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Case Study: Fire Alarm Installation with PMC Group



Erina Van Horn, the maintenance and reliability manager for PMC Group’s Memphis complex, was tired of hearing the sound of false alarms blaring from the company’s old fire alarm system. Having unexpected interruptions due to random signals, malfunctioning sounds and even unnecessary dispatches to local fire units were becoming too much of her daily routine.

The facility itself created a challenge in that it was divided into two areas (1) a laboratory and research center with several pilot plants and (2) a process area that requires explosion-proof wiring. Additionally, some portions of the building were more than 50 years old. Erina knew that the layout of the building and the nature of working with highly flammable chemicals would require special care and instruction. She knew that it needed to be as cost-effective as possible, but she understood that in this situation, the cheapest solution may not be the best. Her goal was to have a comprehensive alarm protection solution for the entire facility that would respond only when necessary. In other words, all the existing systems needed to be updated and on the same page during actual emergency situations.


After getting price quotes and evaluations from other fire protection companies, Erina called upon State Systems to come in and provide an assessment of what options were available to address the problem. The State Systems team came out and evaluated the facility to see what was needed. They examined the laboratory area as well as the processing area. The team was able to identify various issues with the current system and respond with a cost-effective alternative that would meld the two areas together for one all-inclusive fire alarm system complete with sprinklers. Within a month’s time, they were able to install explosion-proof isolation wiring boxes for the laboratory area while connecting it to the rest of the facility for proactive awareness of any actual potential fire-related situations, instead of dealing with the staggering number of false alarms experienced in the past. In addition, they were able to modify the existing sprinkler system to help alleviate any additional problems.


Two years later, Erina has a fully monitored, secure system that is updated according to all codes with “no headaches” or false alarms. “They took care of everything and left me feeling confident that the situation was handled in a responsive manner,” Erina said. “No issues have been reported to me, which is a great sign that their approach worked. I didn’t want to notice the alarm system until we needed it.”

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