Area of Rescue Assistance (ARA)
In the event of a fire alarm emergency, the elevators drop down to lower floors and become inoperable. ARA has become a necessary building system that provides assistance to mobility, visual and audibility challenged individuals and others who are unable to exit a building through the use of stairs. ARA systems provide two way audio communications between the areas of refuge (typically stairwells with required fire rating) and the master station where first responder emergency personnel provide service. ARA systems have been recommended for many years, but are now required due to recent changes to the International Building Code (IBC) and its enforcement by local townships and municipalities. ARA systems help protect everyone, particularly those who require additional assistance.
Related Case Study
Phoebe Ministries – Allentown Campus
SituationPhoebe Ministries is a non-profit, multi-facility organization specializing in healthcare, housing and support services for seniors. With four campuses and eight senior living apartment buildings throughout Pennsylvania, renovations and technology upgrades are an ongoing concern. For the past 30 years, ETI has had the pleasure of working with and serving the Phoebe Allentown campus. The Phoebe Allentown location was founded in 1903 and has expanded from a single skilled nursing facility to a community that serves thousands of seniors through housing and support services that range from two-bedroom maintenance-free independent living apartments to acute 24/7 skilled care. Phoebe Ministries is a pillar of the community that has provided compassionate, faith-based care for more than 100 years.
AnalysisOver the past century, the Phoebe Allentown location has experienced tremendous growth both in its facilities and in the number of residents. The challenge, from a fire alarm life safety standpoint, is that there have been a variety of life safety technologies installed in each wing as the campus has grown. The staff needed an addressable fire alarm system to network all wings together as one and allow for voice communication to residents and staff. Phoebe interviewed systems integrators and chose ETI based on the company’s service history, fully engineered solution and integrated phased approach.
SolutionPhoebe Allentown contracted ETI to provide a multi-phased addressable voice fire alarm system solution, starting with the Trexler Wing, which houses the highest acuity residents. Since Phoebe Allentown is a fully occupied faculty, ETI worked with their staff to provide an installation during normal business hours and kept the existing systems fully functional to provide uninterrupted protection. Phoebe has experienced the following benefits with their upgrades: a voice notification system allowing for clear communication to residents and staff, addressable smoke detection throughout the common areas and corridors for early detection, new fire alarm annunciators at each nursing station providing immediate information to the staff and a new fire alarm network tying in all of the wings of the campus for one unified system.