Walking the NFPA expo

Thursday, June 11, 2009

CHICAGO—The 2009 NFPA Conference & Expo had the traditional Monday afternoon opening of its Expo here on June 8, and, as was expected, you didn’t have to travel far to see and hear about mass notification.

SimplexGrinnell was front and center on the show floor with its traditional multi-room, walled booth. Their theme this year was a poker game and the products it was showing included a new mass notification system for smaller applications called the 4003EC. Without much fanfare, it was also showing FlameVision, its new video smoke detection system. SimplexGrinnell has partnered with China-based Wizmart to bring two infrared VSD systems to market. “It’s the debut appearance,” said Jeffrey Brooks, senior product manager fire solutions for SimplexGrinnell. Brooks noted that the system, which he said works well at night and in dark conditions, is UL268 listed as a smoke detector. The FlameVision products will be available in North America within the next 60 days, he said.

Perhaps showing that it means what it says, Bosch, having recently announced its intention to revamp and expand its fire offerings, had a large booth in the front of the show floor. Charles Davis, product marketing manager, fire, said many fire installers he’s talked to at the show have said, “I had no idea Bosch was into fire.” The company is ramping up slowly. “We’re going to walk before we run,” he said. “But we’ll get there. In the next two to three years, you’ll be hearing more about us.”

Two major testing groups, UL and FM, looked like bookends on either side of the front of the show floor, while ETL, which has made a major push in the market in the last couple of years, was situated a couple rows back.

The Honeywell fire group had mass notification systems and appliances everywhere. Peter Embersold, director of marketing at Notifier, was showing the company’s new FirstVision CampusView, “a touch-screen display panel for large campuses that shows a block diagram or actual photograph of a campus” which will ease the task of firefighters responding to emergencies on campus. New at System Sensor was an expanded line of strobes and speakers including Sounder Base, a smoke detector and sounder that “meets the intent of NFPA to have [sounders and strobes] work in sync,” said David George, director of corporate communications.

Mike Madden, national sales manager for Gamewell-FCI, was touting a number of new products including Gamewell-FCI’s version of the IPDact, which enables building owners to get rid of a phone line.