fire protection

CNC & Machine Tool Fire Protection

The number of CNC machines throughout the world has grown dramatically as they have become established as state-of-the-art equipment for milling, drilling, grinding, tapping, honing, turning and other operations critical to manufacturing. These machines can cost up to $200,000 each, and are designed to run 24/7 in a demanding, often grueling work environment.

Fires in CNC machines are commonplace. Using oil-based coolants, typically combustible petroleum or mineral oil, flash fires are reported as a “fireball” when oil mist is ignited.

Machine fires can be catastrophic for the operator, cause expensive down time, costly repairs, possible human injury, and damage to the plant and equipment. Fire protection of CNC and other machine tools is critically important. While sprinklers are often required by insurance, they will only control the spread of a fire throughout a plant.

Stat-X generators are a compact, economical and reliable fire extinguishing solution for protecting the CNC machine and operator. A Stat-X unit consists of an extremely rugged, sealed, stainless steel canister containing a stable, solid compound. The canister is durable and non-pressurized, and is designed to withstand the harshest environments.

Stat-X units are available either as electrically activated units, integrated with a variety of fire detection systems, or as manually activated units with a cable-pull action. They are available in several sizes, adaptable to a great variation of applications.

Typical CNC and machine tool installations include a single Stat-X aerosol generator installed with a linear heat fire detection system, an interface with the machine’s emergency shutdown system, and a release control panel. The simplicity of the system results in an extremely robust and versatile fire suppression system for the machine shop owner. Retrofitting into CNC machines is fast and easy, and requires minimum installation time.

In the event of a fire, Stat-X units automatically release ultra-fine particles and propellant inert gases, which quickly and effectively extinguish fires without depleting the oxygen levels and with no negative impact on the environment.

The Stat-X unit is designed to extinguish the fire in seconds, often even before an operator has time to react, and to put out the fire, enabling production to resume within an hour. Stat-X fire suppression systems are being used by hundreds of tools used by machine, and tool and die shops throughout the world. This is a proven solution that can save you downtime, costly repairs, and greatly reduce the risk of human injury.

A1 is a leading expert on the latest technology in life safety. To find out more information or to ask a question, click here or call us at 1-800-859-6198.

Jack Menke
Jack Menke

Stat-X for First Responders

What is Stat-X?

The Stat-X compound is the most effective fire-extinguishing agent currently available – many times more effective than conventional agents by mass. The Stat-X First Responder contains the same compound used in the fixed Stat-X generators. The Stat-X First Responder works by interrupting the chain reaction of the fire. Potassium radicals are the main active component of the Stat-X aerosol. These potassium radicals react with the free radicals of the flame, which results in suppression. Stat-X does not deplete the oxygen level nor does it deplete the ozone layer or contribute to global warming.

Stat-X First Responders

The Stat-X First Responders are an innovative new tool that can be used in a variety of circumstances. The handheld generators are designed to deploy quickly – by simply twisting the ring pin to release the safety clip, pulling the ring pin and then tossing the First Responder into the fire. The fire suppression agent releases in 5 seconds.

 

Stat-X First Responder use by Police and Firefighters

There are many circumstances when police and firefighters would benefit from Stat-X First Responders. For any emergency worker who is the first on scene of a fire, Stat-X First Responders are an effective way to address a fire while waiting on additional resources to arrive. Especially for vehicle fires where the First Responder can knockdown the fire entirely.

Stat-X First Responders are also an effective way to address potential flashover when water isn’t available yet. The Stat-X First Responder can be tossed ahead of the firefighter to eliminate many of the contributing factors of flashover.

The Stat-X First Responder can be used in situations where firefighters or civilians are trapped due to an intense area of fire. Tossing the First Responder into the flames will provide immediate fire suppression.

A1 is a leading expert on the latest technology in life safety. To find out more information or to ask a question, click here or call us at 1-800-859-6198.

Jack Menke
Jack Menke

Complete Monitoring for Complete Protection

Complete Monitoring of your Life Safety Systems

Remote monitoring provides complete protection of your people and asset. Whether you have a fire, break-in, or a medical emergency your alarm monitoring staff will know immediately and can dispatch the appropriate agencies – police, fire, ambulance or any necessary support services.

In addition to alerting the authorities, your designated contact is notified of the situation ensuring that management stays abreast of all events. All within minutes of any alarm. This quick response and communication is a critical part of your safety management program.

