Technology is having an immense impact on construction and life safety. This broad reaching statement is one that we can all agree is true in 2019. With modular construction on the rise and 3D modeling and BIM workflows changing the way we estimate and bid projects, it is easy to see how this technology is impacting construction. But is that same technology taking hold of the fire and life safety systems being chosen for your facility? Historically, building owners installed passive, binary life safety systems just to meet codes and open a facility; installed with the hope that they’d never have to be deployed. Today, that sentiment has changed and buying decisions are changing with it.
The core principle of fire and life safety system is to detect, evacuate and save lives and property. That has been true for generations. But today, we want our systems to alert us about more than just fire events. We want the system to speak to our buildings, computers, cell phones, stadiums and streets. We want a command center in Chicago to be able to speak to buildings all over the country, and we want that centralized monitoring at our fingertips. We want independent messages to be sent to different areas of a facility, to avoid unnecessary evacuations and panic. And fortunately, through the use of advanced hardware and software, all of this is possible.
Systems are available today that can truly connect your campus or facility. These systems use software and hardware to bring industry leading technology to your facility, and allow you to monitor your buildings from anywhere in the world. Just like you can see what is going on in your home through a home security panel, systems like the Onyxworks Workstation and the System Manager app give you real time access to your life safety system and fire control panels from anywhere, providing true peace of mind that your campus is safe and secure, even when you’re not on site.
Today’s life safety systems are more than just software. Advanced detection technologies allow for safety and security in every location of your facility and alarms to be generated with just traces of smoke. Emergency communications technology alerts everyone in a facility or on a campus of an emergency event. Whether through an alert on their mobile devices, a voice evacuation message from a speaker, there is a sense of security with this multi-faceted communication approach. Facilities requiring detection where wiring is either impossible or impractical can be secured with wireless detectors and audible / visible devices.
Facilities today need flexible and advanced detection technologies to keep inhabitants safe and secure, while ensuring no lost time (business disruption) due to false alarms or worse yet, an actual fire event. In 2019, there is an anticipated $806.8B being spent on construction starts in the US alone. Some of this spend is on new construction, while a large portion is being allocated to facility expansion. You must be sure that the life safety systems you choose are scalable to grow with your campuses. Partnering with a fire and life safety company that will continue to innovate and bring new products to your facility, while also allowing for seamless integration with your existing panels and software will provide a solid foundation for a life safety system that will last for many years.
When we think of technology we often think of topics like drones, virtual and augmented reality, and 3D printing, but we rarely think of our fire and life safety systems. The technology is changing rapidly – don’t be left behind! Start changing that mindset, and investigating whether the system installed in your facility is truly keeping you protected AND connected.
This article was bylined courtesy of Dick Bauer, Vice President of Sales for NOTIFIER® North America. Dick has spent the past 14 years building up awareness for Honeywell Fire and Life Safety Solutions, and has been a key advisor to Stakeholders, AHJs, Building Officials and Communities of large infrastructures on latest trends and options for maximum population safety. In addition, Dick served as Fire Fighter and First Responder for over 30 years, and spends his “free” time as acting Fire Chief for the Killingworth Volunteer Fire Department.