A wireless detector combined with an addressable fire alarm control panel proved to be a perfect fit in the Davenport, an 89-year-old hotel in Spokane, WA.
In August of 1889, a fire destroyed downtown Spokane, WA. With the memory of this historic tragedy forever hanging over the city, it should come as no surprise that the prevention of future fires would be at the forefront of every one of the city's building or renovation projects.

The hotel's original founder, a 21-year old named Louis Davenport, was actually one of those hired to help clear away the remnants of the 1889 disaster. This entrepreneurial youth took the $125 he earned from this job and opened Davenport's Famous Waffle Foundry. This was the start of a chain of successful restaurants, which led to ownership of most of Spokane's east end and the eventual opening of the luxurious Davenport Hotel in 1914.

For decades considered among the best hotels west of the Mississippi River, the magnificent Davenport spanned a city block and offered its guests the highest level of service, including telephones in every room. Inspired by Italian Renaissance architecture, the Davenport was known for its antiques and fine art as well as the hundreds of tropical songbirds that filled its lobby and foyers.

A $30 Million Makeover

The Davenport ran into hard times shortly after Louis Davenport sold it in 1945. The hotel closed its doors in 1985 and stood neglected for over a dozen years. But recently, commercial real estate developer Walt Worthy purchased the Spokane landmark for $6.5 million dollars and, after giving it a $30 million makeover, reopened the modernized facility last year.

One of the key aspects of renovating the hotel was to make it appealing to the modern business and vacation traveler. The multimillion dollar renovation included a new pool, spa, room upgrades, and expansions. The renovation also featured a host of technological advances - everything from computerized "do not disturb" displays on every door to high-speed data ports in every room. As is the case with any commercial facility, fire safety was a key concern in the hotel's remodeling, and only the most technologically advanced fire safety system would do.

Due to the Davenport's history and detailed ornamental design, it was critical to find a fire alarm system that offered hotel guests and staff the safest protection while not detracting from the European architecture. This criterion led the Davenport's owner to Fire Protection Specialists (Firepro), LLC, a local distributor of commercial fire alarm systems.

No Drilling Or Wiring Allowed

"The hotel is filled with historic antiques, tremendous ballrooms, and a fountain in the lobby area. The owners did not want to install a system that required drilling, or wiring that would detract from the beauty of the hotel," said Bob Baker of Firepro.

Because of the importance of maintaining the hotel's original appearance, Firepro recommended Notifier's latest technology in wireless fire alarm systems. Honeywell's Notifier offered a system that was the ideal solution for this job - the RFX (radio frequency wireless interface system) wireless detector combined with an addressable fire alarm control panel. Notifier's wireless alarm technology is currently being used worldwide in historic buildings and other sites where it would be inadvisable or impossible to tear up ceilings and walls to install a traditional system.

"The wireless detectors are ideal for properties with materials such as marble or rock, museums, historical sites, and commercial buildings aiming to preserve their ceilings or wall designs," continued Baker. "They use smoke or heat detectors that transmit radio signals between the smoke detectors and its associated receiver."

Notifier's RFX uses a translation device called the RFX Gateway, which allows communication between a Notifier intelligent fire alarm control panel and up to four wireless remote interface receivers. Each gateway supports 80 wireless detectors and is designed to monitor the signals and status of detectors located within a 60-ft radius from any of the four receivers, ideal for a hotel setting. The RFX Gateway collects data from each receiver and transmits information to the control panel's Signaling Line Circuit (SLC). This allows each and every device to have its own unique address. These features make it much easier for hotel facility managers to pinpoint problems or emergencies.

A Wireless System ‘Worthy' Of Praise

Chris Powell, director of security for the Davenport Hotel said, "The annunciator panel located at the front desk is extremely easy to understand, making the self-identifying system usable by a variety of staff members."

Notifier's RFX fire alarm system has allowed the Davenport Hotel to interface its detectors into an RFX board, providing the facility manager with quick and up-to-date information. The RFX wireless interface assembly consists of an RFX board, a mounting enclosure, and an RFX-R receiver. The RFX board contains all the connections necessary for the RFX wireless interface system to operate. These features allow the system to operate in a building with a complex design like the Davenport.

The addressable fire alarm control panel is equipped with the capacity for 792 individually identifiable and controllable detection/control points. Its modular design and easy-to-define software allows the user the flexibility to easily configure the panel in the field.

"The RFX and panel had both the wireless technology and the flexibility that the owners of the new Davenport were looking for," continued Baker.

Walt Worthy has invested a great deal of time and money to restore the Davenport Hotel to its past luxury and elegant grandeur. But it just might be something Davenport guests can't see that is his most impressive and important improvement. By using the latest wireless fire safety technology, Worthy has demonstrated his commitment to the safety and security of every guest, and he and all his hotel guests can sleep all the better for it. ES