Most companies have remote monitoring for a security system and fire protection system. While this is now commonplace, it should also be standard to have your Life Safety Partner monitoring all systems for alerts about emerging or immediate system problems. Your system can be monitored for issues such as failing batteries, electrical issues, or other problems that may interfere with the proper function of your life safety systems.

You can also have alerts monitored for health and safety items such as your AED cabinet and carbon monoxide detector. This all-inclusive monitoring ensures that the proper authorities are notified during an emergency, and that system issues are addressed quickly in order to provide continued protection.

When selecting or reviewing your Monitoring partner, understand that your security relies on the staff of the monitoring station. This means it is important that your Monitoring station have highly trained staff, capable of responding to all situations appropriately and effectively. Your Monitoring station should be staffed 24/7/365 to ensure continuous monitoring of your systems.

Customized responses from your Monitoring partner are also important. With a variety of systems being monitored for maintenance alerts and emergency alarms, there is no one response that will work for all of them. Being able to customize the responses for your different systems will allow the correct person to be notified every time.

A1 is a leading expert on the latest technology in life safety. To find out more information or to ask a question, click here or call us at 1-800-859-6198.

Greg Lane

Air Sampling Smoke Detection

Active vs Passive Smoke Detection

Air sampling smoke detectors are “active” systems which constantly sample the air from multiple points throughout the environment. Other smoke detection devices are “passive” systems. They rely on the heat of the smoke and the airflow of the room, for the smoke or heat to reach the detector. This can be a problem in rooms with constant air flows like server rooms, with smoldering fires which generate relatively little smoke, and with incipient stage fires where the smoke is not hot and therefore has very little thermal lift. Since these environmental conditions are particularly prevalent in server rooms, this is one space where air sampling smoke detectors are best used.

Server Room Fire Prevention with Air Sampling Smoke Detectors

Air sampling smoke detectors are classified as Very Early Warning Smoke Detectors (VEWSD). This is especially important in server rooms where the incipient stage of an electrical fire may not be detected by EWSD (Early Warning Smoke Detectors). This stage, which can last for hours or even days, is not a visible fire but the human nose may smell the fumes.

Smoke from a server room fire is harmful to other electrical equipment in the space. The by-products of smoke from PVC and digital circuit boards are gases such as HCL, and these gases will cause corrosion of IT equipment. Even at very low levels, the gas can cause moderate corrosion with long-term effects on electronics.

Air sampling smoke detectors can detect smoke at this incipient stage to activate alarms so that a response can be taken (whether through a fire suppression system or by an individual trained to respond) to put out and address the cause of the fire. Because the system monitors the space for overheating materials, and can detect this even before an actual fire develops, air sampling detectors act as a fire prevention tool.

How Air Sampling Smoke Detection Worksair-sampling-smoke-detector

Air sampling smoke detectors are quite different from conventional spot type smoke detectors. Aspirating systems are typically made up of a number of small-bore pipes laid out above or below a ceiling in parallel runs, some feet apart. Small holes, also some meters apart, are drilled into each pipe to form a matrix of holes which are the sampling points, providing an even distribution across the ceiling. Air or smoke is drawn into the pipework through the holes and onward to a very sensitive smoke detector mounted nearby, using the negative pressure of an aspirator (air pump).

While air sampling smoke detectors are more sensitive to detecting smoke, they are less susceptible to the major sources of false alarms – dust, draughts and electrical interference. False alarms are a definite annoyance to building owners, managers and tenants. They also have a higher cost for our fire service providers, click here to read about the true cost of false alarms.

Sensitivity Settings of Air Sampling Smoke Detection Systems

Aspirating Smoke Detectors can have the sensitivity settings for alarm levels adjusted. The levels are typically set for an Alert, Action, and Fire 1. An Alert sends notice to local staff so they can investigate the threat of fire that has been detected. The Action level is generally used to initiate smoke control, begin a warning sequence via the evacuation system, and alert further staff members to the situation. The Fire 1 alarm indicates a fire condition is very close or has started. This alarm would activate evacuation procedures for the building, the fire alarm panel for the affected zone is activated, notifying the monitoring company and fire services. An additional Fire 2 threshold can be set; this level would act as confirmation of a serious fire event with the option to activate a suppression system. This should be a safety net setting, as the building’s fire systems and procedures should have operated properly before this point to prevent the fire.

For more in-depth information about the advantages of 725 psi clean agent systems, check out A1’s Lunch & Learns for architects and engineers.

A1 is a leading expert on the latest technology in life safety. To find out more information or to ask a question, click here or call us at 1-800-859-6198.

