Category Archives: Elizabeth Richards

Busting the Myths That Undermine Fiber-Optic Cable Usage

Fiber-optic cabling is used in many low-voltage applications today thanks to its many operational benefits. Yet misconceptions are still rampant about fiber installation and testing, according to Brian Prusinski, director of sales at West Penn Wire, one of the leading manufacturing companies of low-voltage cabling and interconnecting in the electronics industry.

“There are still myths out there that fiber is too expensive, delicate, difficult to pull, it’s susceptible to breakage like other glass objects, and it’s near impossible to terminate in the field. Let’s bust these myths,” Prusinski said during a March 31 Fire-Lite Alarms webinar titled “Myth Busting Fiber-Optic Cabling and Termination.”

Almost 70 percent of the webinar’s participants reported that their businesses barely work with fiber, and many before the presentation thought fiber should be left to fiber specialists. Following the webinar and Prusinki’s record-straightening discussion of common fiber misconceptions, many left with an enhanced understanding of fiber-optic cabling.

“With unlimited bandwidth, maximum security, a low profile and ease of termination, fiber optics is among the most viable interconnecting solutions available,” said Prusinski. “Fiber-optic interconnecting technology will continue to grow, and end-user awareness will drive the need to provide it. Manufacturing companies such as Fire-Lite and West Penn are committed to fiber optics, and will continue to develop fiber products, service and support.”

Let’s check out the benefits of fiber-optic cabled systems. They are:

  • Extremely durable: Their tensile strength is greater than steel.
  • Low-profile: Each strand of fiber is smaller than a human hair.
  • Nonconductive: These systems are immune to lightning, ground faults and power surges.
  • “Unlimited” in bandwidth: The longest transmission line to date is 9,000 miles, and a single optical fiber can carry 3 million voice calls.
  • Secure: Unlike copper, fiber systems are “hack proof.” Fiber offers the highest level of security.

What’s more, Prusinski addressed the myth that fiber termination should be left for specialists. In the past, users needed to strip, measure, cut and polish the end of the cable. However, now there are specialized tools and kits that eliminate a lot of this hands-on work.

This is only a sample of what Prusinski explored during the Fire-Lite Alarms webinar. Click here to check out the webinar in full.

Want more information on fiber? Join us for our next webinar (Tuesday, July 28 @ 11am) – Register Here!

 

About the Author
Elizabeth Richards is the Manager of Communications for Fire-Lite Alarms, Honeywell Power and Silent Knight. Liz joined Honeywell Fire Systems in 2003 and is responsible for the communications, collateral, messaging, and events for all three brands.

 

Just Updated! ECC App Version 2.0

We’ve released a major update to the Fire-Lite Emergency ECC App IconCommand Center (ECC) application for iPad®. In a nutshell, the goal of version 2.0 is to make it a more realistic user experience – for dealers and end users.

When laying out a system in one of the app’s three new floor plans, technical documentation for the applicable products and information on compatible accessories is automatically compiled for quick download.

The updated application will include interactive options for more emergency events and alerts. Video footage has even been incorporated to demonstrate how the ECC’s remote access works, as well as how it functions during a fire alarm or severe weather event.

The latest app enhancements will also highlight two essential additions to the ECC line:
• Low frequency notification – the ECC app 2.0 will include the 520 Hz square wave tone, along with the more common 3 KHz tone, for dealers to have at their fingertips when demonstrating the differences.
• Back-up Audio Power – When laying out an ECC system, the new Fire-Lite Alarms ECC-50BDA distributed audio amplifier will be a new component included in version 2.0.

Search the Apple® iTunes® app store for “Fire-Lite ECC” to download the most recent version of the ECC App.

We’re planning future blogs and videos on tips for dealers to make the most of the ECC app. What do you want to know and what would you like to see in version 3.0? Comment below…

About the Author
Elizabeth Richards is the Manager of Communications for Fire-Lite Alarms, Honeywell Power and Silent Knight. Liz joined Honeywell Fire Systems in 2003 and is responsible for the communications, collateral, messaging, and events for all three brands.

Another Successful NFPA!

We had a great week in Chicago at the NFPA Conference and Expo!

The booth stayed busy and we enjoyed the opportunity to chat with life safety professionals, like you, and introduce our newest products and solutions. The conference portion held over 120 sessions ranging from code updates, product introductions, technical trainings, and more.  Attendees really seemed engaged in the conversations and interested in what’s new in the industry.

