A Healthy Dose of Fire Protection for St. Joseph’s Hospital

This New York-based health center consolidated its multiple fire detection systems with a single network solution.

Life safety is extremely important in hospital environments due to the vast majority of occupants who may not be able to fend for themselves during an evacuation. This is especially true of large multiple-building campuses where the lives of hundreds of patients could be in jeopardy if a fire were to go unnoticed for even a small period of time.

St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center in Syracuse, N.Y., is a prime example of a healthcare institution facing this challenge. Previously, it had fire alarm protection throughout its many buildings that encompassed an assortment of systems.

“Our fire alarm systems were made up of FCI, Mirtone, and Simplex equipment,” says Matthew Auwae, St. Joseph’s manager of building services. “The systems were of various ages. Some components had become antiquated and no longer available on the market when service or modification was needed.”

Considering the complex was protected by eight different fire alarm systems, hospital officials were eager to consolidate all using a single integrated fire alarm platform.

“The numerous systems made maintenance difficult and costly,” says John R. Urciuoli, president and CEO of Syracuse Time & Alarm Co. Inc. (ST&A), which has been the sole company responsible for the hospital’s fire alarm systems maintenance since 1981. “It was a real challenge to make the systems operate satisfactorily with the facility’s growth over the last 20 years. Each system operated differently.”

According to Urciuoli, every time there was an expansion project at the hospital, confusion on how to manage systems increased. Integration required ingenuity and on-the-spot engineering to comply with code requirements. This approach presented more maintenance and operational difficulties.

Looking ahead, the hospital was contemplating several additional expansion projects. Given the current state of integrated systems, key personnel decided it was time to consolidate all systems into one.

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