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The Ponchartrain Hotel in Detroit, Michigan, named for the original title given to the area by French settlers, was erected in 1965. After going through many ownership changes, name changes, and eventually closing in 2009, the 25 story tall, 367 room luxury hotel was resurrected in 2012 by Crowne Plaza Hotels and Resorts.

The Crowne Plaza Ponchartrain Detroit was officially opened for business on July 17, 2013. Just as the once distinguished Ponchartrain Hotel had succumb to years of neglect, so had its fire system. The dated, conventional, non-addressable system proved to be a hindrance to the building as it looked towards success as the new Crowne Plaza Ponchartrain Detroit.

Audio voice evacuation

Fire Pros, the contractor for the project, needed an addressable system that would allow for easy implementation in such a large space. There was THHN wiring installed throughout the entire building. This made it a simple choice for the contractors to use an addressable panel that could communicate using the existing wiring rather than having to rewire the entire building with all new twisted, shielded cable.

Potter’s P400 Fire Panel was championed for this job due to its retrofitting capabilities

Potter’s P400 Fire Panel was championed for this job due to its retrofitting capabilities, allowing it to easily function using the pre-existing THHN wiring. The original system had a zone configuration with selective signaling (floor above/floor below) and was configured with audio voice evacuation capabilities. There were typically three zones per floor; one for water flow, one for common area or general alarm, and one for the guest room smoke detectors.

Distributing intelligent power

This zoned configuration made it extremely difficult to determine the exact location of an alarm or trouble on the system. This also made performing the NFPA 72 required smoke detector sensitivity test a substantial disruption to business, as well as time consuming and expensive.

The Potter P400’s ability to distribute intelligent power and system expanders throughout the facility on a simple 4-wire bus, made it very easy to configure the entire 1290 point system that included analog addressable smoke detectors and sounder bases. With the detectors and bases connected to the Potter P400, the required sensitivity testing can now be easily accomplished by utilizing software from the main control panel, saving the Crowne Plaza Ponchartrain time and money.

Fire alarm systems

Fire Pros technicians were able to easily install nine PSN-1000(E) power supply units

Fire Pros, led by Bob Proos, was overwhelmingly pleased with the P-Link flexibility offered by Potter’s fire alarm systems, “It is a benefit to have the Potter P400 able to support all NAC’s and SLC cards on P-Link as opposed to peer to peer like many other networks.”

Fire Pros technicians were able to easily install nine PSN-1000(E) power supply units, twelve remote SLC cards, two Remote Annunciators, and Voice Evacuation throughout the building due to the flexibility of the P-Link circuit on the Potter P400 panel. It was also very easy for them to incorporate firefighter telephones and elevator recall to ensure the safety of patrons as well as firefighters. The usability of Potter’s panel programming software was found to be especially helpful by Proos and his crew as they programmed their Potter fire alarm system with ease and efficiency.

Programming entire system

The software for the P400 Panel is excellent. Our technicians had no trouble programming the entire system.” At one point, after Fire Pros technicians had programmed the system completely, they were notified that due to a requirement allotted by the more stringent Crowne Plaza safety standards, a re-working of the entire system was required.

The download speed is excellent! It took 15 seconds instead of 15 minutes like other panels"

This re-work was not an issue as Fire Pros technicians were able to easily re-program the system without having to remove any hardware. Using Potter’s easy drag-and-drop software, they were able to interface with the system quickly, “The download speed is excellent! It took 15 seconds instead of 15 minutes like other panels,” Proos said. Throughout the entire installation process Proos was able to communicate with the panel in Detroit, via e-mail reporting, while he was at Fire Pros headquarters in Grand Rapids.

Minimizing travel time

This made it very convenient to assess any issues pertaining to the installation process while minimizing travel time. Management could easily send information to technicians in the field through the panel, and they were able to instantaneously fix any issue.

As the Crowne Plaza Detroit looks forward to serving the city as a premier hotel destination, it is important that they provide a safe environment for both guests and employees. The Potter P400 fire alarm system helps guarantee that every inch of the premises is monitored at all times, producing speedy and detailed notifications.

Exact alarm locations

The panel makes it simple to identify every problem with specificity concerning time and location

I like to be able to get information that tells me exactly where the trouble is located, so we can address it and notify the fire department as well as our entire staff. The Potter P400 Panel gives a detailed description when addressing trouble notifications which is helpful when giving incident reports to our security department,” said LaTina Johnson, Construction Manager for the property.

The panel makes it simple to identify every problem with specificity concerning time and location, which is extremely helpful in such a large building. With easily accessible information on hand at all times, the hotel staff can properly manage any potential dilemma. Problems such as guest disputes over smoking in non-smoking rooms, and pinpointing exact alarm locations in a building of such magnitude, can be easily solved with e-mail reporting.

Properly managing situation

Johnson says, “It is nice to have a technical reference for what has transpired. It really helps us properly manage every situation on site, which is important because our staff wants to stay ahead of any situation; being proactive as opposed to reactive.”

With the Crowne Plaza Ponchartrain Detroit carrying on its historical legacy as one of Detroit’s finest hotels, it is important that the standards for Crowne Plaza as well as ‘The Ponch’ are kept in mind. These standards are implemented to serve the customer in the best way possible, and that includes keeping them safe in case of an emergency. The installation of a Potter Alarm Fire System ensures that the safety standards will always be met.

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