Jack Menke
Jack Menke

Performing a Room Integrity Test for Clean Agent Systems

If you have a Clean Agent System, it is necessary to perform a Room Integrity Fan Test at installation and during your annual inspection.

What if you lost a single day’s worth of data? Even in a small business of 15 office employees, saving work on a network server can be expensive. What if you lost a week, or even a month of data?

In 2006 to 2010, there were an estimated 209 reported U.S. structure fires per year that started in electronic equipment rooms. Clean Agent Systems are the best choice for fire protection in an IT room.

Inspections: Room Integrity Fan Test

A Room Integrity Fan Test, or Door Test, measures how well-sealed a room is by sealing the room and using a fan to draw a vacuum and pressurize the space. The fan speed is adjusted to obtain a flow pressure equal to that exerted during a fire suppression system discharge. The fan is also reversed to depressurize the room, and readings are taken at both the pressurized and depressurized state. Readings obtained are entered into a computer program designed to calculate the equivalent leakage area (ELA) for the room. Because it is measuring oxygen, which is lighter than clean agent chemicals, the ELA calculated is always a worst case leakage calculation for the room. The retention time for the air in the room is what decides if the room is properly sealed for a gaseous suppression system, as the gas must be able to be held in the room for long enough to extinguish the fire and ensure that it does not reignite. A minimum retention time of ten minutes applies in most cases.

If a Room Integrity Fan Test is unable to be conducted, NFPA 2001 Annex C.1.2.2 (5) allows for the option to seek approval from the Authority Having Jurisdiction to waive the quantitative results of a standard door fan test and instead conduct a detailed leak inspection. In this inspection, the door fan is used to blow air into the room while an inspector uses a smoke pencil to closely examine all floor and walls to look for leaks.

A Room Integrity Fan Test should be performed annually. Throughout the year, the property owner/manager should be maintaining a log of any penetration created in the room walls, etc. whether from internal staff or contractors. This information will be reviewed by the Fire Safety Professional performing the Room Integrity Fan Test. A clean agent fire suppression system is dependent on maintaining a certain level of the gas in the server room for a particular length of time, if the leaks are not sealed properly and too much gas leaks out then the fire may reignite.

Learn more about constructing a server room so that it is properly sealed for a clean agent system.

What other Inspections are needed for a Clean Agent Suppression System?

Twice a year clean agent suppression systems need to be inspected to check the agent quantity and pressure of the refillable containers. Your Inspector will also check the agent tanks for any physical damage that would require the tanks to be replaced. Annually, a detailed inspection of the clean agent system is required. During this inspection, all systems must be thoroughly inspected and tested to ensure proper operation (it is not required for the agent to be discharged). This is when your Room Integrity Fan Test will be performed. In addition, the hoses will be checked for signs of damage, and the smoke detectors will be tested along with your alarm panels. Your clean agent system has its own alarm panel separate from your building’s alarm panel. If you clean agent system is activated, it should notify and set off the alarm system for your building as a whole. Because of this, both the clean agent alarm panel and the building alarm panel are tested.

A1 is a leading expert on the latest technology in life safety. To find out more information or to ask a question, click here or call us at 1-800-859-6198.

Jack Menke
Jack Menke

Server Room Fire Protection

What type of fire protection system is best for a Server Room? While pre-action sprinkler systems can be used in a server room, Clean Agent Systems have definite advantages.

Between 2006 and 2010, there were an estimated 209 reported U.S. structure fires per year that started in electronic equipment rooms, according to the NFPA. It was also reported that 64% of fires in commercial buildings are due to power and climate control equipment – both of which run 24/7/365 in server rooms. The goal of a fire protection system is to detect and alert of fire in the early stages and then bring the fire under control. The advantages of early detection are to allow as much time as possible for evacuation and to protect assets from extensive damage.

For any size business, having a networked server for all employees to save work to is expensive. The benefits of this are so widely accepted that it is the standard in businesses. Consider if you lost a single day’s worth of data. According to the National Archives & Records Administration in Washington, 93% of companies that lost their data center for 10 days or more due to a disaster filed for bankruptcy within one year of the disaster.

It is important to have a protection system customized for your server room, as these rooms are designed specifically to house and maintain valuable and expensive assets for companies. The electronic equipment is sensitive to damage, and the set-up of the room is specific to maintain the equipment – a set-up which can interfere with fire protection if not taken into account. Click here to learn more about smoke and fire detection in server rooms.

