Retrofit kit upgrades legacy fire alarm systems to advanced emergency communications
Gamewell-FCI fire alarm retrofit kit easily upgrades aged FCI 7200 systems to the latest fire alarm and emergency communications technology.
Gamewell-FCI by Honeywell (NYSE: HON) has developed a kit for upgrading FCI 7200 series fire alarm control panels to the latest, code-compliant technology of an E3 Series fire alarm and emergency communications system.
According to the company, the ease of installation provided by the 7200 Retrofit Kit, combined with the expandable capacity and backward compatibility inherent in E3 Series systems, can enable facilities to upgrade legacy systems to provide more sophisticated and reliable fire protection. The company says the retrofit kit greatly minimizes costs by allowing the electrical components of a new E3 Series system to be installed within the existing 7200 panel's backbox, in addition to utilizing the existing detectors, strobes, speakers and other system sensor devices.
"When changing out just the panel, we typically need two techs and an electrician onsite to mark wires, disconnect the panel, pull-off the cabinet, and then start the process of installing the new one," asserts Duane Hannasch of Fire Alarm Control Systems, Inc. in San Antonio, Tex., a Gamewell-FCI ESD [Engineered Systems Distributor]. "Depending on the size of the job, this new kit could easily save the customer $500 to $1,500 or more, just in labor to switch out one panel."
The 7200 Series was introduced to the U.S. market in the early 1980s and ceased production in 2005. Gamewell-FCI approximates more than 15,000 units were installed over its last eight years of production. "It's a lot easier to expand the system and add more devices and capabilities when you're working with a scalable system like the E3 Series," adds Hannasch. "And if you're re-using the wire and devices already there, it's easy to change out devices and add new features as budgets allow."
While many facilities are searching for a means to keep fire alarms compliant with codes and ADA [American's with Disabilities Act] requirements, others seek newer capabilities, such as gas detection and mass notification. "Buildings with 7200s already in them have innumerable options when it comes to utilizing the latest technology to reduce false alarms, add voice evac and emergency communications capabilities, and improve the looks or aesthetics of the system," explains Gamewell-FCI Product Marketing Manager, Brian Carlson.
Numerous facility types across the U.S. are candidates for FCI 7200 upgrades utilizing the new retrofit kit. Gamewell-FCI ESD Advanced Safety Systems outside of Boston, Mass., has identified several potential sites that they are looking to upgrade. "We have a number of hospitals and schools that can be easily upgraded, but the customer that needs it the most here is a temple that's looking to expand," says Mike Beatrice of Advanced Safety Systems. "They're maxed-out on capacity, which is common on these systems. And the voice evac is currently a separate system. Once upgraded, everything will be integrated into one system that can be added onto in stages."
Recent tragedies, such as the Colorado theatre shooting, have apparently placed more pressure on facility owners to consider adding or improving systems for sending emergency communications to people in and around a facility, according to Gamewell-FCI's Carlson. "We're no longer seeing just larger facilities looking to communicate with occupants during an emergency. Smaller buildings of assembly need the same features, but in a tighter package," Carlson states. "This retrofit kit allows those older 7200 systems to jump light years ahead in technology to serve as both a fire alarm and emergency communications system within the same cabinet."
Gamewell-FCI says its E3 Series fire alarm and emergency communications systems provide advanced fire protection and autonomous control of in-building and outdoor emergency communications. This combined approach offers an economical and completely supervised system, designed to be highly survivable and to meet stringent requirements surrounding performance, testing, maintenance and power back-up. The capability to create and send distributed recipient notifications via email, SMS text alerts, computer pop-ups and even cable television systems can also be accomplished through Gamewell-FCI technology offerings.