Here's the way schools traditionally have implemented life/fire safety products. The school would apply to the state, which had contracted with a number of vendors who then, in turn, provide the school with the needed devices. But, there's now a trend to go about this process in an entirely different way. Nick Martello, product manager for Northford, Conn.-based, Fire Lite Alarm, part of the Honeywell Fire Group, explains it through the following case study.

The School District of Greenville County is the largest public school system in South Carolina and the 63rd largest school system in the nation. This county has been the recipient of one of the state's most ambitious building initiatives — a five-year construction and renovation project that will encompass 72 schools. To date, 17 schools have opened with the rest slated for completion in 2006 at a cost of about $862 million.

Instead of going through the state, the district outsourced all of the fire protection and security technology to a local construction management consortium, International Resources, which worked with Blue Ridge Security Systems, a systems integrator based in Anderson, S.C., which in turn recommended fire protection technology from Fire Lite.

Fire Lite's addressable alarm system, pinpoints the source of the fire within the school, the central station and fire station, with all of the audio/visual components. It combines the different types of detection,iiii as well as provides a signal when maintenance is needed.

An advantage for the school district, Martello says, is "instead of dealing with multiple vendors it has to relate to just one company that manages the entire process."