If you missed the expo this year or want a little more information on what we were showing, here are a few products we highlighted in the display:

SWIFT™ Wireless    Less Wire. More Opportunities.FL-Wireless-collage-plain
Fire-Lite Alarms’ SWIFT™ wireless fire detection system detects fire, just like their wired counterparts, while providing installation flexibility in a wireless format. Our wireless system can use any combination of Fire-Lite monitor modules, smoke and/or heat detectors. In addition, both wired and wireless devices can be present on the same fire alarm control panel providing an integrated wired/wireless solution for increased installation potential.

Lite-Connect™   Connecting Fire Alarms the Easy Way
Lite-Connect™ is a solution that allows building owners reduce the number of phone lines by consolidating the central station ANN-LC - 175communications to a single MS-9050UD fire alarm control panel. Using fiber-optic technology, the panels are connected together and the MS-9050UD sends point or zone information to the Central Station for the entire system. In addition, building to building connections with fiber-optic cable avoids potential ground fault issues and damage caused by lightning strikes.

Remote Telephone Zone Module for the Emergency Command Center
Emergency Communications is about getting the right message to ECC-50-100_webthe right people at the right time. The RTZM (Remote Telephone Zone Module) gives an authorized end user access to the ECC during an emergency using any telephone. By adding the RTZM module to any ECC system, users have the ability to initiate pre-recorded messages or even make a live page.

Don’t forget about our library of free tools that were created to support the products and your business.

If you’ve never attended an NFPA Conference or Expo, it’s a wealth of information for both product and industry! If your business is involved with fire, don’t miss next year’s conference at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas, NV, June 13 – 16.

What was your favorite moment of NFPA 2015? Tweet us at @FireLiteAlarms or leave a comment below!

 

 

About the Author
Elizabeth Richards is the Manager of Communications for the SED Channel – Fire-Lite Alarms, Honeywell Power, and Silent Knight. Liz joined Honeywell Fire Systems in 2003 and is responsible for the communications, collateral, messaging, and events for all three brands.

SSI’s Supplier Stellar Service Award Winner – Social Media Presence

We’re proud to announce that Fire-Lite Alarms has been awarded the Stellar Service Award (Silver) for Social Media Presence!

SSI’s Supplier Stellar Service Awards salute those companies that set themselves apart from the thousands of competitors to deliver SSI Stellar Service Award logothe highest levels of service and support to the installing dealer and integrator community.

A BIG thank you to those who nominated us!

Thank you to our fabulous contributors who research and write and to our wonderful readers/followers who are growing and learning with us!

Congratulations to all of the other winners and nominees! Your hard work to be the best-of-the-best really shows!

“Our goal is to educate our customers through social media, not use it solely to push product. Educating integrators and dealers through the Fire-Lite Blog and You-Tube videos have proven to be a great method for supporting our customers. And we make sure we keep an open ear on our LinkedIn Group and Twitter to hear the good and the bad — we’re just trying to be as close to our customers as we can be.” – Liz Richards

 Thank You Note

About the Author
Elizabeth Richards is the Manager of Communications for Fire-Lite Alarms, Honeywell Power and Silent Knight. Liz joined Honeywell Fire Systems in 2003 and is responsible for the communications, collateral, messaging, and events for all three brands.

 

Before, During & After ISC West – Lessons Learned in Vegas

With less than 2 weeks away from the opening of ISC West, it’s time to start thinking about what training sessions to attend, who’s exhibit you want to check out, what new products will be showcased, and who you need to catch-up with during the wevegas-sign1ek.

But after the sessions are over and the last attendee exits the Sands Convention Center, what’s the plan? Team dinners? Networking Events? Catching up on emails? Maybe just relaxing after standing on cement floors for hours?

Here are a few things I have learned over the past 11 years:

1. Hydrate Hydrate Hydrate!
You’re in a desert even if you don’t leave the convention center all day. Besides the heat and dryness, you may end up being out late or over-indulging. Make sure you give yourself time to eat breakfast and if you do end up with a hangover, load up on carbs and water.

2. What About Breakfast??
Once you reach the ISC West show floor, you’ve got a small concession stand with a long line or a far walk back to find coffee and a bagel for breakfast. If you can’t grab breakfast off-site, three of my favorite, fastest options are: the Venetian Hotel Food Court is a quick, casual spot with a lot of options for breakfast and lunch, and it’s right on the way for those walking through the Venetian Hotel (on casino level) from Las Vegas, Blvd.; the food court at the Grand Canal Shops on the second level of the Venetian has an assortment of fast and tasty food choices; and a last resort would be to head down the hall from the Sands toward the Venetian Hotel and Casino to Café Presse or the Grand Lux Café, which are typically busy at prime meal times, but when you’re hungry, you’re hungry.

