Emergency planning is critical in today’s schools. Changes in codes and in society’s expectations for school safety have increased planning requirements for fire protection and security systems in colleges, universities and K-12 schools; making today’s fire protection engineer’s job become more complex.
THE CLIENT: One of the largest K-12 school districts in the Southeast.
THE SITUATION: One of the largest K-12 School Districts in the Southeast recently spent over $2,000,000 (Yes, That’s TWO MILLION DOLLARS!) repairing and replacing fire alarm systems that were damaged or destroyed by transient surges. The Fire Systems Operations Manager asked DITEK to help in determining the cause of their system failures. Over the next few months, our technical team performed site surveys at several of the schools that experienced the most significant damage; and discovered that there was no surge protection installed on the fire alarm power supply or building-to-building data lines.
*NOTE: NFPA 72 2013 edition states that all non-power-limited and power-limited signaling systems circuits entering a building shall be provided with transient protection.
THE SOLUTION: The School District launched a pilot program with DITEK to install surge protection on their fire alarm systems; it targeted 20 schools which had a history of recurring losses. An annual review confirmed that these schools were no longer experiencing the trouble alerts and extensive maintenance repair costs they had previously experienced! The District has since authorized the installation of surge protection on the fire alarm systems in the remaining 400+ schools; this effort is ongoing.
THE RESULTS: By having surge protection installed on their systems, and their electricians and technicians trained on the proper installation and monthly preventative maintenance procedures, the District has continued to significantly reduce their annual costs for repairing and replacing equipment damaged by power surges.