Open-protocol solution protects patients, staff and visitors at busy acute general hospital
Static Systems Group (SSG) has successfully completed a ‘live’ upgrade of the fire alarm system at Solihull Hospital.
The contract to replace the hospital’s existing closed-protocol fire alarm network and panels with an open-protocol solution was awarded to electrical contractor, Harrold Jones Services (HJS) in January 2019.
Having previously worked with the company on a fire alarm upgrade at Alexandra Hospital in Redditch; HJS appointed SSG to supply, commission and maintain the hospital’s new system, adhering to the trust’s requirement that the existing detection devices were to be re-used where possible.
The hospital was also already acquainted with SSG as it was contracted to upgrade the site’s nurse call systems over the past four years.
Managed by the University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, Solihull Hospital is an acute general hospital in the West Midlands, providing general and specialist hospital and community care for the residents of East Birmingham, Solihull, Sutton Coldfield, Tamworth and South Staffordshire.
The hospital has 229 beds, around a quarter of which are single-occupancy rooms.
Matt Thompson, senior account manager for healthcare at SSG, said: “We were involved from the outset of the project, offering support to the trust and IBSEC, its chosen M&E consultant, in terms of formulating the planned scope of works. This involved producing an initial site report of the existing system and then outlining proposals for moving the project forward.
“Our engineers undertook a number of site visits as part of their investigation works, as only limited information was available on the existing system and its operation. This ensured a thorough understanding of the original system’s cause and effect and enabled us to replicate it with the new panels and, where appropriate, offer additional suggestions for improvement.”
The solution recommended by SSG was a networked fire alarm system comprising 19 sector panels, two repeat panels, and four graphics displays from the company’s Evo2 product range, as well as a BMS interface to the Drax System.
The Evo2 system is ideally suited to large multi-panel sites such as hospitals as it provides true peer-to-peer networking.
One of the areas to be connected to the network was a remote building which would ordinarily have required extensive groundwork in order to install cabling. To avoid this costly and disruptive exercise, SSG provided wireless connectivity between the fire alarm panel in the remote area and the nearest panel connected to the network.
Having installed a new network and the new panels, SSG put the system on soak test for a week before starting the process of transferring the existing Apollo detection circuits to the new fire panels.
Once all the detection was transferred across, engineers undertook the cause-and-effect testing to prove the new network and panels were up and running, and that the software was working correctly.
Most of the work was undertaken during normal working hours. However, the swap-out of the existing detectors in a couple of the departments had to be undertaken out of hours. Similarly, commissioning in the hospital’s theatres was also carried out out of hours to avoid any disruption to operations.
Commissioning ran very smoothly, as did the installation works, which took place over a 10-week period.
The new system is fully HTM 05:03 compliant and the fire alarm panels are EN54-2:1997 and EN54-4:1997 compliant.