Do fire alarm strobes always have to be synchronized?

I was recently asked a question about whether two strobes had to be synchronized if they were the only two in a field of view .  The facility’s fire alarm vendor told him that if a field of vision had just two strobes in it, they did not need to be synchronized.  When he tried [Read More]

What Version of NFPA 72 Record of Completion is IDPH Using?

Since we service many hospitals and long term care facilities, we run into a number of different opinions on which version of the NFPA 72 Record of Completion (ROC) the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) is requiring as part of its closeout documentation.  You’ll get different answers, depending on the general contractor. Since the [Read More]

Are Fire Alarm Strobes Required in the City of Chicago?

The Chicago Building Code (CBC) defines which buildings are required to have fire alarm systems and is specific about how these systems are to be put together.  What comes to a surprise to those that design and/or install these systems is, among other things, what is included and not included regarding notification of an alarm [Read More]

Elevator Recall Integration with Fire Alarm Systems

What is elevator recall? When is it required? When should it be integrated with a fire alarm system? How is that accomplished? These are a few of the many questions both elevator and electrical contractors have when elevator work is performed. With the constantly changing technologies and capabilities of elevator control and fire alarm systems, [Read More]

What is Fire Alarm Audibility?

  The biggest obstacle to getting occupancy of a completed construction project is getting approval from the fire department.  Of all the items checked by the fire department inspector, the biggest concern and hardest to rectify if not compliant is the level of occupant notification in event of a fire alarm activation.  If occupants can’t [Read More]

Chicago High Rise Office Space Fire Alarm Speaker Requirements

Like other major metropolitan areas, the city of Chicago requires emergency voice and communication systems in its high rise buildings (over eighty feet in height).  Rather than sound a general alarm when a detection device activates, the fire department is notified without any audible warning provided to the high rise occupants until the fire department [Read More]

Does a Renovation Project Change Elevator Recall Requirements?

We frequently get questions about whether an office buildout/renovation changes the existing elevator recall sequence or mandates it if there is no recall.  The simple answer is that if the elevator equipment is not substantially altered after its installation, the requirements applicable at the time of installation remain in force.  Whether or not the space [Read More]

Defining Generator Testing Frequency

I recently received a question regarding emergency generator testing in a medical facility that touched on testing frequency and what defines a method of off site monitoring.  Here’s the question: My local AHJ expects my Ambulatory Surgical Center (ASC) to run the generator weekly. They utilize NFPA 1 (2012) and NFPA 72 (2010).  Both NFPA 1 in [Read More]

Fire Alarm and Emergency Voice System Testing and Inspection

In our last post, we talked about why it’s important to use a third party to test a smoke detector’s sensitivity level.  In this post, we’ll cover another area of concern: verification of outputs.  In a simple system that just activates the horn/strobes, that may seem to be an easy task.  However, there is always more than [Read More]

Testing & Inspecting Fire Alarm & Emergency Voice Systems

A fire alarm system is required to be tested regularly, the results of which are reviewed by the fire department.  When scheduling a test of a facility’s fire alarm system, property managers have a vested interest in maintaining safety compliance and limiting their liability exposure while keeping an eye on operating costs.  Operating cost reduction might seem [Read More]