Gamewell-FCI: Retrofit Kit saves time, money

New kit touted at NFPA show in Boston this week
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Thursday, June 16, 2011

NORTH WINDHAM, Conn.—Fire Alarm Specialty Design says that using Gamewell-FCI’s new IF600 Retrofit Kit to upgrade a fire alarm panel at a nearby school saved the customer money and the company about six hours of labor.

Gamewell-FCI by Honeywell was highlighting the new kit this week at the 2011 NFPA Conference & Expo, held June 12-15 in Boston. The company says it is an easy way to upgrade systems to meet code and also “allows for a cost-effective phase-in of advanced capabilities,” such as mass notification.

Scott Duplisea, owner and general manager of Fire Alarm Specialty Design, which is based here, said that by using the kit at the Interdistrict School for Arts and Communication in New London, Conn., “we were able to upgrade the control panel and maintain all of the devices in the field, so it really saved the customer a lot of money.” He estimated that the school saved $20,000 by doing the retrofit of the alarm system instead of having an entire new one installed. The company also didn’t have to do demolition work and patching work, which saved labor, Duplisea said.

Being the only Gamewell-FCI distributor in northeastern Connecticut has helped Fire Alarm Specialty Design grow since it was founded in 2008, Duplisea said.

“It’s a huge bonus for this company to have a line like that to sell and service,” he said.

His company, which serves the state of Connecticut, started small.

“I started it out by myself three years ago with a screwdriver and pickup truck,” Duplisea told Security Systems News.

Now, he said, the company has 10 employees and is experiencing 30 percent growth this year over last year. “We’re doing well,” he said.

He said a key to succeeding in the fire alarm industry is having trained, certified staff. Duplisea, an electrician for 30 years who has done fire alarm work for the last 20 years, said he started his own company because “there was a huge demand for experienced fire alarm companies.”

He said some companies have untrained, unqualified people doing fire alarm work, but at Fire Alarm Specialty Design, all five technicians (including himself) are either NICET certified on in the process of becoming certified.

“We call ourselves the certified fire alarm specialists,” Duplisea said.

Also, he said, the company’s secret “is giving a little better service for a little less money.”

The company does very little residential work. Its customers are primarily commercial, industrial and institutional, ranging from power plants to hospitals, hotels and college campuses, he said.

The company recently won a contract of nearly $50,000 to install a new E3 Series fire alarm system in the main building at St. Joseph’s College in West Hartford, Conn., he said.

“This will be the first E3 on the campus and it’s going to be the foundation for the new fire alarm/mass notification [network] for the campus,” Duplisea said.

He said the network will include outside and inside voice, and text messaging.