Chiawana High Gets State-of-the-Art Fire Protection

Moon Security Services equips a Washington high school with addressable fire alarm detection. During the extensive installation, the integrator overcame voltage challenges due to extreme distances, plus issues with synchronizing strobes and other devices. Included, an education market specialist tells how to cultivate that business.


To resolve overcrowding at its only high school, Pasco School District in Pasco, Wash., completed construction of a $72 million high school in time to welcome students for the current school year. Situated on 80 acres in southern Washington, Chiawana High and its student body and staff are now protected by an advanced fire/life-safety solution that has been provided by Moon Security Services Inc., which is also based in Pasco.

The newly minted, 325,000-square-foot Chiawana High School features state-of-the-art classroom and extracurricular facilities that serve 1,600 students in grades 9-11. The school will eventually accommodate 2,000 students with the first senior class graduating in 2011.

With an emphasis on keeping operational and maintenance costs down and meeting requirements for a scalable solution, the systems integrator selected an advanced intelligent analog addressable fire alarm solution for the school. While working with the latest fire alarm technology offered newfound efficiencies, the integrator nevertheless had to contend with multiple challenges. Because the expansive size of the campus, the integrator had to overcame extreme distance issues in order to supply proper voltage to strobes and other devices, as well as synching all of the peripherals.

Chiawana High Is the 1st to Try New Alarm
Moon Security, a large full-service regional provider of security and fire/life-safety solutions, initially won the bid for the high school project in June 2007. While the specification was originally written for the district by a Seattle-based architect firm, Moon Security Project Manager Robert Fleshman would ultimately redesign the solution and take advantage of the latest fire alarm technology from Silent Knight by Honeywell.

Moon Security, which is a Silent Knight Farenhyt Engineered Systems Distributor (ESD), selected the IFP-2000 fire alarm system. Notably, Silent Knight received UL approval for the IFP-2000 just prior to Moon Security launching the project, giving Chiawana High the distinction of receiving the first deployment of the sophisticated solution.

The IFP-2000 fire alarm control panel (FACP) includes a built-in synchronizing line circuit (SLC) that can support 159 Intelligent Device Protocol (IDP) sensors and 159 IDP modules. Additional SLC loops can be added using expanders, increasing capacity to a maximum of 636 points per panel.

For Chiawana High, Moon Security expanded the number of SLC devices by deploying the IFP-2000 and a RPS-2000 panel side-by-side in a central location, plus an additional seven RPS-1000 intelligent power modules spread throughout the campus. 

The school’s IFP-2000 solution supports two remote annunciators for viewing event information and nearly 1,000 SLC devices, including pull stations, heat sensors, smoke detectors and beam smoke detectors for large areas with high ceilings. As is standard practice at many schools, the pull stations include a cover that sounds a local alarm to prevent tampering by students.

With a total installation cost of about $150,000, Moon Security utilized subcontractors to perform sprinkler, elevator recall and electrical duties. The entire system is monitored offsite by Moon Security’s UL-Listed central station, and the company is also responsible for all system maintenance and testing.

Contracting these services with Moon Security has offered the end user multiple value-add benefits.

“For more cost-effective operations and maintenance, we’ve moved toward remote monitoring and maintenance of our fire and security systems,” says Tom Brandon, project manager for the school district. “When something can be corrected offsite, it is much less expensive and safer than waiting 24 hours for maintenance personnel to come to the school.”

Layout, Distances Proved Challenging
Visualize a capital ‘E’ laying flat on its back and you’ll have a good idea of the architectural shape of the two-story Chiawana High School. Add to that a large gymnasium with multiple basketball courts and other indoor sports facilities, a performing arts theater, a student commons area, a library and assorted administration offices.

Indeed, it’s a long, long way across the total expanse of the campus: Chiawana High registers as the largest school in Washington. And as any fire/life-safety professional can appreciate, the distances between some locations on campus and the main FACP are extreme. Voltage drop and correct power supply become immediate concerns.

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