Phoenix Children’s Hospital Upgrades Fire Safety Technology

Founded 26 years ago, Phoenix Children’s Hospital is one of the 10 largest children’s hospitals in the nation. The hospital currently covers more than 40 pediatric specialties and provides health care to some of the sickest children in Arizona.

In order to meet the requirements of a rapidly expanding metro Phoenix population base, the hospital began a $588 million expansion and renovation of its facilities in 2008 with a new 685,000 square foot, 11-story patient tower and an 18-unit Ronald McDonald House -- making it the largest free-standing children’s hospital in the nation.

Providing a fire protection system for such a large project will be a complicated and difficult task. The project requires installing the latest, most-advanced fire protection technology available for the renovated and new structures, such as the patient tower, and integrating this new technology with the hospital’s legacy systems in order to create a single, cohesive system.

Appropriately, the process for choosing the fire system contractor was very demanding.

As Tim Snow, general manager of Detection Logic Arizona, put it, “To win this job, the contractor would have to provide the right credentials, the right product offering, and the ability to support the system in the future.”

The first stage of the process began in March 2008 with the fire alarm Request for Qualifications (RFQ) sent out to several vendors representing each of the three fire system manufacturers approved for the project.

Even for Detection Logic, which has extensive experience in installing fire systems for large applications, winning the project came down to several other factors -- most significantly its system design proposal. The winning submittal had to demonstrate that the design and product selection could best meet all the challenging technology and performance requirements of Phoenix Children’s Hospital while keeping system, installation, and ongoing operational costs down.

For example, the existing fire system for Phoenix Children’s Hospital is based on Edwards Systems Technology (EST) products. To integrate the legacy EST and new NOTIFIER systems, Detection Logic proposed connecting each panel through an Echelon fiber optic network to an ONYXWorks workstation from NOTIFIER in a UL-864-listed configuration.

“The ONYXWorks Monitoring and Integration System is the only system available capable of integrating all of Phoenix Children’s Hospital legacy and proposed systems,” said Fred Lovato, engineering manager at Detection Logic.

For Phoenix Children’s Hospital, these systems could include fire alarm systems, security systems, card access systems, CCTV systems, central station receivers for outlying buildings with no connectivity, and any systems with dry contacts that must be monitored.

Along with the Echelon backbone with ONYXWorks, the proposal included NOTIFIER network panels and detection and notification devices from System Sensor, including intelligent photoelectric smoke detectors, SpectrAlert Advance chimes and strobes, and speakers and speaker strobes for voice evacuation.

“With their ability to communicate clear, intelligible messages, SpectrAlert Advance speakers and speaker strobes are our device of choice for voice evacuation systems designed to protect patients and children,” Lovato said.

They were also selected for their ability to be quickly and easily installed and maintained. The design called for more than 1,200 speaker strobes. As the only plug-in devices, the SpectrAlert Advance products not only speed and simplify installation across large projects, but also reduce labor and material costs associated with ground faults caused by pinched or crushed wires.

In addition to the system design proposal, Detection Logic provided Phoenix Children’s Hospital with information on how they would support the system. Consequently, Detection Logic proposed a range of approaches to enable the hospital to operate and maintain the system effectively, including providing constant training throughout the installation of the system, labeling devices based on Phoenix Children’s Hospital input, and designing a user-friendly system interface.

About the Author

David George is the director of marketing at System Sensor.


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