Monthly Archives: January 2015

2012 Fire and Building Codes Mandate CO Detection in New Lodging and Healthcare Facilities

According to U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) studies, more than 400 people die every year in the U.S. from accidental carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning and over 20,000 individuals are injured due to CO poisoning each year. In recent years, there have been numerous deaths occurring in hotels and motels. One of the most effective ways to reduce the incidence of CO poisoning is to ensure that CO detection devices are installed in places where people live, work, sleep, and study.Fire CO pillows image

To reduce CO poisonings, newly constructed hotels, apartment buildings, dormitories, nursing homes and hospitals will be required to install CO detectors or CO alarms. The new 2012 International Fire Code (IFC) and International Building Code (IBC) requirements are consistent with the requirements in the 2009 edition of the International Residential Code (IRC) for CO detection to be installed in all newly constructed one- and two-family dwellings.

Several examples are hotel and dormitory sleeping rooms as well as dwelling unit bedrooms within apartment buildings.

Look for my next blog on the smoke detection requirements mandated by the 2012 IFC and IBC for college dormitories.


About the Author
Richard Roberts is Industry Affairs Manager at Honeywell Fire Safety with over 30 years in the fire alarm and carbon monoxide market. His experience spans the installation, sales, and product development of code-compliant products and systems. Currently, Mr. Roberts is a member of eight NFPA Technical Committees and he serves on the Board of Directors for the Automatic Fire Alarm Association (AFAA) and Chair of the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) Smoke & CO Committee and Building Codes Committee.

Quick Guide to 2015 Events

This year, Silent Knight will be at dozens of expos and trade events – national and regional. Here’s a sample of the locations we’ll be hitting in 2015 along with registration information and more…Events

Want to join us?

ISC West 2015 – April 15-17, Las Vegas, NV

Less than 80 days and counting!  We’ll be showing off our latest and greatest fire and emergency communication panels along with 4G communicators and all the accessories and devices to go along!

Registration is open and admission to the Expo is FREE with early registration. Register for your FREE exhibit hall pass and start making your plans to attend.

Looking for CEU credits? There will be over 60 sessions available for which you can earn credits, all taught by our industry’s top professionals. Check out this year’s educational tracks!

Northeast Security & Systems Contractors Expo 2015 – May 21, Marlborough, MA

Our Northeast Regional Sales Manager, Mike Breault, will be at NEACC talking about the updates to our Low Frequency Sounders, Fire-CO Devices and our line of Emergency Voice System products. Stop by Booth #701 and say “hello”.

Registration isn’t open yet, but keep an eye on the site for more information!

NFPA Conference & Expo 2015 – June 22 – 25, Chicago, IL

Proud to be part of the Honeywell Fire Safety booth (#600), Silent Knight not only shows our Intelliknight line of products, but also the Farenhyt engineered systems line for the more complex jobs out there.

Registration for the Expo is FREE with early registration, so sign up soon!  For a breakdown of costs and deadlines, visit the conference registration page for details.

Electronic Security Expo (ESX) 2015 – June 24-26, Baltimore, MD

Exhibiting with Honeywell Security in Booth #529 gives our friends attending ESX a full range of products, not only commercial but residential.  Whether you need a large commercial fire/voice system or an IP/GSM communicator to work with an existing panel, we have it all.

Registration coming soon!  Watch the registration page for more information.

This is just a sampling of the shows at which we’ll be exhibiting. We’ll also be at 30+ ADI Expos and other partner events.  Be sure to check out the Silent Knight Event page on for more information! Want to receive updates on events, products and other news? Sign-up to receive Silent Knight news alerts (we promise not to be obnoxious and fill your Inbox with emails!).


About the Author
Elizabeth Richards is the Manager of Communications for the SED Channel – Fire-Lite Alarms, Honeywell Power, and Silent Knight. Liz joined Honeywell Fire Systems in 2003 and is responsible for the communications, collateral, messaging, and events for all three brands.

Round Two: Three More Mistakes That Occur During Fire Alarm Design

When I heard that the top Silent Knight blog of 2014 was the one I wrote titled “Fire Alarm System Design: Top Three Mistakes Dealers Make in the Process,” it struck me that we are on to something: dealers are struggling with how to properly design fire alarm systems.

Everybody is trying to figure out why things are going wrong and trying to be more profitable. One mistake that continually gets repeated; however, with fire alarm system design is when the dealers fail to adhere to code. I come across a lot of sales associates and installers who would like to know more about code, but training is not being provided by their companies or by any proper training source.

But codes are not the only thing causing dealers to make mistakes with fire alarm system design. To continue from my earlier blog entry, let’s explore three more mistakes dealers make when they go out to bid the project:

