Unique Burg/Fire System Secures Giant Warehouse

Never judge a book by its cover.

That lesson definitely applies to the combination burg/fire system installed at the F.W. Kerr Co. warehouse in Novi, Mich., just outside Detroit.

From the exterior, the single-building warehouse looks like it would be a routine job for any installation tech. But as Scott Grougan, lead technician for Vigilante Security Inc. in Lathrup Village, Mich., found out, the job was far from routine.

The interior of the 305,000-square-foot facility houses a wide range of products for distribution to drug stores; everything from sunglasses to toilet paper to pharma-ceuticals. This diversity requires an alarm system of varying security levels. Moreover, the facility is open 24 hours a day to accommodate deliveries.

Grougan designed and installed a sys-tem based on two separate panels with 179 points of protection, including burg, fire, temperature and supervisory monitoring. It covers 33 offices, multiple storage areas, a vault and even a refrigeration unit by using 13 separate partitions and 11,000 feet of wiring. The equipment cost alone was $19,000.

13 Partitioned Areas Require Varying Security Levels

Previously, F.W. Kerr Co.’s ware-house had a 20-year-old alarm system. Age had taken over and they were hav-ing chronic false alarm problems. The owners wanted to refresh the security and rethink the type of protection for many of the areas, says Grougan.

The existing system had 15 separate alarm systems for each of the 15 parti-tioned areas, most having a chain-link fence surrounding them which reach as high as the ceiling, 44 feet in one spot.

At some point in the building, partitions would cross. That’s where the old system would get hairy, recalls Grougan.

Since the new system had so many alarm points and parts of the building are open 24 hours a day, Grougan installed two Radionics 9112 panels and had to set up each partition one at a time.

Programming and getting all the logis-tics down was challenging and fun, he says in retrospect. As I took something down, I had to replace it.

That sequence meant that the cus-tomer had to be thoroughly trained on the use and operation of the system prior to me ever turning over a partition to him. We couldn’t leave any holes in the system while it was being installed, he says.

The entire job took 11 weeks single-handed. Grougan only had help on some days when he was doing 40-foot wire runs which are in a trough about 30 feet above the warehouse floor.

All doorways are keypads only; how-ever, the two rolling vehicle gates on either side of the building are controlled by an existing Galaxy access control system with card readers. The gates open on a time profile and after a card swipe during set hours.

33 Offices Secured with Glassbreaks, Holdups

There also are 33 offices covered by a single partition. Each office has a Caddx glassbreak detector and is monitored for burg and hold-up. Grougan used a series of Visonic wireless repeaters throughout the facility for holdup protection.

The system literally transmits from re-peater to repeater to the panel. F.W. Kerr Co.’s owners wanted wireless holdup buttons to work anywhere in the building, not just in the office area.

Grougan says the most difficult aspect of the job was making sure he kept the wiring straight and tagged.

In all, Vigilante used about 11,000 feet of wire on the job. The building’s auto-matic fire sprinkler system also is hooked into the new system. There are waterflow detectors, gate valve tampers and 156 post-indicator valves outside the building. The sprinkler system’s pump room is monitored for power loss and pump run-ning.

There is also a fire horn circuit that runs all the way around the building. Both panels had to be able to set off and super-vise one fire/horn circuit. Through a series of drop relays and a supervised bell output module, I was able to do it, says Grou-gan.

So far, Vigilante has had only two service calls to the job in a year. One was because an air conditioning technician ground faulted a wire. The other call was due to a roof leak. The system also caught a pump failure and averted a flood.

Vigilante monitors the entire system and inspects the fire system bimonthly. The entire job cost around $30,000, estimates Grougan.

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