Life Safety Designs campus safety partner

The company now is the mass notification provider for three state universities in Florida
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Thursday, February 24, 2011

JACKSONVILLE, Fla.—Life Safety Designs recently won a contract to provide a campus mass notification system for the University of South Florida, St. Petersburg.

That university is now the third campus in the Florida state university system for which Life Safety Designs is the mass notification provider, according to J.R. Sykes, head of contract sales & inspections for Life Safety Designs, which is based here and does about 60 percent of its business designing, installing and servicing fire alarm/mass notification systems.

Sykes said the company last year completed a mass notification system at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville, and also maintains and services a mass notification system at the University of Central Florida in Orlando, as well as doing retrofitting and installation there to tie other campus buildings into the system.

Life Safety Designs is an integrated systems partner with Cooper Notifications, and Cooper mass notification systems are being used at all three campuses, Sykes said.

He said the company’s win of the latest contract at USF St. Petersburg is notable because “we now have three of the Florida state universities utilizing not only the (Cooper) manufacturer of the equipment …but Life Safety Designs themselves as their life-safety provider for mass notification.”

That is a large responsibility, Sykes noted. The University of Central Florida alone serves more than 56,000 students and describes itself as the second largest university in the nation.

“Both Cooper Notification as well as Life Safety Designs have a hand in the protection and safety of all those people, and not just the students, but all the staff, the faculty and the visitors,” Sykes said.

Life Safety Designs was chosen by USF St. Petersburg in a competitive bid process, according to the company, which has been in existence about 17 years.

It does business in Florida and Georgia, and also offers nurse call, voice and data, access control, intrusion detection and CCTV systems, and has hundreds of clients in the government, education, commercial and health care verticals, Sykes said.

He said that in the invitation-to-negotiate bidding process, the university assigned points for criteria such as an applicant’s experience with mass notification systems.

“We had strong letters of recommendation from the University of North Florida, as well as the University of Central Florida,” Sykes said. Also, he said, “we are the only certified installer for Cooper systems in Florida, so if you choose Cooper you pretty much are going to choose us as your service provider.”

The system Life Safety Designs will install at USF St. Petersburg will include five outdoor High Power Speaker Arrays in strategic locations throughout campus, the company said. The arrays will be controlled wirelessly by an integrated base station located in the police department’s dispatch center, according to the company. The speakers will allow authorities to tell people what to do and where to go in the event of an emergency, such as a tornado or a gunman on campus, Sykes said.

The project, the cost of which was still under negotiation in early February, is expected to start this spring and be completed in about 18 weeks, he said.

He said the system will be “fully layered.” The university will start with outdoor notification and then can add a personal alerting layer and also interior notification systems inside buildings whenever it wants, he said.

Sykes said that with the mass notification system at the three campuses “essentially you now range from Jacksonville to Tampa or St. Petersburg with a backbone system that could very easily … tie into the mass notification system (for surrounding communities). So you’ve got a system that ostensibly could protect or notify the vast majority … of the population of Florida.”