The (Speculative) Fire Alarm History of Tunxis Community College

Discussion of all things related to fire alarms, including alarm systems, fire alarm collections, sirens, sprinklers, fire drills, evacuations, actual fires, building architecture, other kinds of safety drills like tornado and earthquake drills and such, etc.
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Simplex 2903-9101
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Tue Mar 13, 2018 2:08 pm

The college was chartered in 1969, and took over a former shopping mall. In fact, there's still a pair of automatic sliding doors left over from this era. The campus is built around a square courtyard, and was divided into four "buildings", only one of which was actually separate.

The original system was a Simplex one, judging by the many old chevrons that are still left over. There are also some fairly old 4251-20's - possibly replacements. The original signals were most likely 4050-80+4051's, a hypothesis that explains why the current 2903+9838 combos are mounted upside-down on undersized backboxes.

At some point during the school's history, the pull stations were lowered to be more accessible, and there are still leftover junction boxes above each of the stations.

The only place I've seen with visible smoke detectors is the daycare center, which has System Sensor 2400's. Instead, there are duct detectors which are configured for alarm, as demonstrated by an incident where a student put something in the microwave for 14 minutes, leading to this:

There are no test switches or indicators for these duct detectors, meaning they were installed before indicators were required.

The college most likely switched to Autocall in the early 1990's, which is when all the Space Age equipment was added. Before the 4100U, there was a large, red Autocall panel, although I'm not sure what type, but maybe I'll ask around. Then, in 2001, Tyco bought Simplex and dropped the Autocall product line, so the college ended up back with Simplex again. Awkward...

So here are the original buildings:
The 100 Building was the original front of the school, and has brick-clad interior walls. It is most likely the newest of the old buildings, and is home to the Cafeteria, bookstore, and administrative and faculty offices. The signals are Space Age AV-34's, and the pull stations are all Autocall 4050-001's. The cafeteria also has four V-33 strobes on the ceiling.

The 200 building has a design similar to the 300 building as seen in my videos. The left side of the building (as viewed from inside the courtyard), which contains the large lecture halls has 2903+9837's and 4251 chevrons. The ceiling is quite high here, so the fire alarm probably has a really cool echo. Perhaps I'll try to get some footage during the next pair of fire drills. The restroom here has a newer 4904-9105 remote strobe with a reflector. The right-hand half of the building contains the old library (now Founder's Hall - functioning as a business office and makeshift auditorium), and the student lounge. Here, it's the all-SAE/Autocall setup.

The 300 Building - Ahh, the memories... Home to the oh-so-famous computer lab, as well as a bunch of smaller classrooms. On the right-hand side is the daycare center. This is the most mixed building out of the three that are still standing, and the only one which I've been able to count all of the signals and pull stations*.
Signals: 2903+9838 x7, AV-34 x5, and V-33 x2
Pull stations: 4251-20 x4, 4251 chevron x2, 4050-001 x3.
Again, the pattern is Simplex on the left, and SAE/Autocall on the right. Congratulations, I have officially reached peak obsessed idiot.

*Exculding restrooms, for obvious reasons, though the men's room outside the computer lab has a SpectrAlert S2415.

Fisher Hall was the 400 Building, a now-defunct standalone building which was the only one with two floors until the new buildings were built. It contained classrooms and offices and had a mixture of 2903's and AV-34's. The 2903 in the main lobby was one of only three surface-mounted alarms I've seen in the original buildings. Fisher Hall was demolished in 2006 to make way for the 700 Building, AKA the new library.
The upgrade to a Simplex 4100U probably happened as part of the huge expansion of the campus from 2007-2007. Around this time, some replacements occurred as well. One of the AV-34's in the cafeteria was replaced with a 4903-9252. Another one in Founder's Hall was replaced with a SpectrAlert Advance P2R. SCW ceiling strobes were also added to restrooms in the 100 and 300 buildings that didn't already have strobes.

Here are the new buildings:
The 600 Building added two stories of brand-new classrooms, including up-do-date science labs and art studios, as well as a large atrium named "the Cyber Café", despite its lack of both computers and coffee. The building's design was inspired by cruise ships, another type of gratuitous spending. Here, there is a Simplex 4100U node with a printer and microphone, and at least one 4606 annunciator. The detectors are newer-style TrueAlarms, and the pull stations are 4099-9003's. The signals are TrueAlert speaker/strobes, which can be found in the classrooms as well. The single-person restrooms have remote strobes, but the larger ones have speaker/strobes. The original voice control was a Simplex 4003. When they were testing the fire alarms before the building first opened, my dad listened in and reported a code 3 tone and voice message. This has since changed.

Though the old and new buildings are connected (they go into alarm, trouble, and supervisory at the same time), only the signals in the building where the alarm was activated will sound - at least in the case of a smoke detector or suppression panel activation. It may be different for a pull station.

The 700 Building has its own, separate 4100U. The setup is almost identical, but the library also has ceiling-mount 4904 or 4906 remote strobes with the old 4903/4904 font (as opposed to the boldface font used on the wall-mount TrueAlert). The message here is the classic 4100/4003 whoop, followed by "Attention, attention! An emergency situation has been detected in the building. You are instructed to leave the building. Proceed to the nearest exit and leave the building. Do not reenter the building until directed to do so by the proper authorities."

In 2013, the 600 building was expanded to add more conventional classrooms. This area is serviced by a Simplex 4100ES node. The pull stations here are 4099-9001's behind Stopper II covers, and the signals on the first two floors are upside-down TrueAlert speaker/strobes with blank covers and stick-on letters. The third floor has normal speaker/strobes, as do the restrooms and stairways on the first two floors. Most likely, this is when the 4003 was put out of commission (or turned into a slave amplifier), and they switched from a voice message to a repeating slow whoop.
So that's the history of my college's quite unique fire alarm system. I hope you all found it interesting, and feel free to ask questions if you'd like.
Did you hear about the film director who collected fire alarms?
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Simplex 4051
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Tue Mar 13, 2018 5:36 pm

A lot more interesting than my college, which had all buildings built and opened in 1964 and had Simplex 4050-80+4051s with no "FIRE" lettering and are flush mount and most likely in march time, before in 2011 they were replaced with SpectrAlert speaker/strobes (though they originally were replacing them with Wheelock Exceeders before they put in the SpectrAlert Advances.)

You want chess-obsessed idiot, take a look at my topic about the how the fire alarms at my elementary school were set up including how each classroom was set up.
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Simplex 2903-9101
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Mon Apr 09, 2018 5:01 pm

Well, I've been looking at the ceilings, and it turns out there are actually a decent number of System Sensor RA400Z remote indicators for the duct detectors in the old building.
Did you hear about the film director who collected fire alarms?
No Integrity and dozens of unwanted Advances.
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