Can I use a PBX phone line for a DACT connection to the fire department?

With the impending discontinuation of the hard copper (POTS) phone lines, and in fact many municipalities already no longer have hard copper pairs from end user to the fire department dispatch center, is it a violation of NFPA 72 if the DACT connections to the fire department use PBX phone lines? Some fire alarm system [Read More]

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]

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]

If I Have Sprinklers, Do I Also Need Smoke Detectors? Part 2

In our previous blog on this subject, we addressed whether smoke detectors are required in business, healthcare and assembly occupancies if they have sprinklers installed.  In this edition, we’ll look at general requirements for educational and residential occupancies, based on the IBC/IFC and NFPA 101. As mentioned in Part 1,  it’s important to remember that sprinklers are [Read More]

If I Have Sprinklers, Do I Need Smoke Detectors? Part 1

It can be hard to separate life safety code requirements.  Much of it can seem redundant, leading some to over-design when they’re not sure what the requirements are.  This can be especially true where sprinklers and detection are concerned.  It’s important to remember that sprinklers are meant to control the spread of fire, providing occupants that [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]