Most building operators can relate to a host of fire alarm conditions which can occur, leading to the evacuation of their occupants whether there was an actual fire situation or false alarm. At the moment the fire alarm system audibles sound, it may not be immediately clear what created the alarm or what was to follow. Depending of the building classification, these fire alarm system audible devices are programmed with predetermined output patterns and have varying output tones. Given the main purpose of these fire alarm system devices is to support the evacuation of the building occupants, knowing the sequence of operations for a fire alarm system is critical.
There are single stage fire alarms whereby any pull station or automatic detector can engage the audibles with a steady signal throughout the entire building, requiring all occupants to evacuate the premise simultaneously. A multi-stage system, including two-stage systems, is programmed to create a rhythmic pulse alert at the first stage to provide notification to all the occupants of a potential threat of fire in the building. Then, in the event of an actual fire emergency, the secondary stage is engaged with accelerated pulses. The audibles for each stage may vary. For example, the first stage alert signal may be one pulse every two seconds and the second stage evacuation signal one pulse every second. In high-rise buildings and other occupancies such as hospitals, arenas and detention facilities, etc., an emergency voice alarm communication system is employed as part of the general fire alarm system which allows for pre-recorded and manual voice messages to commence and direct evacuations. To confirm the precise sequence of operation for the building’s fire alarm system and their programmed audibles, please refer to the details in the building’s approved fire safety plan. It is imperative the building fire alarm and voice communication system be kept in full working order 24-7 and that the maintenance requirements be followed as also outlined in the approved safety plan. As per Fire Code 188.8.131.52. (4), the fire safety plan shall be reviewed as often as necessary, but at least every 12 months, and shall be revised as necessary so that it takes into account changes in the use or other characteristics of the building or premises.
This article was contributed by Firepoint Inc, serving the GTA since 1997, developing fire department approved fire safety plans for newly constructed and existing buildings. Although every effort is made to ensure the accuracy, currency and completeness of the information, the bulletin publishers and authors do not guarantee, warrant, represent or undertake that the information provided is correct, accurate or current and shall not be liable for any loss, claim, or demand arising directly or indirectly from any use or reliance upon the bulletin information. Bulletin reproduction in whole or in part is prohibited without the written consent of Firepoint Inc. Copyright 2021 – All Rights Reserved. See www.firepoint.ca or call 905-874-9400.