Alarm systems to be update across campus

Natalie McCurdy, Tech Editor

In the coming weeks, a new alarm system will be installed throughout campus. Gunn’s current system uses products from Simco Security, but will be upgrading to the Honeywell Silent Knight system. This process will include the installation of new heat, smoke, and beam detectors.

After PAUSD gained approval from the State Architect, and the State and Local Fire Marshall, the update is well underway. The system has had some complications in its installment, as wiring and software, complications have arisen. However, Lawrence is hopeful that it will be up and running after winter break. After Gunn’s installation is completed, Palo Alto High School will also undergo the same update.

Manager of Strong Schools Bond Robert Golton justified this 800,000-dollar renovation by explaining that outdated technology has impaired the current system’s effectiveness. “This was done because the hardware was old, would go out of order more frequently, and replacement parts are hard to find,” Golton said. The installation of newer technology is expected to curb maintenance issues and allow the detectors to work more accurately and with fewer complications. “It’s way more sophisticated than what we had before, and for all I know the one we had before was there when I went to school,” principal Kathy Lawrence said.

District administrators have confirmed that e-cigarette vapor will be detectable with this new update. “Yes. They read vape as smoke,” Golton said. The smoke detector will pick up anything from smoke to vapor to steam, while heat detectors are programmed to only go off after a certain rise in temperature within the space regardless of the cause. Beam detectors will also be installed in open spaces, such as the gym, and will be triggered when light from the beam is obstructed by smoke.

While the new detectors will recognize e-cigarette vapor, Golton states that the district’s choice to update the system was in fact independent from the topic of teen vaping. The goal was simply to install up to date and safer fire technology.