Silent Knight Fire Alarms Protect Schools in Central Florida County

Silent Knight by Honeywell recently announced its Farenhyt  line of fire alarm systems now protects 15 schools in Marion County, Fla., with more upgrades planned. More than 50 school facilities fall under the charge of this large school district, which frequently contends with fire protection upgrades. 

A history of strong performance from local integrator Mid State Fire  Systems and its Farenhyt line of fire protection systems manufactured by Silent Knight will soon lead to more upgrades within the county's schools in the near future. In total, 15 sizeable campuses comprised of six or more buildings have been equipped with networked Farenhyt systems. The next upgrade is set
to take place at a 320,000 square-foot high school using one IFP-2000 addressable fire alarm control panel at its head-end and an SKE-450 voice evacuation system. Nine power supplies will be installed throughout the school to support the power demands and lengthy wire runs of this expansive network's nearly 500 initiating and notification devices. The high school upgrade will also include one remote annunciator for easier network monitoring and control. "We like the design, reliability and survivability of the system, so we've decided to stick with Silent Knight," relates Gary McCallum, a telecommunications analyst with Marion County Public Schools, Ocala, Fla. Located in rural, central Florida, just northwest of Orlando, the region is subject to frequent lightning storms, particularly in the summer months.

Consequently, the district requires robust fire alarm systems to handle the extreme weather. "We've found the Farenhyt panels to be very rugged and have been able to survive in this environment down here," explains McCallum. Along these same lines, fiber optic cable is the common wiring choice for all of Marion's installations. "When you're dealing with a fiber optic cable, you don't have to worry about putting surge protection on it because glass doesn't transmit lightning, static or surges," says Monte Guerrette, general manager of Mid State, also based in Ocala. In addition, Mid State Operations Manager Jim Orrell points out that fiber optic cable is typically less costly and not as limiting in distance between panels and devices as is the case with copper wires. All fire alarm installations within the Marion County School District are mandated to go through a competitive bid process. Mid State attributes its ongoing work within the county's schools to its thorough installation, service work and the Farenhyt systems' durability, which inevitably requires less maintenance. The Farenhyt panels "tend to go very smooth on the install," affirms Guerrette. "We put it in, fire it up and we rarely ever get call backs." One key to Mid State's successful relationship with Marion schools has been their ability to deliver reliable fire protection. Being a Farenhyt Select engineered systems distributor, Mid State technicians are factory-trained and certified by Silent Knight on an ongoing basis. "The most important part is the installation," states McCallum. "You can eliminate a lot of problems down the road, and spend less time maintaining the system, if the installation is done correctly." Most recently, Mid State completed a two-phased fire alarm modernization for Lake Weir High School, plus a new wing addition and fire alarm upgrade for Fort McCoy School.

By updating Lake Weir's system with a Farenhyt IFP-2000VIP panel, fire protection and voice evacuation is now one integrated system, making it easier to use and maintain. To control the flow of smoke, Mid State also networked the new system to control flow and tamper switches, fan shut down, gas solenoids and elevator recall. Plus, the scalability of this high school's new system makes future fire alarm expansion and reconfiguration easier. Mid State worked closely with Marion County Schools' facility managers on both projects to execute seamless changeovers from the legacy systems. "There's a whole lot that goes into these projects as working with legacy systems can be quite a challenge," says McCallum. "It takes a lot of coordination and planning, but fortunately Mid State does a good job of foreseeing any issues before they become an issue." 

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