Whether it is Big Red football, a local business affair or other personal ventures that attract people to Lincoln, Neb., the area’s new Staybridge Suites hotel has been running at full capacity since opening its doors in late summer 2012.

To achieve an on-time opening, the hotel’s fire alarm system had to prove it was operable and code compliant. However, expanded carbon monoxide (CO) detection and a fire fighters’ telephone system were additions made to this hotel’s system that were not mandated by code, but required by Staybridge parent company, InterContinental Hotels Group. These additions brought both better security and some unexpected cost-savings.

“We want our hotels to be as safe as possible for our staff and guests,” explained Staybridge Suite’s General Manager Roland Morgan. “We would rather our life safety systems be better than the minimum standard and be the best that’s available.”

System Components

At the heart of the hotel’s fire alarm system sits a Farenhyt IFP-2000 addressable fire alarm control panel from Silent Knight. This scalable system can support as many as 636 addressable points per panel, expandable to over 10,000 points on a networked system. Points can be any addressable device, including smoke detectors, pull stations, relay modules and control modules.

“I really like the 2000. It’s a really good panel and accepts more on a loop, which cuts down on the number of circuits that have to be dealt with,” said Acey Jane of Ready Low Voltage Systems, the installer on the project. “This is the fifth InterContinental hotel I’ve installed IFP panels in and haven’t had any complaints.”

Staybridge fulfilled its notification needs by tying public area horns and strobes into the central panel with one Silent Knight 5495 power supply panel. Another 5495 panel powers the sounder bases in the suites. With 10 of the facility’s 83 guest rooms designed for the hearing impaired, the strobes in those rooms are run by two RPS-1000 intelligent distributed  power modules.

“This allows the strobes to be activated individually when smoke in a room is detected. Or, all strobes activate when a sprinkler system or public area device go into alarm,” Jane explained. “By using the RPS-1000s, the strobes are synchronized in the suites, and a lot of savings are accrued by not having to install 10 separate control and sync modules.”

A Lesson in CO Detection

As mentioned, CO detection is a big priority for the hotel, so Jane’s team installed CO detectors from System Sensor in all areas sharing a wall, floor or ceiling with a room where a gas-burning appliance is located. For example, the double-sided fireplace in the hotel’s great room required four detectors in surrounding spaces. The spaces adjacent to the mechanical room’s water heaters and indoor pool’s water heater also received CO detection.

Jane finds the System Sensor detectors easy to test, monitor and interface with the fire alarm. As such, he’s installed them at several other hotels.

Programming the system to enable all rooms to annunciate at the front desk was yet another Staybridge Suites requirement for this project. As a back-up, a mini-horn will sound in the laundry room where hotel personnel usually work when not at the front desk.

The main panel was set up with switches to disable horns and strobes during testing to avoid disturbing guests.

First Responder Communications

Staybridge was prepared to dole out quite an investment for fire fighter telephones (FFT) to be installed within all stairwells at the request of the hotel’s parent company. Most products on the market only offer fire fighter phones as part of a voice evacuation system.

“Fortunately, the Farenhyt FFT, which is a stand-alone system, came out just as I was bidding the hotel,” Jane related. “It’s just beautiful, and the hotel saved several thousand dollars by not having to go with a full-blown voice evacuation system.”

Not only is the FFT easy to install, Jane says, but it is a much better choice aesthetically. The alternative would be a voice evacuation system that requires large panels in the lobby where guests typically gather for free drinks and snacks.

The Farenhyt IFP-FFT can support a maximum of 72 telephone connections with up to 10 phones in use at one time, making it one of the largest-capacity fire fighter communications systems on the market. Not only is the system scalable to fit the needs of a four-story facility like the Staybridge Suites, but it operates on a single loop of standard wire to simplify installation and reduce expenses.

A Job Well Done

The Staybridge Suite’s fire alarm monitors both wet and dry sprinkler systems and 206 smoke detectors, in addition to controlling elevators in the event of a fire. The Farenhyt system covered all specifications mandated by local code and the InterContinental Hotels Group, while offering various measures for reducing costs. Ultimately, Staybridge acquired the advanced level of fire protection required for all of its properties.

