New fire system for Old West

Located northwest of downtown Tulsa, Okla., the Gilcrease Museum is one of the country's most comprehensive facilities for the preservation and study of American art and history. Drawing thousands of visitors from around the world for a glimpse into the past, the Gilcrease Museum houses the world's largest collection of art and artifacts of the American West.


Located northwest of downtown Tulsa, Okla., the Gilcrease Museum is one of the country's most comprehensive facilities for the preservation and study of American art and history. Drawing thousands of visitors from around the world for a glimpse into the past, the Gilcrease Museum houses the world's largest collection of art and artifacts of the American West.

Several years ago, museum officials were applying for museum re-accreditation. The museum's insurer, as well as the Smithsonian Institution, which certifies many of the museum's exhibits for authenticity, requires reaccreditation. As part of the process, officials determined that the museum's existing fire protection system was insufficient, lacking the reliability that the insurer required. In addition, the system did not comply with the 2003 International Building Code and NFPA 72. A new fire protection system would have to be installed.

Because the museum is a department of the City of Tulsa, the museum was required, like all other city and state agencies, to secure a number of bids for the job. The museum chose to go with the bid from Mac Systems, an Oklahoma supplier of fire detection, alarm, and suppression, as well as facility communications and security systems.

After careful deliberation, the museum and Mac Systems chose the NFS2-3030 panel with six signaling line circuits (SLCs) and a UniNet Interface as the heart of the system. The NFS2-3030 is part of the ONYX series, a patented intelligent sensing technology that delivers rapid, intelligent response to incipient fire signatures while reducing nuisance alarms.

An intelligent fire alarm control panel designed for medium- to large-scale facilities, the NFS2-3030 is ideal for most applications due to its modular design and can be configured to a project's unique requirements.

Offering as many as 10 SLCs, the NFS2-3030 supports up to three devices offering 180 intelligent addressable configurations each. In addition, the panel's large 640-character LCD screen presents information to operators concerning a fire situation, fire progression, and evacuation details. A maximum of 159 detectors (any mix of ion, photo, laser photo, thermal, or multi-sensor) and 159 modules (normally open manual stations, two-wire smoke, notification, or relay) per SLC can be integrated with the system.

The Gilcrease Museum needed the system's ability to handle such a large number of detectors and other appliances, given the following installations:

  • 10 remote power supplies

  • 28 addressable manual pull stations

  • 26 intelligent heat detectors

  • 235 photoelectric smoke detectors

  • 259 intelligent laser smoke detectors

  • 30 intelligent air-duct smoke detectors

  • Eight intelligent photoelectric beam detectors

  • Strobes and alarm horns

  • Waterflow switches and fire sprinkler valve supervisions switches.

Interfacing with the system is the UniNet 2000, an advanced network that allows users to monitor and control security, fire, card access, CCTV, and other facility information over a proprietary LonWorks network. UniNet 2000 allows a mixture of different technologies and manufacturers to operate on the same network.

A PC workstation provides the operator interface to the UniNet system, featuring plug-in applications and allowing continued expansion of workstation and network functions. The workstation features customized screens that allow a wide variety of configuration options for any situation. The UniNet 2000 workstation also has the ability to monitor multiple local-device networks and remote sites.

Roger Harmon, director of security at the Gilcrease Museum, was impressed with the speed of installation, as well as the system's performance.

“The installation was completed in just nine months,” said Harmon, who is responsible for the protection of Gilcrease's entire collection. “This was a relatively fast process considering the scope of the system and myriad city codes requiring compliance.

“The system is working even better than we expected, and has already paid for itself many times over,” Harmon said. “In fact, it has already detected one problem in an overheating transformer that could have been disastrous.”

Information provided by Notifier, Northford, Conn. Notifier is part of Honeywell's Life Safety Group, Morris Township, N.J.


The Gilcrease Museum needed a new fire protection system as part of its reaccreditation process and to meet insurer standards. The museum chose the NFS2-3030 panel with six signaling line circuits, part of the ONYX series from Notifier.

NFS2-3030 provides as many as 159 detectors and 169 modules per signaling line circuit.

UniNet 2000 interfaces with the system. This network allows users to monitor and control security, fire, card access, CCTV, and other facility information.

The Gilcrease Museum installation was completed in nine months.

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