Pre-action sprinkler systems are occasionally used in server rooms for fire protection. The benefit to the pre-action system is that the water is not stored in the sprinkler pipes, reducing the risk of pipes leaking and causing damage to the IT equipment. Water damage can still be caused by your dry sprinkler system though if there is a leak in your pipes or a hole due to corrosion from MIC, and your pre-action valve is released due to error (during a test for example). Even with your sprinkler heads intact, you now have water spraying down on your equipment from the leaks. Pre-action systems do have a lowered risk of water damage due to false alarms, as the pre-action system requires two separate events in order for water to flow out of the sprinkler system; first, the smoke detectors must identify a developing fire which releases the pre-action valve allowing water to flow into the sprinkler pipes, second, the sprinkler heads must be activated by heat to allow water to flow out into the room. While these precautions do reduce the chance of water damage in the event of a faulty system or false alarm, if an actual fire occurs water damage is guaranteed.

Water from a sprinkler system could cause as much (if not more) damage as the fire itself to the sensitive assets in your server room. Clean agent systems, however, limit the damage to computer equipment by utilizing a gas that requires no clean up after activation and will not harm your sensitive electronics.

 

Halon gas, which was traditionally used in server room fire protection systems, has been shown to deplete the ozone and is unsafe for humans. Today, most server rooms use a clean chemical agent such as FM200 which does not contain any ozone depleting agents and protects electronic assets without leaving residue or oily deposits. The effectiveness of clean agents is dependent on how tightly sealed the room is, as the agent must be contained in the intended room for an extended period of time to put the fire out and ensure it does not reignite. NFPA 2001 2008 5.6, Standard on Clean Agent Fire Extinguishing Systems, sets the minimum concentration amount that needs to be held in the room for at least 10 minutes. To ensure this standard is met, a Room Integrity Fan Test must be completed at the time of installation and annually thereafter.

In addition to the detectors, alarm, and suppression agent, the fire suppression system in your server room should be able to shut down the ventilation for the room by closing dampers in the HVAC system. This is important for containing the fire, reducing the amount of agent required and keeping the room sealed for the use of the chemical suppression agent.

Space in your server room is valuable, you want to utilize the protected space in your server room for the necessary electronic hardware. This is one advantage to clean agent suppression systems, as you can have the chemical agent tanks stored in a neighboring space, such as a supply closet, instead of inside the server room itself. However, the disadvantage to storing the tanks in a neighboring space is that if you have a leak in the pipes you may lose too much agent at discharge to suppress the fire. If the tanks are stored in your IT room, then a leak is not as problematic since the agent is still ending up in the IT room where the fire is occurring.

A1 is a leading expert on the latest technology in life safety. To find out more information or to ask a question, click here or call us at 1-800-859-6198.

Jack Menke
Jack Menke

Electrical Contractors: 8 Ways to Keep your Fire Protection Project on Schedule

Keeping your project on schedule can be a challenge. Planning, communicating and coordinating with the different trade professionals is important and one set-back can cause a ripple effect for others. Here are a few items Electrical Contractors can check off the list to keep the fire protection part of the plan on moving forward.

  1. Have background CAD Drawings available

Your fire protection project starts with installation drawings which overlay with the project’s background CAD drawing. The design of a fire protection project cannot begin until these original drawings are received. When you select your Life Safety partner, have your project’s CAD drawings ready to hand over so that the fire protection design can begin immediately. To delay the start of the design can lead to slow submittals, unnecessary delays, or even missed deadlines.

  1. Coordination with other trades

To have a successful fire protection design, your Life Safety partner will need to coordinate efforts with other trades during construction. Successful communication between trades will limit delays and errors in project delivery. For example, the sprinkler contractor needs to communicate the number and locations of sprinkler points to be monitored. It is recommended that your elevator contractor and fire alarm contractor meet early in the schedule to discuss the interface. Many issues and delays can occur if miscommunication occurs between the fire alarm and HVAC professionals, so A1 recommends that you use your fire alarm contractor to supply and install the system duct detectors. This cuts down on the opportunity for problems and delays, and allows the duct detectors to be programmed in a way that they can be reset at the fire alarm panel.

  1. Phone Company

We all know utilities move at their own pace. Waiting on the phone company to provide a dedicated line for your fire sprinkler monitoring system can be frustrating and cause an unnecessary delay. By utilizing cell monitoring you can cut out the phone company altogether. Take back control of your project. Your Life Safety partner can install a cell dialer during construction.

