Fire-Lite Alarms systems earthquake-proof

Company’s fire equipment now meets IBC seismic requirements
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Thursday, March 31, 2011

NORTHFORD, Conn.—Fire-Lite by Honeywell has achieved International Building Code seismic certification for its most popular addressable and conventional fire alarm systems, the company, based here, announced this month.

Fire-Lite said it has created a seismic kit that can easily be installed inside its control panels to meet IBC seismic requirements and help make sure a fire alarm system remains operational in an earthquake.

Gene Pecora, Fire-Lite marketing director, noted that fires are a common hazard after an earthquake, such as the one that took place March 11 in Japan. “There’s a direct connection between fires and earthquakes,” he told Security Systems News.

“If the fire protection system does not withstand the ravages of the earthquake, it could increase the loss of life and certainly the loss of property that could occur as the result of a fire,” he said. “With the addition of a seismic kit the fire system has a much, much higher probability of surviving the quake and providing life safety protection.”

The kits have hardware that adds stability to the batteries and electronics in a panel to help it withstand earthquakes, Pecora said.

IBC-certified fire protection systems are required for buildings that are deemed essential and located in specific regions of the nation at high risk for earthquakes. Those regions include California and other Western states, but a seismic map the company provided shows that places in the center of the country and also in the Southeast and Northeast are at risk too. “I was surprised to see there is more of it (seismic activity) around than I thought,” Pecora said.

According to Fire-Lite, essential buildings include: hospitals; fire, rescue and police stations; emergency shelters; 911, communication and data centers; most power stations and other public utility facilities; structures containing highly-toxic materials; structures critical to national defense; most water treatment facilities; and airport control towers and some other airport buildings.

Fire-Lite said its seismic-certified fire alarm equipment will give dealers and installers “a competitive edge.”

The kits can be installed with new systems and also used to retrofit existing systems, Pecora said. And even owners of buildings that aren’t required to have earthquake protection may want to add it as an additional safety feature, he said.

He said the kits for dealers and installers are “an opportunity to increase their business and at the same time provide a valuable service to the occupants of the building.”

Although Fire-Lite’s March 24 announcement that it had earned seismic certification came shortly after Japan’s devastating earthquake, the timing was coincidental, Pecora said.

He said Fire-Lite plans to highlight the certification at ISC West, to be held in Las Vegas April 6-8, so had timed the announcement to come out just before the show.

However, Pecora said, because of the events in Japan, the announcement is “certainly generating a lot of interest. We’ve had a lot of questions about it.”

He said Fire-Lite began the process of working on the certification about 18 months ago and said it involved a lengthy series of shake tests witnessed by an independent testing agency.

Beth Welch, public relations manager for Honeywell Fire Systems, told SSN that two other companies in the Honeywell family have earned seismic certification: Notifier for its ONYX series of fire systems and Gamewell-FCI for its E-3 Series. She said those companies plan to announce that leading up to the NFPA Conference & Expo, to be held June 12-15 in Boston.

 

Comments

In my opinion, this seems like a very silly publicity stunt. It would be far more notable and practical if Fire-Lite were to announce some new achievement or improvement to their panels for lightning protection, a far far greater problem than earthquakes.