3. Hand Sanitizer
Think of how many times you shake hands with people at this show. Yeah, a little pocket bottle of hand sanitizer is not such a bad idea.

4. Bring a back-up phone charger!
The convention center seems to drain my phone battery in no time! Maybe it’s b/c I’m tweeting or trying to keep up with emails while working the booth. I never have enough time between the close of the show and dinner reservations to get a full charge. There’s a variety of mini travel chargers out there that can slip into your purse or pocket to give a quick charge in the taxi ride to the restaurant.

5. Figure out tomorrow’s dinner today!
I love food! When I travel I always try to visit new places to eat and relax but when there are thousands of people in town for a tradeshow and business dinners galore, reservation times might be hard to come by if you don’t plan ahead. Vegas is FULL of great places – both low key and crazy! Just remember to plan early!!

6. Tourist It Up!
Even if you’ve been going to Las Vegas for years like me, you never see everything it offers. There are so many interesting activities and neat places to check out: visit Freemont Street, see a show, or take a drive out to the Grand Canyon!

7. Make space on your phone/camera for pictures!
Maybe you’ll catch a glimpse of Elvis or Marilyn? You never know what you’ll see!

Las Vegas offers a free, downloadable guide to anyone interested in visiting. Let’s catch up and share Vegas stories!

Safe Travels Everyone!

 

About the Author
Elizabeth Richards is the Manager of Communications for the SED Channel – Fire-Lite Alarms, Honeywell Power, and Silent Knight. Liz joined Honeywell Fire Systems in 2003 and is responsible for the communications, collateral, messaging, and events for all three brands.

Why Use Twitter for Business?

Even with only 140 characters you can create a great program to announce, engage and inform your followers.  It’s not a “set it and forget it” program – you will need to dedicate time to maintain and adjust as needed – but with so many people and companies beginning to utilize different aspects of social media, yTweetou don’t want to be left behind!

 

Here are my reasons for using Twitter for business:

Inform
Information is all over the place.  When you visit our website, you’ll find product pages, technical bulletins, newsletters, webinars, training & seminars, etc… you get the idea. But sometimes you just want to see the short story and leave the real reviewing for later, when you have time to sit and read.  A tweet can be as simple as your next training dates and a registration link or if you are attending a conference or trade event and want to promote it among your followers.  Retweet others that are involved in the industry or announce new products.

Advertise
A twitter account is free.  I don’t know about you and your business, but we end up cutting back on advertising when other higher priority expenses come up. We may have to forgo a couple ads in top industry magazines, but look at it this way – with nearly 60% of American adults now possessing smartphones, we have to consider alternative methods of capturing their attention.     Twitter also offers advertising through their site.  You can promote certain tweets to target audiences and possibly build awareness of your brand/product/service in new minds – particularly to those who are local to your business.

Entertain
I try to entertain our followers and keep interest high in what we tweet about throughout the day.  We’ll throw in a contest about weird stories from the field or a fun #TBT (throw back Thursday) picture of an old brochure or system.  The life safety industry is very serious, but if you get one chuckle out of a random picture or snarky comment, I’d hope you would carry that through your day.

Observe
There are over 285 million active users on Twitter. That’s a lot of people that have opinions on topics you might be interested in – good or bad!  Wouldn’t you like to know what people are saying about your company or your competitors?  By observing your audience, you can see what topics are hot, what they are interested in, and what people don’t like.

As an example, let’s say I see a few folks talking about fiber and the uses of it in the Fire/Life safety business.  As a manufacturer that has a product that utilizes fiber (Lite-Connect), I would focus my tweets on FAQs about fiber, ways to learn more about it, how my product uses fiber, and everything else revolving around the topic.  BTW, we have a webinar on Lite-Connect if you are interested.

Understand
People are going to talk about their experience with you or your company.  If you see negative comments, don’t ignore them.  By sitting back, you won’t get to the root cause, and this is the perfect opportunity to publicly turn a bad situation around and look like a superhero – with just a few 140 character tweets.  Maybe they lumped you in with a competitor they had a bad experience with and the comment really has nothing to do with your company. Maybe there was a problem with a part they used or received. By reaching out, asking for details, and offering to work with them on a solution, you show that you do care about the customer and what they think of your product and company.  I’ve personally reached out to a few folks that had problems. We worked out the details, produced an easy fix and everyone was satisfied.

