Freedom Communications eases into fire

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Sunday, April 1, 2007

LOUISVILLE, Ky.--As its name suggests, Freedom Communications did not start out as a fire company, much less a company that would take on a major installation at the 109,000-acre campus of Fort Knox.
The business was founded in 1999 and has grown from doing telephone and communications work into fire and security as well. Its first fire work was for a nursing home that needed a new fire system, but "couldn't get the big boys to do the work because of the remote location," said Lex Simmons, president of Freedom Communications. Over time, it's "picked up additional staff who are qualified and knowledgeable" about fire systems. Fire now makes up about 50 percent of its work.
Freedom Communications began working with Ft. Knox because it's located "here in our backyard. We started off doing a small building [in 2003], and then we went after the next project," Simmons explained.
That led to the installation of a fire alarm and mass notification system at Fort Knox that eventually involved 14 barracks and other buildings around the base, including two elementary schools, a correctional facility and an officers' club.
The impetus behind the project was an outdated fire system and codes that require a mass notification system tied into the fire-alarm system. Simmons chose 14 Fire-Lite MS-9600 control addressable panels for the barracks.
Fort Knox has its own firehouse. The barracks and other buildings have autonomous systems that will tie into the firehouse via radio backbone. Freedom Communications used Fire-Lite panels for the other buildings as well. In the officers' club it used control and relay modules that work with the MS-9600 system so that the system could shut down the audio on the dance floor, turn on all the lights and initiate a mass notification message if necessary.
"This is the largest project to date and we are in the design phase for a couple more large projects currently as well as some smaller ones," Simmons said.