobes and horns not functioning properly due to wiring problems, says Smith.

Additionally, inclement weather became a foe to the fire/life safety system, as heavy snow caused damage to some of the devices placed outside.

“The building has a rooftop garden, so as a result of the melting snow, water drips down stairwells and conduits,” says Querker. “It freezes the devices and destroys the speaker strobes and pull stations.”

Firetech has gone back to the site to address any problems to keep the devices functioning properly. However, that’s not the only thing the company has done to make sure the apartment complex has an effective fire/life-safety system. The integrator, which monitors the fire alarm panels, has also provided training to 360 State Street’s maintenance staff in an effort to reduce false fire alarms.

“Anytime an alarm goes off, Firetech notifies the fire department right away. So the company provided video training for the entire maintenance staff on what to do in the event an alarm goes off,” says Smith. “When we’re testing the equipment, we needed to learn how to disable the horns so they don’t accidentally go off. We learned how to acknowledge the system, but most importantly, we had to learn not to completely silence the system if the fire alarm system sounds because the fire department wants to be involved in that process.”

In past projects, Querker says, building engineers often supply the basic design of the structure and then they are never to be seen again. Thus, the integrator often has to perform the engineering part of the job. This can be a setback because requests for information (RFI) are not answered, he says. However, during this project, the contractor followed it all the way through, which helped the process progress efficiently.

“This project is actually one
of the smoothest jobs we’ve ever had,” says Querker. “Due to the nature of the project, it was very well managed. The general contractor that we dealt with on the low-voltage side was really knowledgeable.”

Ashley Willis is Associate Editor for SECURITY SALES & INTEGRATION. She can be reached at (310) 533-2419.

Equipment Overview for 360 State Street

Following is a description for some of the other products used in the fire/life-safety installation:

Photoelectric smoke detectors:

The integrator installed 370 smoke detectors in the facility. The intelligent, addressable detectors have point ID capability that enable each detector address to be set with rotary code switches to provide exact detector locations. The product’s optical sensing chamber senses smoke produced by a wide range of combustion sources.

SpectraAlert Advance speakers and speaker strobes:

Featuring a plug-in design for easy wiring, the speakers and speaker strobes provide audible and visible notification. Firetech installed almost 900 of these appliances throughout the building.

InnovairFlex duct smoke detectors:

Operating in airflow speeds of 100 to 4,000 feet per minute and temperatures of -4° to 158° F, 15 of these intelligent, addressable nonrelay photoelectric duct smoke detectors were installed at 360 State Street. The products fit square and rectangular installation footprints, and utilize tool-free, plug-in sampling tubes for increased application flexibility and installation ease.


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