In today's competitive market, most newly constructed stadiums include all the latest bells and whistles to accommodate demanding audiences and provide comforts for corporate partners and other VIPs. The stadiums, in turn, have rigorous fire safety systems and programs designed to protect and respond in the case of an emergency. With the modern advancements included in these venues, the system is challenged to provide an elevated level of protection.
The new professional football stadium in Arlington, Texas, is the largest, most technologically advanced entertainment venue to date. It includes unparalleled challenges for providing protection due to its unique and massive structural features. Designed by HKS and built by Manhattan Construction, the $1.2 billion stadium features:
- Two steel mega-arches, each 1,225 feet long to form the world's longest single-span roof structure,
- The world's largest high-tech HDTV-equipped LED scoreboard that extends from 20-yard line to 20-yard line, and
- An expansive retractable roof creating a 104,960 square foot opening.
The world's largest end zone doors
According to Mark Cryer, DFW Fire Protection Inc. project manager, the company that designed, engineered, built and installed the fire sprinkler systems in the stadium, two of the biggest challenges were coordinating the trades (electrical, HVAC, plumbing and fire protection contractors) and designing the fire sprinkler systems for the dome-shaped facility because it required flexible couplings.
"There was much to consider, including the hazards, NFPA 13 code, city codes, what the owner wanted, FM Global's standards (which are above everyone's), along with the products used to create the systems," said Cryer.
"It's designed to meet codes. In the end, my goal is to control a fire."
A massive stadium requires extensive, yet easy to install and maintain, fire and life safety systems that will work without fail. To accommodate the latest innovations included in the stadium and the large crowds during an event required more than 70 fire sprinkler systems that included both wet and dry systems. DFW installed 68 wet systems, one dry system and 2 electronic preaction systems in common areas such as the corridors, suites, offices, locker rooms and concourses.
Ultimate public venue
According to Joe Severino, DFW Fire Protection's purchasing manager, when choosing a waterflow detector for the fire sprinkler system, the company went with its standard, arsenal of System Sensor waterflow detectors.
System Sensor WFD series waterflow detectors are housed in a rugged, NEMA 4-rated enclosure. Designed for both indoor and outdoor use, the WFD series operates across a wide temperature range, from 32 degrees Fahrenheit to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. To simplify installation, the WFD series uses two conduit openings-one open, one knockout type-to permit easy attachment to the local alarm system. WFD products feature an adjustable mechanical retard. The retard mechanism and terminal block, which encloses two SPDT switches, are both field-replaceable.
The WFD series waterflow detectors are utilized to detect the flow of water through pipes. Models are designed for commercial pipe sizes from two to eight inches in diameter and for one-inch NPT connections used in residential or branch line signaling. The series provides two options for the retard mechanisms: one with a built-in, adjustable time delay and one that delivers an immediate alarm.
Sprinkler systems monitoring ensures continuous operation
The main goal of a sprinkler system is to provide a steady supply of fire extinguishing material that's ready to burst into action should a fire break out. A properly installed and maintained automatic fire sprinkler system can help save lives by dramatically reducing the heat, flames and smoke produced in a fire, allowing people time to evacuate.