Fenway Park Fire Solution Is a Hit

The iconic baseball venue received a complete fire protection upgrade to accommodate system growth and new code considerations.

With Fenway Park celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2012, major renovations are expected in the near future. Adjacent structures, such as the laundry building, are expected to house new ballpark concessions. The E3 Series’ capacity and modular design will allow future Fenway restaurants, gift shops and other occupancies to integrate seamlessly into its fire protection network. Sizable renovations, as well as the adoption of new emergency communications codes, further emphasize the necessity for selective paging.

“There are new fire alarm mandates coming out that require selective paging where you have more than one tenant,” says John Stofa, Northeast regional manager with Gamewell-FCI. “While Fenway management was thinking fire alarm, we were thinking ahead to mass notification.”

These up-and-coming codes relate to the new NFPA 72: National Fire Alarm & Signaling Code, 2010 Edition, requiring zoned audio for selective paging.

While capable of housing hundreds of prerecorded messages, Fenway’s new EVAC system also offers authorized users a means for delivering real-time announcements throughout the Park. One of the restaurants is a unique application, with its own “standalone” EVAC system and separate speakers connected to Fenway’s fire protection network to receive all alarm communications, including those generated within the ballpark.

According to AFA Project Manager Tim Moynihan, integration with Fenway’s public address (PA) system was another key element of the project’s EVAC capabilities. “Now with a push of a button, the fire alarm system can take over the park’s public address system so emergency personnel can address the entire park, including the playing field, directly from the command center.”

No Power Shortage Here

Prior to its fire protection upgrade, the Fenway project encompassed more than 500 audio notification appliance circuit (NAC) speakers and visual devices. An additional mix of nearly 500 initiating devices, ranging from manual fi re pulls to automatic initiating, was also present.

“A real benefit was the fact that the park had most of the initiating and notification devices they needed already installed throughout,” says Stofa.

Although the present audio field requires a total of 400 watts, AFA implemented an additional 800 watts of audio power. In addition to serving as a source of backup amplification, this extra power provides adequate headroom for sudden system demands and future growth. The audio field, as designed by AFA, uses a 70V line to carry audio tones and verbal instructions throughout the park.

Higher levels of audio power also have a positive effect on the intelligibility of audio communications. Intelligibility is a principal requirement of EVAC systems, as outlined in NFPA 72.

Speaking of power, in the event of a power outage and to comply with current fire code, AFA installed enough battery power to operate the total system in standby for 24 hours with a subsequent alarm ring time of 15 minu
tes at full load.

“We added enough ampheres so with any future expansion they would not have to worry about a thing,” Golini says. “We gave them about 20-25 percent spare capacity-plus with this new system. That way we know there will be no issues. If there ever is a failure, all we need to do is take the wires, flip them over to the backup amps and they are up and running.”

Being Able To Spread The Message

Multiple brands of fire alarm systems acquired over time through general expansion protected Fenway’s individual facilities, but with no means of centralized monitoring or control. Since the E3 Series needs only one UTP (unshielded twisted pair) conductor for complete system integration, existing wire installed throughout Fenway’s facilities was able to be repurposed. The avoidance of multiple-conductor cable utilized by many current-day fire protection systems saved Fenway significant field labor and material costs.

To provide facilities personnel and first responders quick access to fire protection information, remote annunciators were installed throughout the park. The control room’s head-end panel includes a network graphic annunciator (NGA), featuring touch-screen controls and an intuitive menu structure for easy operation and immediate supply of critical information. Six additional textural annunciators were placed in key locations, including the laundry building and at Gate D, the planned entryway for first responders.

Another feature the ballpark has is positive alarm sequence, which allows security personnel to verify an alarm before it actually goes into full alarm.

“They have 30 seconds to acknowledge it; three minutes then to either reset it or it goes into full EVAC mode,” Golini says. “The Boston Fire Department in the command center has the capability of taking over the entire PA system of the ballpark as well.”

Installer Heads For Home

Translating and converting the original control panel’s software program for use in the new E3 Series panels represented a significant challenge for Golini’s group.

“Programming was the most difficult part of the project. This was a complicated installation, but we received great design and programming support from the professionals that comprise FSG [Honeywell’s Fire Systems Group],” he says.

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