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The Oakland Franklin building fire alarm system upgrade is almost complete

You’ve probably noticed that there have recently been a number of OP-wide email messages about fire alarm testing in the Franklin building and chances are that you’re wondering why.

“There’s nothing to worry about,” says Darryl Brown, assistant director of Facilities Management, Building and Administrative Service Center (BASC). “BASC is upgrading the fire alarm system as part of a planned project to modernize our system and provide better coverage in emergencies.”

Upgrading a fire alarm system for an entire building is a huge undertaking, especially while the building is occupied. Hundreds of devices make up the fire alarm system, including sprinklers, strobe lights, initiation devices (smoke detectors and pull stations), elevator recall devices, smoke control systems and magnetic door holders throughout every floor, including the garage.

When devices are upgraded, BASC tests them to make sure they work perfectly. The testing process includes:

  • Installing the device(s)
  • Conducting internal fire alarm testing
  • Fine-tuning and making any adjustments
  • Scheduling and conducting fire alarm testing with the Oakland fire marshal, who has the authority to ask for changes in design, including additional devices
  • More fine-tuning, making any adjustments and/or ordering new devices, as requested
  • Receiving new devices… and repeat

You get the picture. It’s a thorough, complex and important process.

Anyone who’s ever been involved in a home or workplace construction project knows there are often unforeseen challenges and supply chain issues. The same is true for this project, and the fire alarm replacement project team, led by Jihee Lee, BASC project manager, works hard to address these in real-time and adjust the plan accordingly.

The good news is that we’re finally nearing the end of the project — completion is targeted for October. BASC will continue to provide advance notice of fire alarm testing, and whenever possible, continue to schedule testing during early morning, evening and weekend hours to minimize the impact on staff.

If you have any questions, please contact Jihee Lee, BASC project manager.

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