Old West Museum Gets New Fire Protection

There are no tumbleweeds blowing through its halls, no gunfights taking place in the restrooms. Still, if you're hankering for a taste of the old American West, you'd be hard-pressed to find a more authentic experience than the Gilcrease Museum .

Located just northwest of downtown Tulsa , Okla. , the museum is one of the country's best facilities for the preservation and study of American art and history. It is the product of a lifetime of artifact collecting by Thomas Gilcrease , whose fortune was made in the dusty oilfields of Oklahoma nearly 100 years ago.

Drawing thousands of visitors from around the world for a glimpse into the past, the Gilcrease Museum houses a comprehensive collection of art and artifacts of the American West. The museum also offers an unparalleled collection of Native American art and artifacts, as well as historical manuscripts, documents and maps. Gilcrease tours, workshops, musical events and lectures provide numerous opportunities to expand insight into the museum and the history it presents. And themed gardens have been developed on 23 of the museum's 460 acres to enhance the overall experience.

Several years ago, museum officials were applying for reaccreditation required by the museum's insurer, as well as the Smithsonian Institute, which certifies many of the museum's exhibits for authenticity. As part of the process, it was determined that the museum's existing fire protection system was insufficient and did not comply with the 2003 International Building Code and NFPA 72, both of which are now standard for museums.

Because the museum is a department of the City of Tulsa , the museum was required to secure a number of bids for the job. The successful bid was submitted by Mac Systems, a supplier of fire detection, alarm and suppression, as well as facility communications and security systems. The supplier chose to install the Onyx series of fire controls and devices from Notifier , part of Honeywell International's Automation and Control Solutions Group (ACS).

After careful deliberation, it was decided that Notifier's NFS2-3030 panel with six Signaling Line Circuits ( SLCs ) and UniNet Interface would comprise the heart of the system. The panel is part of the ONYX Series of intelligent fire alarm control panels designed for medium- to large-scale facilities. The panel's modular design and can be configured to a specific project's unique requirements.

Offering up to 10 SLCs , the panel supports up to 3,180 intelligent addressable devices. In addition, the panel's large 640-character LCD screen presents vital information to operators concerning a fire situation, fire progression, and evacuation details. A maximum of 159 detectors (any mix of ion, photo, laser photo, thermal, or multi-sensor) and 159 modules (N.O. manual stations, two-wire smoke, notification, or relay) per SLC can be integrated with the system.

The Gilcrease installation included 10 remote power supplies, 28 addressable manual pull stations, 26 intelligent heat detectors, 235 photoelectric smoke detectors, 259 intelligent laser smoke detectors, 30 intelligent air duct smoke detectors, eight intelligent photoelectric beam detectors, strobes and alarm horns, and waterflow switches and fire sprinkler valve supervision switches.

Interfacing with the system is the UniNet 2000, an advanced network that allows users to monitor and control security, fire, card access, CCTV, and other facility information over a proprietary LonWorks network. A PC workstation is the operator interface to the UniNet system, featuring plug-in applications and allowing continued expansion of workstation and network functions. The workstation features customizable screens and has the ability to monitor multiple local device networks and remote sites.

“The installation was completed in just nine months,” says Roger Harmon, the director of security at the Gilcrease Museum . “The system is working even better than we expected, and has already paid for itself many times over. It has already detected one problem in an overheating transformer that could have been disastrous.”