The Savannah College of Art and Design’s buildings were equipped with five zone conventional panels and obsolete 110V smoke detectors, which posed a major threat to the safety of its more than 5,800 students and faculty. An upgraded system has allowed officials and students alike to rest easier.

The Savannah College of Art and Design in Savannah, GA, occupies more than one million square feet and spans over 60 buildings. The college is located in Savannah’s historic Victorian district and includes several prestigious structures, most of which date back over 100 years.

Since its inception in 1978, the college has acquired and renovated several local buildings that had been abandoned and were lying vacant, deteriorating, and unused. The college has enjoyed regular praise from Savannah’s historical associations for its careful attention to the preservation of its architectural attributes. Understandably, the college’s outdated fire alarm system was one area that could not be preserved — it was in dire need of modernization.

The college’s buildings were equipped with five zone conventional panels and 110V smoke detectors, which were unable to pinpoint the exact location of a fire. With these obsolete detectors, the college’s fire prevention system posed a major threat to the lives of its more than 5,800 students and faculty.

Moreover, the college lacked a centralized alarm control center, making it nearly impossible for maintenance personnel to detect when an individual alarm went off in a facility. The college also needed to improve handicapped accessibility, in order to make it easier for students in wheelchairs to exit quickly in case of a fire. To prevent potential disaster, college officials knew they needed to upgrade their fire alarm system quickly and do so in a cost-effective manner.

The Solution

To ensure that the highest quality and most dependable fire detection system would be provided for its students and faculty, Savannah College officials awarded the task to Global Security Industries, a security installation company. After evaluating several fire alarm systems, Global Security Industries turned to Fire-Lite Alarms to update the college’s fire protection system. “We assessed the facility and the situation, and then decided that the most effective system for a school of this size and age was Fire-Lite’s MS-9200,” said Tom Glendinning of Global Security Industries.

Fire-Lite’s MS-9200, a compact, addressable fire alarm control panel with the capacity to control 198 Fire-Lite 350 Series devices, was installed in nearly all of the 40 buildings on campus. In addition to the MS-9200 panels, Global Security Industries installed addressable smoke detectors in each of the dorm rooms.

To better accommodate handicapped students, monitored smoke detectors and control relays were installed to unlock doors automatically in the event of a fire. Students who were in wheelchairs had magnetic locks on their doors with remote release buttons carried with them and fixed release buttons in their rooms.

The Results

The day after the system was installed, the fire alarm went off. Because of the new MS-9200 fire alarm system, the building maintenance attendant immediately pinpointed exactly where the smoke was coming from. As it turned out, a student had just finished cooking some bacon, thought she had turned the burner off and proceeded to get into the shower.

The point identification on the addressable panel allowed the maintenance attendant to get to the room and find the red hot pan before it ignited, faster than the student had been able to get out of the shower and put on a robe. If this same situation had occurred just one day earlier with the prior system, only the local smoke detector would have sounded in student’s room — no one outside of her room would have been alerted, resulting in a possible catastrophe. “We have always been able to rely on Fire-Lite — not only for their exemplary product quality, but also for their technical support and superior customer service,” said Glendinning. “Once again, we are very pleased with the system that we installed.”

Thanks to the installation of the Fire-Lite MS-9200, Savannah College officials can now have peace of mind that all of their students and faculty are being protected.