Haig Service Corp. recently completed a project at the Fillmore Theatre Miami Beach managed and operated by Live Nation. Haig installed a state-of-the-art fire alarm system.

“The existing system was proprietary, and there was only one other company within the industry that was able to program and fully service it,” said Heather Hamilton, general manager, Haig Service Corp. “So, building management, the owners of the building, and the city of Miami Beach were all looking for another company to install a more universal system.”

The upgrade from the Filmore’s previous system was executed from May to September 2023, with over 3,600 hours of manpower. The Fillmore Miami Beach, known for hosting a variety of high-profile events, now boasts a safety infrastructure that matches its reputation for excellence.

Haig installed a comprehensive fire alarm system sprawling over 40,000 square feet, featuring 354 initiating devices, including smoke and heat detectors, pull stations and multiple relay and control devices for various systems controlled or activated upon fire alarm. The system included over 150 notification devices, speakers and strobes, offering both audible and visual alerts for effective emergency communication. Over 500 devices were connected through over 26,000 feet of wiring, highlighting Haig’s technical expertise and efficiency.

Navigating through challenges and unexpected setbacks, including tight deadlines, complex building codes, and a historic building composed mostly of cinderblock, Haig’s team expertise and determination were put to the test. But with teamwork, ingenuity, and unwavering commitment to the mission, the team successfully completed the installation, providing peace of mind to the building’s occupants and safeguarding against the threat of fire.

“It’s a historical building — a large one at that — and on top of all that, the entire building is cinderblock,” Hamilton said. “That added to a huge level of difficulty to keep the building as uninterrupted as possible, while making sure we have things in the right place, and not doing damage to get them there.”

The historic nature of the location was not the only challenge. “There are also other systems that are already in place — fans and things like that — which we had no information on going into the project,” Hamilton said. “So we had to basically reverse engineer the system for us to be able to figure out what does what.”

But despite the challenges, Haig was able to operate efficiently and professionally under the conditions, she added. “Besides being able to maintain the intrinsic historic value of the building, we got the system installed in a timely manner and did not affect the venue’s ability to host their first event of the season. We were in a bit of a time crunch because of that.”

Haig and the Fillmore have an ongoing relationship. Next on the list of upgrades is to finalize the connections to other systems being upgraded. This will be done as the Fillmore completes fire pump replacement, generator replacement, and HVAC upgrades. Haig also intends to expand activation of house lights upon the fire alarm being triggered.

“We do have their service agreement,” Hamilton explained. “We have a technician on location for the productions that use smoke or haze. These productions range from Spanish raves, to the Rolling Stones, to massive weddings. We’re there for events like that and also for servicing and monitoring of the fire alarm system.”

Speaking of the relationship with the Fillmore, Hamilton said, “One of the challenges was that the existing system didn’t have music shut down. If the alarm went off, all of the music, all of the production had to shut down. We had to get an electrician to install the proper breakers to do that. Their next was to program it where when the alarm goes off, every light in the house comes on. It’s not built for that right now. So we’re working with them on that to make sure that they get the proper lighting things. They just had their fire pump replaced. So we’re installing that, as well as a new generator.”

As for advice for those installing similar projects, Hamilton says, “You need to listen to the customer and you need to listen to the fire department. Create a relationship with the fire department and your inspectors. They’re there to help you. If anybody’s going to give you the knowledge that you don’t learn day to day, it’s going to be them.”