Miles College

Miles College Plant Facility Director Edward Jenkins and Protection One Branch Sales Manager Cheryl Hill stand at the school’s main entrance.

The fire protection systems on the Miles College campus in Fairfield, Ala., have been updated by fire alarm and security integrator Protection 1 using Fire-Lite Alarms’ MS-9600UDLS addressable fire alarm systems. Utilizing an existing IP network for fire alarm reporting to Protection 1’s central station, the school was able to boost the reliability and response time of fire alarm communications while eliminating the cost of two phones lines per system.

Founded in 1898, Miles College is ranked as the fastest growing nationwide member of the United Negro College Fund. With an enrollment of more than 1,800 students, 800 of which live on campus, the school recently began a new construction project, which triggered the need for its older campus buildings to meet newer fire code requirements.

To begin the fire alarm upgrades within four specific buildings on campus, the college contracted with Protection 1 to outfit the facilities with all new systems. Knowing the ease of installation and performance track record of Fire-Lite Alarms systems, industry veteran Cheryl Hill, the Birmingham sales manager based in the Protection 1 Pelham, Ala. office, recommended the MS-9600UDLS system for the job.

Each MS-9600UDLS fire alarm control panel offers a capacity of 318 addressable devices on one Signaling Line Circuit. If more points are desired, an optional second loop can be added for a total of 636 addressable points.

For this install, each of the buildings — Murchison Hall, a men’s dormitory; L.H. Pitts Hall, a women’s dormitory; Kirkendoll Learning Resource Center, housing the campus library, computer labs and student services; and Knox-Windham Gym — were fitted with stand-alone panels in each facility, along with the additional upgrades of 41 pull stations, 79 addressable smoke detectors, 22 addressable duct detectors and 67 strobe lights.

The monitoring of fire alarm systems throughout the Miles College campus is performed by Protection 1’s 24-hour central station which is backed up by 4 additional UL Listed – fully redundant monitoring centers.

Based on Protection 1’s recommendation, the college decided to go with an IP (Internet Protocol) communicator, as opposed to traditional phone lines, for monitoring the four facilities’ new systems.

“IP offers a safer way to make sure building occupants are well protected,” said Hill. “This way the college doesn’t have to worry about the fire system going off-line in the event that the phone lines go down.”     

Consequently, Edward Jenkins, Miles College physical plant director, has an ongoing program to monitor and maintain all security, and fire alarm systems on campus with Fire-Lite systems. “Such a project falls under deferred maintenance and requires approval by the board, but we’re hoping it can be put into the fiscal budget for next year,” he said.

Seeing an opportunity to be more cost-effective, the school is seeking to convert away from proprietary fire alarm systems, which can severely limit sources for parts and maintenance, Fire-Lite said. With all Fire-Lite Alarms equipment being non-proprietary and sold through wholesale distributor locations throughout the U.S., the flexibility of the school’s new systems can easily accommodate future expansions and upgrades needed for the growing campus of Miles College.

Jenkins is impressed with the fire alarms’ immediate notification and Protection 1’s same day service. “We are really pleased with our experience, not to mention the great service.”