E3 Solutions, Yakima, Wash., selected equipment from Silent Knight for the justice center.


When it came to selecting a fire protection system for the new Yakima Valley Justice Center in Yakima, Wash., the commitment to security was strong. The 228-bed facility features a comprehensive, PLC-based security electronics package that operates from two separate locations in the facility via 36-inch touch-screen panels, allowing correctional officers to manage the entire building.

Furthermore, officers can use handheld wireless devices with Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) capabilities to control inmate sleeping areas and lighting, open cells, view closed circuit television cameras (all 56 of them) and more.

After considering a number of bids, the project’s electrical contractors brought in E3 Solutions, a Yakima-based company that specializes in low-voltage contracting, to address the fire protection dilemma. The company, which installs, inspects and services a wide variety of equipment, including fire and security alarms, played a key role in the decision of which system to employ.

“There were numerous holes in the facility management’s desired specifications,” observed Derek Karel, president of E3 Solutions. “Consequently, we were required to decipher exactly what management was looking for and how the system would ultimately interface with the facility’s various systems, including HVAC, suppressions systems, smoke control, everything.”

A major challenge to the project related to the nature of the facility itself, said Karel. “If a fire breaks out at the center, the fire department can’t simply roll in and start fighting the fire,” he explained. “They need to be led through the gate and escorted in, then they have to fight the fire in a very controlled fashion. Plus, you can’t just open the doors and evacuate the place like you would in a typical commercial building.

“The bottom line was that the facility needed a system that would provide accurate information so that only the inmates affected by a fire would be moved from one location to another and the disruption of the center would be kept to a minimum,” Karel pointed out. “And we also had to ensure that the equipment was located in common areas that firefighters could reach easily. Plus we needed to protect all of the equipment from inmates with security covers, anti-tamper screws and other measures.”

There were quite a few zones involved in this process, so using an easily installable and programmable system was paramount. After reviewing all the requirements, Karel chose the Farenhyt IFP-100/1000VIP (voice integration panel) line from Silent Knight, part of Honeywell’s fire group and a company that offers industry-wide compatible fire alarm solutions. E3 worked closely with the electrical contractors to have the IFP-100/1000 written into the system specifications.

“Programming is extremely simple,” said Karel, whose company had begun carrying the Silent Knight line just four months before recommending it for the Yakima center. “In fact, we used just one technician to install and program the entire system. This was very impressive, given how many different devices and zones we had to link back and forth.”

The installation of the system including final testing took 4-1/2 months. E3 interfaced the fire alarm system, which offers a total of 422 sensing points, into the security system for notification on the security touch screen of any alarms within the facility, as well as integrating it with the door locking devices and CCTV. Consequently, in the event of a fire event, officers controlling the facility have additional notification besides two annunciators.

The IFP-100/1000 supports 127 addressable devices and can be expanded to support up to 1,016 addressable devices that allow the user to determine precisely which device has been activated and/or needs attention.

To complement the panel, E3 chose SD505-AHS addressable heat detectors and SD505-APS addressable photoelectric-type smoke detectors, along with assorted ducts and relays for interfacing with the suppression and smoke control systems.

The equipment chosen, Derek Karel and E3 have given the Yakima Valley Justice Center a fire protection system that is second to none. And that gives everyone involved with the center a very secure feeling in a very secure building.