I’ve noticed more and more requests of customers looking for a fiber solution to interconnect multiple facilities on a single campus.
To expand, I will give you an example of an apartment complex that we recently worked with. Like many multiple-facility campuses, there is an interest in having a single fire alarm panel with the field components (Smoke Detectors, Horn Strobes, Strobes, Pull Stations etc.) for all buildings tied into one “master panel”. The reason for this is to keep it as one single monitored account.
In the apartment complex example, the customer has (15) buildings throughout the campus. The customer wants to avoid monitoring and phone line costs for each of the (15) individual sites. The solution is to go with a larger fire alarm panel, which will handle all the devices for each of the (15) buildings. This is completed by wiring underground to each of the (15) buildings to be controlled by the single fire alarm panel, thus, keeping the property as one single monitored account.
This has been going on for years. The only problem is that the majority of fire alarm panels require copper as the main source of connectivity from the panel to the field components in each of the individual facilities. Copper is very prone to lightning strikes, which causes “ground faults”. Ground faults can cease operation to any devices connected to the copper wire in which the ground fault occurred, meaning at any given time an entire building can be without fire protection until the ground fault is repaired. This forces the customer to schedule costly service calls for repairing the ground faults, which are often not easy to repair. Locating a ground fault between buildings can be tricky and when you do find it, you have to dig the wire up and repair that section or re-run the wire from the panel to the individual building in which the ground fault occurred. This is extremely common and costly for customers.
A solution is to use fiber as the mode of connectivity between the main panel and the individual buildings. Fiber, which is made of glass, cannot be affected by lightning meaning a ground fault cannot occur when fiber is used. Of course, running fiber is more costly on the front end, but it does avoid service calls and system troubles due to ground faults.
There are only a few manufacturers on the market that make panels that will work with Fiber, but because of the growing command, my guess is that more and more manufacturers will introduce a panel conducive to fiber.
In terms of the number of customer requests for fiber I’ve seen recently, this can certainly be considered a hot trend within our industry.
For information about Fire-Lite’s fiber solution, Lite-Connect, visit www.firelite.com
About the Author
Justin MacDaniel is a Commercial Sales Consultant for ASG Security with 5 years of experience selling Honeywell Fire and Life Safety Systems.