  1. Power

Your Fire Alarm panel requires a dedicated power line with 120-volt circuit with a breaker lock marked “fire” in red. Without this power line installed and properly marked, your Life Safety partner cannot move forward with the fire alarm panel install and programming. Ensure that your power is properly run before your Life Safety partner is scheduled to perform the fire alarm install.

  1. Check all Circuits

This is another item that needs to be completed before your Life Safety partner can begin installation. Your electrician should check all circuits to ensure they are free of trouble, no grounds, opens or shorts. If your fire alarm panel senses these troubles it will not work properly, your Life Safety partner will have to spend valuable time rechecking all lines for the problem which can delay the schedule.

  1. Communicate Permit Notes/Changes

When permits are returned with comments it is imperative that these notes be passed back along to your subcontractors including your Life Safety partner. If changes are required but not implemented, you can fail your final walk-through and delay occupancy. Even small changes can take time and cause extra expense if they have to be corrected after all work is complete; however, the delay and expense can be minimized if the changes are communicated during construction.

  1. Communicate changes to project schedule

Changes to your project schedule need to be communicated to your Life Safety partner and other subcontractors as soon as possible. If you are changing your project to a phased project, experiencing delays, or accelerating your project getting all of your partners on-board with that change as quickly as possible can be the difference in successfully meeting your new timeline.

  1. 100% Pre-Check

You should test 100% of the fire alarm devices before the AHJ arrives for the final inspection. This ensures a successful final and occupancy. More importantly, it provides confidence that the fire alarm system will work in the case of an actual emergency.

A1 is a leading expert on the latest technology in life safety. Click here to see more information on how A1 can provide all your fire safety needs.

Jack Menke
Jack Menke

Smoke Alarms

Widespread use of smoke alarms began in the 1970s, and have greatly reduced the number of home fire deaths. Prior to the 1970s, the average number of annual deaths by home fires was roughly 6,000. While there has been a dramatic decrease in home fire deaths, there is still more work to be done. Three out of every five home fire deaths occur in a home with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms. No smoke alarms were present in more than 1/3 of home fire deaths. In reported home fires where smoke alarms were present, but did not operate, almost half of the smoke alarms had missing or disconnected batteries. A quarter of the smoke alarm failures were due to dead batteries. NFPA estimates that there are about five million homes nationwide without smoke alarms.

In 2015, 3,280 civilians died in fires. Most fire deaths are not caused by burns, but by smoke inhalation. An individual can become incapacitated by smoke so quickly that they are overcome and can’t make it to an otherwise accessible exit. Having smoke detectors and alarms in your home and business can provide valuable time to evacuate, preventing injury and death.

A smoke alarm is a stand-alone device with a built-in sounder, a power supply, and a sensor. A smoke alarm is not connected to a fire alarm control panel, but may interconnect with other smoke alarms within the building. A smoke detector is part of a commercial fire protection system, it has only a built-in sensor and sends information to the fire alarm panel.

There are two main types of smoke detection technology used both in stand-alone devices and as the sensor in smoke alarms, ionization and photoelectric. Each has advantages, for best protection you should use both types of smoke detection technologies. There are units available which utilize both technologies in a single device for both detectors and alarms.

Ionization Smoke Detection
Ionization Smoke Detectors are generally more responsive to fires that have flames. The detectors have a small amount of radioactive material between two electrically charged plates, this ionizes the air and causes current to flow between the plates. When smoke enters the chamber, it disrupts the flow of ions thus reducing the flow of current and activating the alarm.

Photoelectric Smoke Detection
Photoelectric Smoke Detectors are more responsive to fires that begin with a long period of smoldering. Photoelectric-type detectors aim a light source into a sensing chamber at an angle away from the sensor. When smoke enters the chamber, it reflects the light onto the light sensor which triggers the alarm.

Smoke detectors have advanced technologically to be more user friendly. In addition to combination detectors which include both photoelectric and ionization technology, you can also get detectors that combine CO detection, or many have features for silencing nuisance alarms. Smoke alarms can be interconnected to allow an alarm to sound throughout the house or building when one unit detects smoke; some of these devices can be programmed to provide audio messages that state for which room the alarm has sounded.

A1 is a leading expert on the latest technology in life safety. To find out more information or to ask a question, click here or call us at 1-800-859-6198.

Jack Menke
Jack Menke

General Contractors: 5 Ways to Keep your Fire Protection Project on Schedule

Keeping your design-build project on schedule can be a challenge. Planning, communicating and coordinating all the different trade professionals is important and one set-back can cause a ripple effect for others. Here are a few items General Contractors can check off the list to keep the fire protection part of the plan on moving forward.

