Safe Harbor, Silent Knight help firefighters train

Silent Knight donates fire panel to firefighter training school, Safe Harbor does installation
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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

VERMILION, Ohio—Safe Harbor Security & Fire and Silent Knight by Honeywell Fire Systems Group have teamed up to help firefighters in training learn to familiarize themselves with a fire alarm panel, so they’ll know what to do in a real-life scenario.

Silent Knight has donated one of its fire alarm panels and various peripheral devices to the EHOVE Career Center, a public career tech center in Milan, Ohio that offers firefighter training among its other programs. Safe Harbor, which is based here and has provided residential and commercial fire and security services since 1982, will install and program the system for free. The installation was expected to take place by June.

The idea for the donation came from Safe Harbor, where owner John Gonos and lead technician Jason Deptula are both volunteer firefighters for their local fire department who trained at EHOVE. Deptula said he also is on the center’s academic advisory board.

“Technology scares a lot of people. You go into a building and if you’re not familiar with an alarm system, you might be afraid to touch it,” Deptula told Security Systems News.

He said that interacting with the donated panel can help firefighters prepare for real-life situations, by “providing as much information in as many different scenarios as possible to allow firefighters-in-training at whatever level to interact with that panel” and learn what to expect when they go into the field, what to look for, and what to do.

Kathie Rose, North Central regional sales manager, Silent Knight by Honeywell Fire Systems Group said Silent Knight was excited to help out the community.

She added, “Honeywell Fire Systems Group’s president [Allen Fritts] is a volunteer firefighter himself, so anything that has to do with firefighting, we definitely support.”

Gonos said he has worked for Safe Harbor since 1985 and just acquired the company earlier this year. Its business is about equally split between fire and security and between residential and commercial customers, he said. The three-employee company serves about 1,000 customers, he said.

He added: “I’ve used Silent Knight for as long as I can remember.”

Deptula praised Silent Knight for the donation. He said that sometimes firefighters get training on panels from someone in their departments, but often they walk into a building where an alarm is going off and need to call maintenance to help them deal with the panel. But maintenance staff may not be knowledgeable about the panel or available if an incident occurs after hours, he said. “Things don’t always happen between 8 and 5,” Deptula said.

Rose also noted that Silent Knight offers technical training classes that authorities having jurisdiction (AHJ’s) are welcome to attend.