mass notification

Selecting Speakers for a Mass Notification System

A Mass Notification System (MNS) is a platform used to deliver a message to a group of people. This is a crucial aspect of a Life Safety system. When an emergency occurs, being able to deliver precise, clear instructions to those affected can make the difference between life and death.

Standards and Codes regarding Emergency Voice/Alarm Communication Systems

NFPA 72F is the Standard for the Installation, Maintenance and Use of Emergency Voice/Alarm Communication Systems. This Standard from NFPA is a short description of requirements for Voice/Alarm Signaling Service and Two-Way Telephone Communication Service. A more in-depth Standard is from the 2010 edition of the National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code, Chapter 24. This Code provides a more thorough review of Emergency Communications Systems including many types of both one-way and two-way emergency communications systems, system arrangement and performance.

Speakers in MNS

Traditional MNS include one-way message delivery through email, text messages or reverse 911 calling mechanisms. PA systems and speakers are also part of an MNS. When you are delivering an audio message in the time of an emergency, it is imperative that your message is clear and understood by all affected. Selecting the best speaker system for MNS includes understanding the size of the area you need covered, if the area includes indoor and/or outdoor space, acoustics of the space, any background or interfering noise, speaker sensitivity, and directionality and layout of speakers.

While you evaluate the requirements that will be put on your MNS and speaker equipment, you must also take into account the desires of the system owner/operator, all operational goals for the equipment, and cost saving objectives for the owner.

Intelligibility Ratings of Speakers

The main operational goal for any speaker system is to ensure intelligible communications through the system. Although there is no Code or Standard set to require a certain level of speaker intelligibility, it does provide a new Annex D, entitled Speech Intelligibility, that treats the subject of measuring intelligibility levels in detail. In most designs of typical sound and communications systems, stakeholders measure intelligibility by whether or not the designers, installers, authorities having jurisdiction, and occupants can understand the messages. To help with this decision, speakers are rated on a speech transmission index. This is a complex formula which takes into account some physical characteristics of a transmission channel and expresses the ability of the channel successfully transmit syllables, words and sentences in a comprehensible manner for listeners. STI ranges from 0 for bad, to 1 for excellent.

How Hyperspike Speakers rate

Hyperspike speakers utilize some of the newest audio technology. These speakers employ a new and efficient design to minimize the number of speakers required over a large area. The audio output of the speakers has an STI rating between .85 and 1.0; which means it has some of the highest levels of intelligibility for any MNS speakers. In addition, these speakers are among the lightest and smallest in physical size which allows them to be mounted in almost any place both outdoor and indoor.

Options from Hyperspike:

Lightweight High Power Speaker Arrays (HPSA)

Electronic outdoor audible notification units function on AC-power with battery backup to provide continuous 24/7 emergency operation for the life of the battery – one of the longest running uptimes available. Loudspeakers are typically installed on a structure or pole, and are available in a number of configurations. Units can serve areas measured in radial miles. Models come in architecturally neutral beige or gray.

Lightweight Medium Power Speaker Arrays (MPSA)

Electronic audible notification solutions that are ideal for smaller outdoor applications as well as large or very loud indoor areas. Loudspeakers are available in a number of configurations.

Portable Loudspeaker System

Self-amplified, portable loudspeaker can be hand-held or mounted on a tripod, truck or other apparatus. It features Say-Then-Play (STP) microphone system that disperses clear audio without feedback or disorienting echoes.

For more in-depth information about this topic, 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