  1. Have background CAD Drawings available

Your fire protection project starts with installation drawings which overlay with the project’s background CAD drawing. The design of a fire protection project cannot begin until these original drawings are received. When you select your Life Safety partner, have your project’s CAD drawings ready to hand over so that the fire protection design can begin immediately. To delay the start of the design can lead to slow submittals, unnecessary delays, or even missed deadlines.

  1. Coordination with other trades

To have a successful fire protection design, your Life Safety partner will need to coordinate efforts with other trades during construction. Successful communication between trades will limit delays and errors in project delivery. For example, your HVAC professional needs to provide an accurate count of duct detectors installed and their location. If you have an excavation company performing the underground work of laying the pipe for the fire sprinkler water connection, they need to communicate with your life safety company concerning the details and timeline.

  1. Cut out the Phone Company

We all know utilities move at their own pace. Waiting on the phone company to provide a dedicated line for your fire sprinkler monitoring system can be frustrating and cause an unnecessary delay. By utilizing cell monitoring you can cut out the phone company altogether. Take back control of your project. Your Life Safety partner can install a cell dialer during construction. Cell monitoring will not only save you time in your project schedule, it is also more cost effective for sprinkler monitoring. If you will be selling the property, this is a money-saving feature you can pass on to your buyer. If the property will be for tenant use, having cell monitoring means you don’t have to worry about relying on the tenant’s phone line or interrupted monitoring when tenants move in and out. Read more about the benefits of cell monitoring. 

  1. Communicate Permit Notes/Changes

When permits are returned with comments it is imperative that these notes be passed back along to your subcontractors including your Life Safety partner. If changes are required but not implemented, you can fail your final walk-through and delay occupancy. Even small changes can take time and cause extra expense if they have to be corrected after all work is complete; however, the delay and expense can be minimized if the changes are communicated during construction.

  1. Communicate Changes to Project Schedule

Changes to your project schedule need to be communicated to your Life Safety partner and other subcontractors as soon as possible. If you are changing your project to a phased project, experiencing delays, or accelerating your project getting all of your partners on-board with that change as quickly as possible can be the difference in successfully meeting your new timeline.

A1 is a leading expert on the latest technology in life safety. Click here for more information on how A1 can provide all your fire safety needs.

Greg Lane

 

Fire Alarm or Emergency Signaling at Schools

What should school alarms have: horns and strobes or audio messages?

Most state fire, building, and life safety codes require all new K-12 schools to have a fire alarm system which includes horns and strobes. For schools with more than 100 occupants, it is required by NFPA that the systems initiate an audio alarm to notify occupants. This alarm must meet requirements of, and is installed in accordance with, NFPA 72®, National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code.

A fire alarm system has at least horns and strobes that signal when the system is activated. The horns and strobes are the traditional alert and are required for all fire alarm systems. Adding audio messages to your fire alarm takes your system to the next level. Audio messages can be individualized for specific circumstances, instead of a generic horn and strobe, and provide more information for how to respond to the situation.

NFPA 72 permits the emergency voice/alarm communications system to provide other uses, such as for public address (PA) or mass notification purposes. Some features of the PA system may seem to interfere with an emergency communication system such as the ability to lower the volume on speakers, emergency notification systems can override the local volume controls to reset them to the emergency sound level. In addition, emergency notification systems need to be set to override any PA non-emergency messages. Specific design requirements for a school’s emergency communication system also include the ability to broadcast live voice messages by paging zones, and requires an emergency power supply which can support the system for 24 hours.

NFPA 72, Chapter 24, provides guidance for messages recorded in the emergency communication system. It requires that messages be developed to address each scenario outlined in the school’s emergency response plan (which means schools are required to have an emergency response plan). Emergency messages must have content that provides information and instructions to the building occupants. An evacuation message must use the standard alarm evacuation signal consisting of a Temporal-3 alarm signal (which is the recommended standard evacuation pattern for smoke and fire alarms) for at least two cycles before and after the recorded voice message.

While this overview was a general review of requirements for school emergency notification systems, it is important to review your state and local code requirements as they may dictate other design requirements. You should also review your emergency response plan with your local police and fire department to get their input and coordinate responses.

A1 is a leading expert on the latest technology in life safety. To find out more information or to ask a question, click here or call us at 1-800-859-6198.

Jack Menke
Jack Menke