Customer Spotlight

General Mills

TECHNOLOGIES: Fire and Security


As one of the world’s largest food companies, General Mills has principal manufacturing plants across the United States, including two in Iowa. The company produces many popular food brands, including Betty Crocker, Pillsbury, Cheerios, and Lucky Charms.

Customer Needs

General Mills had an outdated fire alarm system made up of several independent, non-networked components from different manufacturers. The staff wanted a system that was more reliable, triggered fewer false alarms, and required less maintenance and fewer service calls. General Mills wanted each plant to have its own standalone, networked fire alarm control panel that constantly communicated to the central control unit in the emergency response team’s command center.


CEC partnered with General Mills to design a state-of-the-art, one-of-a-kind fire alarm solution. As a result, General Mills now has:

  • A fire alarm system that broadcasts unique, individual voice messages for all 3,000 points in its plant. Each plant has a standalone, networked fire alarm control panel that communicates with the central control unit.
  • Fire alarm system integration with General Mills’ existing paging and two-way radio emergency responder solution (also designed and installed by CEC).
  • Downtime prevention through the integration of surveillance cameras, alarm systems, pagers, and screens. No matter where he is in the building, the emergency response coordinator can find out exactly what’s happening in the plant so problems can be detected and solved early on. Screens throughout the facility display floorplans with accurate locations of alarm points.
  • Reduced liability issues thanks to monitoring systems that screen for ammonia leaks. These alarms alert staff immediately in the event of a leak so they can be safely evacuated.
  • Air-handling units with standalone duct-mounted smoke detectors that are connected to the fire alarm control panel.
  • Surveillance systems that reduce the number of employees needed to monitor production lines conveyor belts, and bins. Now just one employee can monitor the entire plant and react immediately in the event of a jam or overflow.
  • The ability to pinpoint exactly where/why alarms are triggered, as well as who receives this notification (and how they receive it).
  • A one-of-a-kind fire alarm and security solution that is approved for use by the local fire department.

CEC helped us design and install one of the most modern fire control and emergency notification systems that exists in Iowa.

Terry Cunningham Emergency Response Coordinator, General Mills
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