Aarow’s Installation Challenges Working On NIH’s 24/7 Hospital Fire Alarm Replacement

Starting July 25, 2017, Aarow Electrical Solutions was awarded a contract with JV EGI/HSU to replace the active fire alarm infrastructure within NIH main hospital. There are three 14-story risers plus penthouses in the building 10 hospital East, West, center, and five 8-story risers plus penthouses in the Mark O. Hatfield Clinical Research Center (CRC), both under one roof, all of which received the new infrastructure.

All work had to be performed while the hospital was open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This created a great challenge because the existing system had to remain fully operational until the new system was fully installed and accepted. To accommodate a system of this magnitude, the installation of five network command centers spanned through 3 separate buildings on campus.

All new conduit for network connectivity and fire alarm cables were installed as well as 75 new panels, numerous amplifiers, and cards. Additionally, a global paging interface panel and microphone allowing selective paging to the user for all or specific locations throughout the 14-story, 2.5 million-square-foot building and/or throughout the 870,000-square-foot Clinical Research Center. NIH houses one of, if not the largest, healthcare fire alarm systems in the world.

Replacing the active fire alarm life safety took months of grueling planning, meetings and site walk throughs, while working with and around some 1,200 physicians, 620 nurses and 450 health care professionals. As of January 2019, all the construction and network infrastructure was completed. The East riser has been migrated to the new system, and the West riser migration is under way. The anticipated completion date is November of 2019.

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