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Airport Renovation Takes Flight With Help of Addressable Notification Appliances

Dec. 14, 2015
Simplex TrueAlert ES appliances are electronically supervised all hours of the day and have the ability to test themselves when the facility is least occupied.

Recently, Tampa International Airport (TPA) embarked on a three-year, billion-dollar renovation intended to make it a world-class international airport and a shopping and dining destination. Each of these goals brings a unique set of challenges regarding fire and life safety.

One of the key projects in the TPA renovation is a new 2.6-million-sq-ft consolidated rental-car facility (ConRAC). The life-safety and fire-protection needs of the ConRAC are considerably different than those of TPA’s new automated-people-mover system. Similarly, the needs of TPA’s new concessions spaces, which are high-traffic areas with a lot of ambient noise, are different.

The Team

Consulting-engineering firm VoltAir selected Tyco SimplexGrinnell for TPA’s fire-protection and life-safety solutions. As the incumbent life-safety- and fire-alarm-system manufacturer for TPA, SimplexGrinnell has extensive institutional knowledge of the infrastructure. VoltAir brought in SimplexGrinnell’s operations team and technicians to determine which solutions best aligned with the needs of TPA, the scope of the project, and VoltAir’s overall vision of installation efficiency. From the operations perspective, VoltAir worked closely with Lloyd Aronoff, SimplexGrinnell’s business-development manager of architects and engineers, and Christine Gatlin, SimplexGrinnell’s strategic account executive.


The team selected Simplex TrueAlert ES addressable notification appliances. These smart eServices-enabled solutions are electronically supervised all hours of every day and have the ability to test themselves—automatically or on demand—when the facility is least occupied. Traditionally, the operational readiness of a notification appliance is achieved through time-consuming manual tests, but with TrueAlert ES, each appliance has the intelligence to report its operational status to a Simplex 4100ES fire-alarm control panel.

The Simplex solution provides limited disruption of facility operations with built-in light and sound sensors that can determine whether everything is working properly with a single automatic test. TPA will be able to avoid typical blaring notifications and continuous strobe illumination while conducting code-required testing, which will lead to a better customer experience. Using addressable notification appliances, TPA can test all devices instantaneously (within seconds) and get a printed report with details of each device’s functionality.

With the renovation project expected to take years to complete and plans subject to change, it was imperative to select a solution with design and expansion flexibility. Conventional notification technology tends to be restrictive, with rather inflexible wiring, which makes designing expandable systems difficult. With fewer design rules, TrueAlert ES addressable notification appliances provide the industry’s most flexible wiring architecture, giving designers more freedom throughout the design and installation process.


Airports present significant challenges, given they always are open. By implementing TrueAlert ES addressable notification appliances, TPA will have peace of mind knowing its fire and life-safety solutions are working around the clock throughout the year.

A year into the project, cost savings already are being realized. Specifically, the addressable notification device uses an installation method called “t-tapping,” which requires less labor and materials than conventional notification appliances. As TPA and VoltAir progress with implementation, the solution will continue to deliver cost savings.

While some areas require different types of solutions, with SimplexGrinnell and the TrueAlert ES addressable notification-appliance solution, all disparate systems will be monitored and controlled by one panel.

“This project presented us with a number of design challenges, which is typical with a project of this scope and size,” Julius Davis, president and chief executive officer of VoltAir, said. “SimplexGrinnell was a logical choice for the project because they were already established within TPA, but we’ve found them to be the most reliable asset for any challenges that come across as we work through this project. We can trust that the TrueAlert ES system is working around the clock, and we are assured that SimplexGrinnell is always there for us to address our evolving needs.”

For Design Solutions author guidelines, call Scott Arnold, executive editor, at 216-931-9980, or write to him at [email protected].