How loud are fire alarms?Mayara
Have you ever been in a room where there was a fire alarm going off? Whether an emergency or not, you know that this is not the most pleasant situation to be in. Fire alarms can be incredibly loud, but are they loud enough to cause hearing impairment? Exactly how loud are fire alarms?
All audible annunciators have to comply with certain requirements for volume and decibel level. Additionally, audible notification devices sound different depending on specific conditions. Find out how loud fire alarms actually are in the article below.
Different types of audible notification devices
First, you must know that there are different types of audible notification devices. Generally, all of them follow the same rule: they should be loud enough to warn people, but not too loud to cause any harm.
To determine the decibel level of your devices, you first need to decide which type of product you’ll use. Low-rise constructions, for example, usually require horns. In contrast, high-rise constructions need the installation of speakers.
Horns emit a standardized sound that can be adjusted to different volume requirements. While notifying people in emergencies, horns won’t give any specific information on what is going on. Meanwhile, if you have speakers installed, you can provide customized directions and instructions. You can also use bells or chimes.
How loud are fire alarms?
In order to alert people, fire alarm horns and sirens should always be set to sound 15dB louder than the average ambient noise. This means that the appropriate level will be different in a school class as opposed to an industrial facility, for example. According to NFPA 72 requirements, the decibel level will vary between 65 dB and 120 dB when standing 10 feet from the device.
To set the correct alarm volume you also need to consider other factors, such as the layout of the room. The distance from the horns decreases its volume, but obstacles in the way will also have an impact on the decibels level. Building materials absorb the noise, especially when there are doors between rooms.
Every time you double the distance from a horn or speaker, you lose around 6 dB. Therefore, in order to ensure that the sound of the fire alarm will reach every corner of a building, the decibel level must be higher at the source.
Can I get hearing damage from loud fire alarms?
The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) states that 85 dB and higher is the danger zone for hearing loss. Consequently, prolonged exposure to fire alarms can damage your hearing. How can you avoid these?
The best thing is to have a clear fire evacuation plan and hold fire drills regularly. In the event of a fire, everyone should know exactly what to do in order to avoid confusion and reduce the time they are exposed to loud volume. When you hear loud noises, covering your ears is also and effective way to protect yourself against any hearing damage.
If you think the decibel level of your fire alarm system is too high, you can call a fire alarm company to check the features and configuration of your devices. For any type of horns, speakers, or any other audible devices, you can count on The Fire Alarm Supplier to help you find the best solutions.
On a daily basis, you might encounter different decibel levels and, just like fire alarms, some of these can also affect your hearing. If you are curious to find out which ones, just check the infographic below.