pet shelter

Homeward Bound

A non-profit animal shelter receives a generous fire protection donation

The Blue Earth Nicollet County Humane Society in Mankato, Minn., a nonprofit, no-kill shelter, has been caring for hundreds of homeless, injured, abandoned and abused animals since 1977.

BENCHS has a limited paid staff and relies on donations and volunteers to help care for the animals. It does not receive any funding from the city or national animal welfare or humane associations.

The current facility is rapidly deteriorating, and at 800 square feet, it can only be licensed to accommodate 10 dogs and 35 cats, which is not enough to support the 50 animals the shelter receives every month. The roof leaks, drywall and plaster are crumbling, and due to the lack of space, the dogs have limited time and space to play in the small yard.

Thanks to generous donations, BENCHS was able to purchase land for the construction of the new Riverside Regional Pet Center, a 6,266-squarefoot state-of-the-art facility, which is nearing completion.

A Good Cause

Global leaders of life safety, Silent Knight by Honeywell and System Sensor, and local fire alarm installer Spectrum System, teamed up to donate much-needed equipment and services to the Riverside Regional Pet Center.

Considering the challenge of evacuating the building of numerous volunteers, staff and kenneled animals, being able to quickly respond to smoke and fire is paramount.

The shelter needed a system that can detect and pinpoint the origin of emergencies, and alert occupants and first responders of any alarm situations in seconds.

Bill Winker, animal lover and president of Spectrum System, approached Silent Knight and System Sensor about donating equipment for the new shelter. Silent Knight donated the IntelliKnight 5700 addressable fire alarm control panel, System Sensor gifted SpectrAlert Advance HR horns and P2R horn strobes, and Spectrum System handled the complete installation.

"We have always used Silent Knight to ensure our customers receive a top-of- the-line system that is easy to manage," Winkler said. "The fact that the 5700 is addressable will allow the humane society to quickly and efficiently respond in case of a fire-related emergency. And System Sensor is our goto product; the HR and P2R have attractive finishes and are easy to install. We are thankful for the opportunity to work with Silent Knight and System Sensor to help with a good cause, and we look forward to the opening of the new shelter."

The IntelliKnight 5700 is a 50-point single-loop addressable fire alarm control/ communicator system. The control panel features addressable sensing technology, built-in digital communication, distributed intelligent power, an easyto- use interface, drift compensation and maintenance alerts.

"IntelliKnight fire alarm systems are non-proprietary and sold through local security equipment distributors," said Mike Fischer, Silent Knight's vice president of sales. "If Spectrum System decides to move, the shelter's system can be serviced by another certified fire alarm dealer familiar with Silent Knight systems, and parts will always be readily accessible."

The HR horns and P2R horn strobes are primary-signaling notification appliances. The horns have three alarm options and an option to switch between a temporal three-pattern and a continuous pattern. They also can send a maintenance alert when they need to be cleaned or replaced, rather than initiating a false alarm. In an animal shelter, where dirt and hair levels are expected to be high, these intelligent devices will prevent a large number of false alarms.

A New Home

The new sustainable, environmentally friendly facility will be large enough to house 20 dogs and 60 cats and includes isolation areas for animals that need to be quarantined. Other features include state-of-the-art air exchange and filtration systems, full kennels with outdoor runs and play yards for dogs, condominium-style housing for cats to live communally, a surgical suite and handicap accessibility.

"The new shelter will be a showcase in our community, region and state," said Susan Kroon, the president of BENCHS' board of directors. "It is essential that the precious occupants of this beautifully designed building that's LEED-rated are protected by a system that's as sophisticated as Silent Knight's 5700. We want to thank Silent Knight for gifting the shelter this wonderful system. The dogs and cats are so fortunate to have caring people reach out to them."

Thanks to the generous fire-protection donation, the shelter saved approximately $4,000. The Riverside Regional Pet Center was scheduled to open in January 2010 but was delayed due to funding constraints. The current goal is to raise $1.2 million to complete construction, cover campaign costs and create an endowment fund to ensure the future of the shelter.

To make a donation, please visit www.benchs.org/newshelter.php.

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