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Fire alarms for student housing

A fire alarm system at a university accommodation development in Liverpool has products by the power management company Eaton. EFT Systems, a fire and security company in the North West, was the installer at Ablett House, named after the late Liverpool and Everton footballer Gary Ablett. The centrally-located Ablett House scheme is The Student Housing Company’s latest development in Liverpool.

Completed in a year, the bespoke 12-storey, 396-bed building has three to seven-bed apartments. Mindful of the disruption and costs that arise from frequent false alarms in student rooms, The Student Housing Company specified a bespoke fire alarm with a range of cause-and-effect programming to allow fast and accurate detection of a suspected fire.

Alasdair Croft, EFT System’s Project Manager, said: “Students often fall foul of the fire alarm system due to creating nuisance or unwanted alarms. It is a challenging environment for fire systems but the Eaton system has performed flawlessly. What was unique about Ablett House was that it presented a very complicated cause and effect scenario. We had confidence in the product and received on-site training from Eaton to help us with the programming. Their configuration tool was very user friendly and easy to navigate.”

To meet the project’s detection and alarm requirements, EFT installed four of Eaton’s CF3000 intelligent and addressable control panels throughout the student accommodation.

Mike Slater, sales account manager at Eaton, said: “The CF3000 panels have sophisticated functionality and are simple to operate, which is why we recommended them to EFT. The installation needed to be completed fairly quickly so we provided design, programming and system support to assist delivery within the tight timescale.”

Unlike conventional panels, addressable control panels can pinpoint the particular detection device that has been activated, thereby speeding up the process of determining the source of the outbreak. This is viewed as particularly important in student housing, where false alarms are common, Eaton says.

To help minimise cost implications for the owner or manager of a building, the CF3000 panels use soft addressing to decrease installation time and reduce the potential for error associated with manual addressing. The CF3000 panels can operate as a standalone panel or as part of a networked system.

As an added feature, the panels come with programming options that enable the user to control whether messages from specific panels are transmitted around the network or remain local, to avoid unnecessary disruption to the other building occupants.

Ablett House was the first large Eaton system that EFT has fitted. EFT also installed around 600 optical smoke and multi-sensor detectors throughout the 12-storey building.

Croft said: “We didn’t encounter any challenges in the installation process. I did the handover to the client and demonstrated the cause and effect system and they were delighted.”



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