Vertical Market Focus--Public/Cultural: Mets Draft Major League Fire Protection

New fire protection system at the Mets' Citi Field a home run for public safety


When the New York Mets National League ballpark in Flushing, N.Y., was built in 2009, countless hours were spent on the planning, installation and testing of this 1.2 million-square-foot facility’s fire protection system. Citi Field, named after corporate sponsor Citigroup, comprises a unique contoured seating design for optimal views from all seats within the ballpark’s “bowl,” with a 360-degree walking path around the entire park.

For the system’s head-end, Citi Field management chose the ONYX Series NFS2-3030 fire alarm control panel with integrated DVC (Digital Voice Command) manufactured by NOTIFIER. Local fire and life safety systems specialists, Cross-Fire & Security Co. Inc., Brooklyn, N.Y., worked alongside the job’s electrical contractor, managing all aspects of system design, installation and programming.

“We originally installed a 26-node voice evacuation system and just added another NFS2-3030 to the network to accommodate a new bar/restaurant in the admin building,” said Brendan Doorly, Cross-Fire’s vice president. “We visited the site twice a month to perform regular testing and maintenance and the system works flawlessly.”

More than 2,000 initiating devices were installed throughout Citi Field, most of which are duct and spot-type smoke detectors. Per Citi Field specs and the AHJ’s (Authority Having Jurisdiction) approval, relatively few manual fire pull boxes were installed to deter bogus alarms.

 

Superior polling/supervision capabilities

A fire alarm system with a large number of field devices must be capable of reacting to events just as rapidly as a small system. ONYX Series panels use FlashScan, a protocol unique to NOTIFIER, which is capable of polling 318 devices in two seconds and initiating a full system response in less than five seconds.

The ballpark is equipped with a centralized method for monitoring and control of the entire fire protection network. The ONYX Series NCS (Network Control Station) is a computer with graphic user interface, complete with detailed facility floor plans that allow users to check system status and search event history. During an event, the screen automatically zeroes-in on the activated device and displays related information labels such as nearby hazardous material storage and special occupancy areas.

According to Cross-Fire’s Senior Systems Engineering Manager John Beers: “Anytime we’re onsite, we use the NCS to perform walk tests or to temporarily disable devices for maintenance. It’s so intuitive, the park’s facilities and security people use it all the time to keep an eye out for potential issues.”

 

Synchronized strobe ‘batting’ order

When two or more strobes can be seen at the same time, they must be synchronized to flash in unison. Per NFPA 72 and ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) requirements, the flash rate of a typical listed visual notification appliance must be no less than one per second and no more than two per second.

“You can see one side of the ballpark to the other, so we had to put in strobe panels in order to achieve synchronization throughout the park. When the fire alarm system goes off, it looks like one giant flash bulb,” stated Beers.

Each strobe panel receives a sync pulse from the NFS2-3030 fire alarm control panel. This enables the system to coordinate each and every flash from one side of the massive facility to the other.

 

The system protecting Citi Field is divided into four quadrants with a DGP (data gathering panel) node positioned in each. The four panels report to the main NFS2-3030 fire alarm control panel, which in-turn issues commands as needed. Interconnection of panels, annunciators, DGPs and other command/control devices is accomplished via NOTI-FIRE-NET, a token-style network manufactured by NOTIFIER.

Due to the system’s distributed intelligence, if connection is lost with the head-end panel, each DGP will continue to operate independently until connection is restored. Once the interruption is corrected, system operation returns to normal with data, such as event information and programming changes, continuing to be exchanged between each DGP and fire alarm control panel node.

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