Global Fire Systems Design Group launched

Oklahoma fire company forms group to meet increasing demand for complex design of fire alarm/mass notification systems
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Thursday, November 17, 2011

OKLAHOMA CITY—Complex new requirements for how fire alarm and mass notification systems are designed, installed and tested, especially for military applications, led a fire and life safety company based here to create a team of experts specializing in such work.

Stampsco this month announced the launch of its specialized global Fire Systems Design Group, which had been in the planning phase for about a year. Rodney Stamps, company president and CEO, said the new division will “assist other fire companies and engineers with the design, testing, layout and commissioning” of fire and mass notification systems, which also are known as emergency communications systems.

“I’m hoping this is going to take off,” Stamps told Security Systems News. “It will be a big add to our company and somebody else’s company.”

Stampsco, founded in 2002, has long had house designers and has subcontracted to assist other companies in design and installation, he said.

“But it’s always been kind of basic,” Stamps told SSN. “We may do a high rise here and there and a campus setting, but when you get into these large military applications with these unusual type code requirements under the UFC [Unified Facilities Criteria] code, then it takes some specialty. So we decided to form a group led by NICET IVs,” said Stamps, who has that level of certification.

The UFC code governs military installations. It was created in 2002 after a Department of Defense investigation into the 1996 terrorist attack on Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia found a deficient communications system. [http://www.securitysystemsnews.com/article/tricked...

Stamps said the new group’s designers are NICET IVs and they’re led by Louis Brinkman, also a NICET IV. Stampsco has a policy of encouraging its staff to get NICET training, for which it covers the cost. About 50 percent of its employees—who now number 20 with the new division—are NICET-certified.

“Now that our industry is facing landmark changes in how fire alarm and mass notification systems are to be designed, installed and tested, we formed the Fire Systems Design Group to meet these changing demands and to better assist our existing and future customers,” Brinkman said in a statement in the company’s Nov. 9 announcement.

Stamps said one notable change involves making mass notification messages clear and understandable. “Meeting the intelligibility requirement was a big change in the 2010 code in terms of not only how to design for intelligibility but how to test for intelligibility,” he said. He expects even more changes for 2012.

Stamps said that with the new design group, if companies land a large project and don’t have their own design staffs “they need to utilize a company [like Stampsco] that can support them on that.”

He continued, “That’s the advantage of making it a team effort—[other companies] can take on projects they would not normally take on, and meet specifications they would not meet normally, because if [the project is] specifying NICET IV only on design and NICET IV only on commissioning, they could contract with us to fulfill the contract.”

The design group expects to be involved with both military and non-military projects, he said. “Mass notification applications apply outside the military, but it’s very prevalent in the military,” he said.

The new five-member design group’s work may take it around the world, he said.

For example, he said, the group may design a project that also needs a NICET IV to commission it. “Let’s say it’s in Japan on a base,” Stamps said. “Then we would be required to fly somebody to Japan to commission that system and do all the paperwork.”

Stampsco, a Honeywell Gamewell-FCI Engineered Systems distributor, recently was selected by the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce as one of the top 50 fastest-growing private companies in the area in 2011. Stampsco was the only fire company in the group, and ranked No. 28, Stamps said.