Businesses should already look to continuously improving: customer service, technical knowledge, product training, marketing, sales and support, …  Your customer does you a favor by calling, make sure you answer and support their needs to the best of your ability.  J

So, to see what I’ve been talking about for the past 5 minutes, visit Fire-Lite on twitter: @FireLiteAlarms.

I love this 2 minute video from Twitter on “What Can Your Business Do…In Just 140 Characters?”. It spotlights success stories from companies – large and small – that share their stories of services, sales, fund raising, innovations, and ice cream!

BRB – I need to tweet @BenandJerrys with some new flavor suggestions!

About the Author
Elizabeth Richards is the Manager of Communications for Fire-Lite Alarms, Honeywell Power and Silent Knight. Liz joined Honeywell Fire Systems in 2003 and is responsible for the communications, collateral, messaging, and events for all three brands. You can follow her on Twitter @EARichards973

Understanding Commissioning and System Acceptance Testing

In the fire and life safety industry, thorough testing can sometimes be the difference between life and death. However, staying up-to-date with testing requirements in this ever-evolving market can be challenging. A good place to start is understanding the differences between commissioning and system acceptance testing, which we recently explored in our September webinar, “Understanding Commissioning and System Acceptance Testing,” available now on-demand.

First, let’s define system acceptance testing. This is basically single-system testing performed on an installation to confirm compliance with the manufacturer’s installation specifications, applicable codes and standards, and the owner’s requirements. Under acceptance testing, each system is individually tested.

Integrated fire protection/life safety system testing takes it a step further. These tests help confirm the operation, interaction and coordination of multiple individual systems. Integrated testing asks whether each individual system performs its intended function when working together. Here, the installer is thinking of the building’s systems holistically.

The Role of Commissioning
Now, let’s look at commissioning, which is distinct from acceptance testing and integrated testing. It is a recommended—not required—practice that is spelled out in NFPA 3. Commissioning takes into account a building’s entire fire and life safety system, rather than looking at individual systems, such as fire alarms, on their own.

Commissioning is achieved in the design phase, and continues through the construction, acceptance and warrantee periods with continual verification of performance, operation and maintenance documentation and the training of personnel. Commissioning is a living process—not a one-time task.

Commissioning ensures that all of the devices and systems that are interconnected truly work as required and meet the owner’s criteria to achieve fire and life safety goals. This systematic process provides documented confirmation that specific and interconnected fire and life safety systems function according to the intended design criteria set forth in the project documents. It also ensures that the systems satisfy the owner’s operational needs, including compliance to applicable laws, regulations, codes and standards affecting fire and life safety systems.

The fire and life safety industry seem to be gradually moving away from system acceptance testing in favor of commissioning. Why? Commissioning is a systematic process that helps to validate the quality, performance and reliability of an installed system—both at the time of installation and as the system advances in age. If issues emerge during commissioning, the engineer or building owner has a chance to address them or update the project requirements. In addition, commissioning reduces liability on the part of the building owner, installer and more. Following these documented tests, each stakeholder knows that the entire system is working as expected.

Learn More
Ready to learn more about the role of the commissioning team, the importance of the commissioning plan, testing frequencies and more? Visit our webinar page to download, “Understanding Commissioning and System Acceptance Testing“.

 

About the Author
Elizabeth Richards is the Manager of Communications for Fire-Lite Alarms, Honeywell Power and Silent Knight. Liz joined Honeywell Fire Systems in 2003 and is responsible for the communications, collateral, messaging, and events for all three brands.

Extending Fire Alarm Capabilities through Wireless Technology

Every year brings exciting new innovations to the fire alarm industry, each gradually expanding the possibilities and improving the effectiveness of the technology we work with every day. In 2014, Fire-Lite Alarms introduced an easy and more flexible way to connect fire alarms with Lite-Connect, a multi-building fiber solution. Now, we’re bringing even more flexibility to commercial fire alarm installs with a new line of wireless fire sensing devices: the Smart Wireless Integrated Fire Technology (SWIFT) detectors and modules.

Less is More
For fire alarm installers, less wire means more opportunities. SWIFT detectors and modules are designed to significantly extend the capabilities and range of our fire alarm systems, giving you more flexibility in any environment, including challenging or high-cost installations and building expansions. Cost-savings is another benefit of incorporating wireless devices into a new system: Wireless technology reduces the cost of running wire through concrete walls and ceilings or areas where materials such as asbestos are a concern. Wireless also benefits the numerous installations where mounting detectors is extremely challenging, such as in historic buildings, museums, warehouses, parking garages or any facility with concrete walls.

