New fire detection and mass notification system solutions at NFPA Conference 2010

SD&I's Natalia Kosk reports on new technologies introduced on the show floor


June 8, 2010, Las Vegas, Nev. -- If the first day of NFPA 2010, Las Vegas, is any indication for the rest of the show, attendees have much to look forward to walking the floor, gathering information from exhibiting vendors on new product technology in fire & life safety as well as the multitude of information presented throughout the show's educational sessions.

Cooper Notification was one of the first exhibitors to start off the show with a 4 p.m. booth press conference, announcing their new in-building mass notification system (MNS). The new solution is called the Safepath MNS and it is compliant with NFPA 72 2010 and UL 2572 for mass notification systems. The panel, available for production in the next couple of months, interfaces with a building fire alarm system and manages all audio and visual notification appliances for both fire and MNS. The panel eliminates the need to replace current fire panels because this new Cooper Notification panel features a MNS microphone for live emergency communication messages that will override fire alarm messages as required by NFPA.

The product is well-timed. With The Jeanne Clery Act going into effect July of this year, requiring all campuses to have mass notification in place, there is no time like the present for school officials and other show attendees to educate themselves on the mass notification systems being demonstrated on the floor.

As far as mass notification goes, "it comes down to educating the industry to understand the codes that are in place," explained Ted Milburn. "Everybody is trying to implement mass notification but not everybody understands the codes and that's what it comes down to -- supplying that education."

Detection takes a step forward

On the topic of gas detection, Xtralis, based out of Norwell, Mass., is taking a step forward in technology beyond traditional carbon monoxide and gas detectors.

"Traditional detector systems just aren't cutting it," explained Steve Joseph of Xtralis. "A trend in IT and telecommunications facilities is challenging the smoke detectors because of increased airflow; it is harder to detect gases. If you follow what is going on with [facility design of] data centers, the raised floors in data centers are going to be a thing of the past. The big trend right now is hot aisle containment."

"Another trend is with airside economizers and bringing in exterior air into a space, such as a data center, "continued Joseph. "At the same time, that also creates a risk for data centers because you're bringing in polluted, corrosive air into an environment that has sensitive equipment, but a lot of that can be solved by filtration."

Among the new products demonstrated at the Xtralis booth included the IAS Duct Detection offering (a solution which is scheduled for a July release date). This new solution offers environmental monitoring for smoke and gases as well as humidity and temperature.

The Vesda ECO combines ASD with gas detection and environmental monitoring. While the Vesda ASD module delivers early warning smoke detection, the Vesda ECO module can detect flammable hydrogen gas.

What's the buzz around Potter?

Although news of the partnership between Potter Electric Signal Co. (St. Louis, Mo.), and Nohmi Bosai, (Tokyo, Japan), remained on the quieter side Monday on the showroom floor, both Communications Manager Eric Lauver and Potter's Fire Products Manager Tim Frankenberg, CT, CFPS, confirmed that the news is a big deal and will allow Potter to be more agile to respond to customer needs.

"We're trying to consolidate to drive our own destiny," explained Frankenberg. "It's about providing that continued customer service and support. This partnership provides our customers with a complete line of fire systems."

Celebrating the news on the partnership with a cocktail reception mid-afternoon Tuesday, the partnership provides a complete line of fire products from one source. The new panels, which are listed and owned by both companies, have a planned launch date closer to the end of the year.

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