Old theatre gets new fire detection

Listed on the National Registry of Historic Places, the Egyptian Theatre in DeKalb, Ill., received an upgrade and renovation of its fire system to help the show go on.

First opened in 1929, while the Egyptian’s existing fire/sprinkler system was grandfathered in from a code perspective, officials felt that this “jewel of the city” should not only receive an aesthetic and structural upgrade, it also required a more modern and effective life safety system to protect the historic structure and its patrons.

One major area of focus for the new fire alarm system was to eliminate false alarms. Because it hosts live performances that often use theater smoke, there is a high potential for theater smoke to seep through auditorium doorways and into the lobby, dressing rooms, and other areas. This could potentially cause nuisance alarms in traditional smoke detection technologies. This type of nuisance alarm would not only require a performance stoppage, it would also require a potentially dangerous evacuation of large numbers of patrons, performers and staff.

An important goal of the new system was to cover key areas of the facility with fire detection, including the areas previously susceptible to nuisance alarms. For these areas, the system designer specified System Sensor’s Advanced Multi-Criteria Fire Detector, IntelliQuad by NOTIFIER, after seeing the detector at the NFPA conference this summer. The detector is designed for challenging applications where accurate fire detection provides a serious challenge for traditional detectors—especially applications where nuisance alarms can threaten life safety or interrupt mission-critical and revenue-generating activities, such as live performances.