Echoing these sentiments, Morgan declared, “We have had nothing but good experiences using this brand of equipment at our existing hotel and other properties owned by the same ownership group. Detection has always been good and response times have been very fast.”


Projects in the News

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The Pittsboro Police Department is dedicated to enhancing quality of life and maintaining Pittsboro, Ind., as a safe place for its 3,000 residents to live and work. A growing concern for the town is the rise in youth vandalism and criminal mischief. To address this risk head-on, the PPD deployed the Avigilon high-definition surveillance system to monitor key areas across town to reduce misbehavior and boost community safety.

Working with the SafeSmallTowns.com initiative of AllThingsIT, the concept of an integrated wireless civic surveillance system, based on the Avigilon high-definition surveillance system, was approved by Pittsboro’s town council.

All police officers and the Chief of Police manage the surveillance system from their desktops using the Avigilon Control Center with HDSM. The PPD installed an Avigilon HD 180º HD panoramic dome camera at the town’s main intersection to monitor vehicular and pedestrian traffic. The PPD also deployed several Avigilon analog video encoders to improve image quality and manageability of its existing analog cameras to cover the parking lot, entrances, exits, and other high-traffic areas in Scamahorn Park. An Avigilon Network Video Recorder (NVR) stores 30 days of continuous video footage. “The Avigilon high-definition surveillance system runs very smoothly on our wireless network – we have had no bandwidth issues whatsoever,” noted Lieutenant King.

PPD officers use ACC Mobile to monitor the cameras remotely from their Android phones. “We can be out of state, check our phone when we have a minute and call the on duty officer if we see suspicious activity,” explained Lieutenant Scott King of the Pittsboro Police Department.

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Radnor Township School District bolstered district security with the installation of video intercom buzz-in systems from Aiphone at the main entrance doors of Ithan, Radnor and Wayne Elementary schools and Radnor Middle School. All school visitors are now required to press the intercom button once to activate the system, wait for a member of the main office staff to reply, face the intercom, and advise the staff member of their name and purpose of visit. A monitor viewable by the staff member displays the visitor. Signs are displayed explaining how to operate the intercoms.

The school stated in a press release that the intercoms were the result of a dedicated review of district security following the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School. The installation of the intercom systems was a recommended security measure by several district and township groups.

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DVTEL announced that Marine Container Inc., deployed an intelligent video monitoring service that incorporates ioimage by DVTEL analytics to enhance safety and reduce theft. With a 130,000-square-foot warehouse and six acres to monitor, the company sought a surveillance solution that could capture video, enable officials to investigate incidents quickly and work to prevent incidents.

The company chose Visentry, a monitored video surveillance service provider that leverages intelligent remote monitoring technology to reduce theft and vandalism, eliminate the cost of on-site patrols and lower insurance premiums. Visentry’s Virtual Sentry combines intelligent video event detection and analysis capabilities to provide 24/7 remote monitoring based on real-time detection and response. The platform leverages HD video surveillance cameras and intelligent analytics from ioimage by DVTEL to detect potential threats. Users define detection parameters and, once a threat is detected, Visentry’s central station is notified. A Visentry operator then manages a real-time response, using PTZ camera capabilities to verify the event and acquire more information on risk factors. If the alarm is high priority, the operator can dispatch local police.

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Tyco Security Products announced that Yale-New Haven Hospital (YNHH), one of the largest U.S. hospitals, chose an integrated security solution from its Software House and American Dynamics brands. The solution will be used to secure YNHH’s 1,500-bed flagship teaching hospital and various other sites.

YNHH will centralize the management of its security systems, both access and video, from the hospital’s more than 12 individual sites, on the network by using Software House’s C•CURE 9000 security and event management system and American Dynamics’ VideoEdge network video management system.

Working with its integrator, Johnson Controls, YHNN’s multi-tiered access control migration plan includes updating the access control credentials for more than 12,000 workers in the network, impacting more than 1,000 doors and readers. YNHH chose Software House’s iSTAR controllers for its small data closets because of the products’ remote programming capabilities, according to Tyco Security Products. The hospital also deployed Software House’s Business Intelligence Reporting Suite to produce customized reports from C•CURE 9000.

Additionally, the hospital is migrating some of its digital recorders to 22 VideoEdge network video servers.