The SWIFT devices seamlessly integrate with new and existing fire alarm systems from Fire-Lite Alarms. In fact, the wireless devices work just like their wired counterparts, except they leverage a Class A, mesh network to communicate. This means that every device acts as a repeater with redundant path communication, ensuring reliable communication and enabling installers to significantly extend the range of the system over point-to-point alternatives.

With SWIFT devices, once a mesh network is formed, a restructuring automatically occurs to find alternate paths within the network. Each SWIFT network uses unique mesh IDs to prevent miscommunication with other devices, and inherent frequency hopping prevents system interference.

The new SWIFT product line includes photoelectric, photo/thermal, standard heat, and rate-of-rise heat detectors, plus a monitor module, wireless gateway and wireless USB dongle for use with SWIFT Tools. SWIFT Tools is our new Windows PC-based utility for site evaluation, system configuration and diagnostics. A system can use any combination of up to 48 SWIFT devices per wireless gateway and up to four gateways can be installed to expand the system even further.

Learn More
Our most recent webinar, “Expand Your Fire Alarm Opportunities with Wireless,” delves deeper into the possibilities of the SWIFT line of wireless devices. To download a copy of the presentation or watch at your own pace, please click here. To view the entire line-up of SWIFT devices, visit the Fire-Lite website.

 

About the Author
Elizabeth Richards is the Manager of Communications for the SED Channel – Fire-Lite Alarms, Honeywell Power, and Silent Knight. Liz joined Honeywell Fire Systems in 2003 and is responsible for the communications, collateral, messaging, and events for all three brands.

Lite-Connect Earns Campus Safety “BEST” Award

Fire-Lite is pleased to share that its Lite-Connect solution has earned a Campus Safety BEST Award in the Fire/Life Safety Category!Campus Safety BEST Winner icon 2014

Lite-Connect enables Fire-Lite fire alarm control panels in multiple buildings to consolidate central station communications by allowing a “main” panel to become the communicator for the complete system. Beyond the elimination of costly phone lines and fees associated with multiple monitoring accounts, Lite-Connect’s use of fiber-optic technology better protects systems from ground faults and other electrical surges from lightning. Fiber optic cable allows the fire alarm control panels to communicate more details on points and zones for an informed response.

The Campus Safety BEST Awards winning entries were chosen from an exclusive group of products deemed most noteworthy by a panel of accomplished leaders in the security industry. Criteria included innovation, functionality and benefits to the end user. All BEST entrants can be viewed online at CampusSafetyMagazine.com/best.

Thank you to the panel of industry leaders, along with the editors of Campus Safety, who deemed Lite-Connect worthy of the award!

Want to learn more about Lite-Connect? We got you covered!
Visit firelite.com, watch a short 2 minute video, check out our blog, or download our webinar: Lite-Connect – A New Fiber Solution.

 

About the Author
Elizabeth Richards is the Manager of Communications for Fire-Lite Alarms, Honeywell Power and Silent Knight. Liz joined Honeywell Fire Systems in 2003 and is responsible for the communications, collateral, messaging, and events for all three brands.

Connecting Fire Alarm Panels the Easy Way

How Much Can You Save With Lite-Connect?

Recently, Fire-Lite announced a new way of connecting multiple buildings for consolidated central station communications, called Lite-ConnecPicture1t. This new module utilizes fiber-optic technology to connect Fire-Lite fire alarm control panels together, allowing a “main” panel to become the communicator for the complete system.

A common way of combining the central station communications is by running a Signaling Line Circuit (SLC) and addressable modules from a main panel to remote building. By running copper wires underground, the potential for ground faults and costly repairs increases due to lightning strikes. A single strike could result in hundreds of dollars in repair labor as well as possible down time in the monitoring of the remote buildings.

Benefits for Facility Managers and Building Owners:
Do you have fire alarm panels connected together via underground copper? As facility manager or building owner, how much are you spending on repairing/replacing fire alarm panels due to lightning strikes? In addition to keeping the building and its occupants are safe and monitored, did you know that you could be missing out on some easy savings on the monitoring costs? Who wouldn’t want to save a few bucks?!

If your buildings already have a Fire-Lite system in them ask your service company about Lite-Connect and if it would reduce the costs you pay for monitoring! Need someone in the area? Contact your Regional Sales Manager for a distributor/installer near you.

Learn more about Lite-Connect by watching a 3 minute video along with documentation on www.firelite.com.

 

About the Author
Elizabeth Richards is the Manager of Communications for Fire-Lite Alarms, Honeywell Power and Silent Knight. Liz joined Honeywell Fire Systems in 2003 and is responsible for the communications, collateral, messaging, and events for all three brands.