Do single station smoke alarms have low frequency sounders?

NFPA 72 now requires a 520 hz square wave fire alarm signal in smoke detector sounder bases provided for publicly available sleeping areas.  The 520 hz tone has been shown as more effective in waking people of a certain age (ahem), deep sleepers or those that may have had a few too many the night [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]

Can I Use VoIP to Replace My Fire Alarm Telephone Lines?

Utilizing the internet to send fire alarm signals to a monitoring station is a subject that confuses end users, designers and installers alike.  Many installers will just say ‘You can’t’ regardless of the equipment currently used, even though that’s usually not the case.  While it’s true that older, existing equipment probably can’t use VoIP, there are options [Read More]

New Two Hour Fire Alarm Cable Update

UPDATE: 2/19/16  I received notification from a reader regarding a new UL 2196 rated CIC cable available from Radix .  This is an 18 AWG cable that features two Oxygen-Free Bare Copper (OFBC) conductors insulated with ceramifiable silicone rubber, an aluminum/aramid shield, a 22 AWG solid TC drain wire and low smoke zero halogen FRPE red [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]

Combining an Existing PA System with a Fire Alarm Voice System

  In our last post, we discussed how more campus administrators are combining fire alarm notification and general paging functions by using the fire alarm system for both.  This is being applied to new installations.  In this post we’ll explore whether integrating an existing PA system with a fire alarm voice system is a viable solution [Read More]

Using Wireless Smoke Detectors With Fire Alarm Systems

The newest development coming out of the various fire alarm manufacturers is wireless smoke detectors and control/monitor devices.  These UL 268 and UL 864 approved devices can be programmed to act like a stand alone, battery powered smoke detector with the added benefit of being supervised for proper operation and without having to replace the batteries every [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]

When does a fire alarm panel have to be in a two hour rated room?

I was recently asked a question regarding when life safety codes mandate two hour protection of the fire panel.  In a general alarm, general evacuation facility, there is no code requirement.  In that situation, people get out of the building immediately so there’s no need to communicate with occupants within the building after the fire department arrives.  It’s only [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]