Voice evacuation fire alarm system requirementsMayara
When facing an emergency, even when you know what you have to do, the circumstances might get you disorientated. In situations like these, direct instructions can help, guiding you to the nearest exit of a building, for example. That’s why voice evacuation systems have become more popular in the United States. Learn more about voice evacuation fire alarm system requirements and find out if you should have one installed.
Which types of buildings require voice evacuation systems?
According to the NFPA 101 Life Safety Code, every building classified as Class A or Class B should have a voice evacuation system. Therefore, residential buildings such as hotels and apartments, and offices that gather more than 300 people must have a system installed. The same rule applies to theaters with more than one audience-viewing room and high-rise buildings with more than seven stories.
Besides, this type of equipment does not apply to indoor use only. Places like outdoor event centers, stadiums, malls, and campuses should also have a voice evacuation system installed.
Apart from the requirements, you can have a voice evacuation system in other types of buildings. However, a voice evacuation system could be much more expensive than simpler fire alarm devices. In this case, it is recommendable to evaluate each scenery to check what is most applicable.
Voice evacuation fire alarm system requirements
The system has a voice evacuation panel, speakers, and connections that allow spoken messages to spread throughout the fire alarm system perimeter.
Voice evacuation systems can either have pre-recorded messages or be initiated by a designated person responsible for the message alert. In systems with pre-recorded messages, the alarm can be manually initiated (with the use of pull stations) or automatically started (with the use of devices like smoke detectors). The Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) determines the announcement notification type.
The message should spread throughout the building in decibels level above the ambient noise. To determine the exact decibel level, you should use a certified decibel meter, taking readings from different places. Voice evacuation fire alarm systems should also follow intelligibility requirements, in that messages are entirely understandable and clear.
Voice system installation and other requirements
Like any other fire alarm equipment, to install a voice evacuation system you need to follow some requirements. The voice evacuation control panel, for example, is usually in an accessible area next to the fire panel.
When setting up voice messages, you’ll need to determine if a standard message is acceptable or if you’ll need personalized ones, such as in different languages or with unique instructions. You also need to know if your building requires different messages for different areas. Zoning the system is suitable for large places such as campuses, factories, and industries.
Right before the voice message, you should program an alert sound to make people pay attention to the alarm. The beep can be heard even at high ambient noise levels, and it’s essential to get people’s attention.
When installing a voice evacuation system, you should also follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Different manufacturers have different specifications. For more information on voice evacuation fire alarm system requirements, you can check NFPA 72 National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code.
Advantages of a voice evacuation fire alarm system
Besides providing direct instruction, voice evacuation systems are less likely to install panic. It can make people act more organized and systematic, maintaining calm even in extreme situations like in a fire emergency.
By making people more aware, voice evacuation systems can also be more efficient in getting people to a safe area. Daily, people encounter different types of alarms and sirens and start to become complacent with these kinds of noises, even ignoring it sometimes. On the other hand, direct instructions to evacuate the building are much more difficult to ignore.
Voice evacuation systems can also alert the occupants of a building in other emergencies, such as severe weather or active shooter scenarios.
If you want to know more about voice evacuation fire alarm systems, you can check products like these:
- the SKE-450 Silent Knight voice evacuation panel;
- the ECC-50/100 Firelite mass notification system;
- and the AM-SP40S-PMK Wheelock message factory-programmed kit.
At The Fire Alarm Supplier, you can find everything you need for your fire alarm system, from simple smoke detectors to more complex devices. Check all of our products and find how we can help you find the perfect solution for your project.