  1. Plenum vs. Non-Plenum Cable: We see a lot of instances where dealers are bidding PVC cables—the cheaper cable on the market—when plenum cable is actually the correct one to install in a lot of instances. For example, you have to use plenum cable when the HVAC system is using the open ceiling above the drop ceiling as a return space. In this scenario, the fire cable has to be nontoxic and nonflammable and, to accomplish that, plenum cable is the correct choice. We will get out on the job site and find that the wrong fire cable is being installed, which means the job gets a whole lot more complicated and costly. I have for years suggested using the NEC Table 760.154(D) Cable Substitution chart. This chart allows for the use of CM (Communication Multi-conductor) listed cable for fire alarm use. By using CMP (Plenum) cable you now can use that same cable not only for fire alarms, but also for security, access control, CCTV and any other source. This helps limit the cable being hauled on your vehicles and stocking space in your warehouse.NEC cable chart
  1. The Plug-and-Play Mentality: In the previous post, I talked about the fact that before we can design a system, dealers need to understand and relay to the designer or engineer the facility’s building use group. This can be complicated at times because dealers form assumptions about a building use group based on one experience with that type of facility. But each fire installation has its own specific requirements. In addition to understanding the client’s building use group, you have to understand if the client, building owner or general contractor wants to go for a variance on the fire alarm system. For instance, the client, building owner or general contractor can go for a variance (chapter 34 in the ICC IBC building code) so they can save costly upgrades for existing structures. Then you have to understand what the variance calls for. For instance, voice evacuation systems, horn strobes and manual pulls, and full smoke detection are the three fire alarm variances that give them points towards their variance. So always verify that a specific project is not under a Variance Order.
  1. Electrical Contractor Relations: On jobs from the EC (Electrical Contractor), that have been bid or about to be bid, lots of times electrical companies will call the alarm company to ask them to bid it, which in most cases is last minute. To make sure your products are specified, you have to be pro-active with your EC, or whomever you get your fire alarm installation leads from. Get to them early; contact them regularly; and make sure you are getting the jobs early enough. The dealers that do this will stand a greater chance of getting their product specified by the architect, and/or engineering firm, as an addendum for the job prior to bid deadline. This then guarantees you an opportunity for securing a project.

With a new year before us, the biggest thing to keep in mind is new codes. We are starting to see a lot of code changes, and adoption of newer codes. One of the areas with the most activity is for residential fire alarm notification and detection requirements. CO2 detection is being adopted by many states for residential use groups, including single family dwellings where fuel-burning HVAC systems are used. Another one of these changes is states adopting the 2010 and 2013 NFPA 72 code, which mandates low-frequency notification. This year we are seeing a lot of jurisdictions adopting these requirements. A lot of these new codes are coming into play for fire alarm systems across the board and it’s up to dealers, designers, architects and engineers to remain up to speed with all these changes. For example, we just had a state adopt the 2010 that was not aware of the low frequency requirement in NFPA 72 2010, as of January 1, 2015. They know about it now.

Have a Happy New Year, and be safe; it’s a jungle out there.

About the Author
Jon Setters has been running Design Technology Systems, llc for over seven years. The company has designed and engineered for the big guys, (ADT Security, Tyco Integrated Security, Protection One, Guardian Protective Services, Stanley Security Solutions, Guardian Alarm Company), and numerous Electrical and privately held alarm companies.

Install the IPGSM-4G Faster

The IPGSM-4G Commercial Fire Communicator has become a popular solution for the use of alternative communications for central station monitoring. Adding to the tremendous value that it provides, new pre-activated SIM cards will now allow you to install an IPGSM-4G in less time!SIM card

The SIM (subscriber identification module) is the same as what is used in your mobile device (e.g., cell phone). It contains information that identifies your device for use on the mobile carrier’s network. The same way as when you “activate” your mobile device, the IPGSM-4G historically has been activated at the time of installation. Pre-activated SIM cards will save the time spent programming on a job site, while eliminating any connectivity issues that might occur during provisioning.

In general, the IPGSM-4G is an excellent way to solve most problems with POTS and save money on telecommunications costs at the same time. Many applications use cellular communications either as a sole path technology or as a backup in dual path configuration. Either way, pre-activated SIMs reduces the installation steps and time to install. If you are still installing traditional DACTs, now is an excellent time to look at alternative communications for central station monitoring.

The ultimate goal is to make the installation process faster by eliminating extra steps and providing a more seamless experience so that installers can move on to the next job faster.

For more information on the IPGSM-4G and pre-activated SIMs, please refer to the product announcement.

About the Author
Richard Conner is the Director of Marketing for the SED Channel – Fire-Lite Alarms, Silent Knight, and Honeywell Power. Richard joined Honeywell in 2002 and has over 15 years of experience in the fire alarm industry in Marketing, Engineering, and Product Support positions. Richard is responsible for developing brand strategy and marketing programs for all brands.

CO Detection: Alarm or Supervisory?

The Silent Knight addressable SK-FIRE-CO is a versatile detector that offers fire and carbon monoxide (CO) detection in a single addressable device.  A flexible element of this device is the ability to program the fire portion of the detector to provide an alarm signal or a supervisory signal.  NFPA 72 permits a detector to provide a supervisory signal for instances such as detectors in air ducts or plenums or, where approved by the authority having jurisdiction, detectors initiating elevator recall.[1]smoke detector illustration

Separate from the fire portion, the carbon monoxide element of the detector can be programmed for an alarm signal or supervisory signal.  NFPA 72 indicates that signals from carbon monoxide detectors shall initiate an alarm signal.  However, there is an exception that allows carbon monoxide detectors to initiate a supervisory signal when in accordance with the building’s response plan, evacuation plan, fire safety plan or similar.[2]

So should a carbon monoxide event initiate an alarm signal or a supervisory signal?  The answer is – it depends.  An analysis should be performed to determine what should be done with the signal.  To be considered:

  • Detector location
  • Alerting of occupants
  • Appropriate actions required when a condition initiates

The most important action is working with the stakeholders, Authorities Having Jurisdiction, and the central station (plus an understanding of governing laws, local codes, standards and plans) to determine which signal type to use.

Please keep in mind that, regardless of the signal type, the Silent Knight IntelliKnight addressable panels meet the requirements for carbon monoxide detection.  A programmable Temporal 4 output pattern is available for the distinct annunciation of the presence of carbon monoxide. In addition, a unique reporting code will be sent to the central station for a carbon monoxide alarm event.  A carbon monoxide supervisory event will report a standard supervisory event to the central station.

[1] NFPA 72, 2013 Edition, Sections and 21.3.12

[2] NFPA 72, 2013 Edition, Section

About the Author
Mark Indgjer is the Product Marketing Manager for Silent Knight.  Mark joined Silent Knight in 1988 and is responsible for product development & marketing.  Mark is also NICET Level II certified.