Monthly Archives: April 2015

You Should Know – Importance of Carbon Monoxide Detection Placement in a Parking Structure

Last month I addressed carbon monoxide detector placement in buildings with HVAC systems. The topic was very well received and led to inquiries about use and placement in other installations, such as parking structures.parking garage

A parking structure generally comprises a great deal of airborne contaminants.  These structures have additional requirements for carbon monoxide detection because of safety and air change concerns.  Given the nature of parking structures, there are a couple rules-of-thumb for location and spacing of carbon monoxide detectors:

  • Whenever possible, use interior open support columns for mounting. This maximizes the coverage of the detector or sensor.
  • Obtain total coverage. Be sure to include areas such as pay booths, elevator waiting areas, and idling or stopping locations.  Coverage can vary by manufacturer, but you will generally see a range of 5,000 to 10,000 square feet of coverage or roughly a 50 foot radius per detector or sensor.
  • Spacing and location requirements should adhere to the manufacturer of the carbon monoxide detection equipment. It should also be noted that, in many instances, ventilation and fan systems are often times controlled by carbon monoxide detection to conserve energy.  Consideration is required to determine how the carbon monoxide detection will interface with and control these systems.

As always, be aware of applicable codes and standards.  The International Mechanical Code and the International Building Code address parking structures, ventilation and carbon monoxide detection.  Also, state, municipal and other building codes should provide additional information.  Lastly, please work with your local AHJ to determine requirements.

About the Author
Brian Brownell joined Honeywell in 2011 and brings 30 years of fire alarm industry expertise to his current role as a Technical Trainer for Silent Knight. ​

ISC West – A Focus on Code and Specifier Demands

Carbon monoxide detection, low frequency notification and back-up power for ISC West Booth19emergency communication, mixed with some time- and money-saving options was a primary focus for Silent Knight at the 2015 ISC West Show in Las Vegas, NV.

Dealers and integrators at the show appeared very interested in the new line of low frequency sounders and sounder bases, including the new B200S-LF base that fits the SK-FIRE-CO detector. Current versions of PR_SystemSensor_LowFrequency_imageSilent Knight detectors and traditional sounder bases used in existing installations can be easily upgraded by replacing the base with the new low frequency version.

In applications where speakers are being used for low frequency notification, the IntelliKnight 5820XL-EVS has also been updated to emit the 520 Hz tone. A growing number of jurisdictions are adopting codes that mandate low frequency notification for numerous occupancy types – Silent Knight wants to be sure you’re equipped to meet those requirements.

An increasing number of fire alarm specs are calling for back-up amps to meet voice evac. and emergency communication systems survivability requirements. Many attendees were not aware of that Silent Knight now offers the EVS-100W to provide ????????unique backup power capabilities for the IntelliKnight 5820XL-EVS emergency voice system. At ISC West, we demonstrated the three ways in which this new amp can be used:

  • 50 watts with 50 watts as backup
  • 100 watt single channel
  • 100 watt single channel with 50 watts backup using the EVS-100WBU

Did you stop by our booth at ISC West? C’mon, give us some feedback in the comments below – what should we show or demonstration at ISC West 2016?

About the Author
Beth Welch is the Manager of Public Relations & Social Outreach for Honeywell Fire Systems. For a decade, she has strived to raise awareness of new technologies, industry trends and information, for the benefit of engineers, integrators and end users.

Say Goodbye to ‘Smarts and Parts’ Dealers; Low-Voltage Integrators Are the New Suppliers

The 25-year trend of electrical contractors buying “smarts and parts” from fire alarm ESDs (Engineered Systems Distributors) may be going away. That is, at least, how I’ve been seeing it recently—and I’ve been in the industry for almost four decades.

A Brief Look Back

If you’re not familiar with these ESD “smarts and parts” dealers, let me give you a quick primer. Let’s say there’s a large building project that involves a new fire alarm system System Integratorand the prime electrical contractor isn’t knowledgeable about fire alarms, or doesn’t want to be in the firealarm service business. The contractor can turn to an ESD that takes a look at the engineer’s design, applies its fire alarm parts, and provides a complete set of system wiring drawings and programming. Finally, the ESD sells the package to the contractor. This process effectively sells their expertise (smarts) and their product (parts). The prime electrical contractor responsible for the entire installation has used this strategy for many decades.

How the Industry is Progressing

Because of trends in the industry and technology, electricians are now dealing with an abundance of low-voltage systems, such as fire alarm, access control, cameras, voice and data, sound systems, telephone networking and Wi-Fi. As a result, for a $12 million electrical project, about $2 million of it could possibly be low-voltage specialty systems. Since there’s so much low-voltage work—and usually the prime/large electrical contractor understands the significant challenges of completing it—many contractors no longer want to assume responsibility for the installation. This has caused a new market segment to develop for low-voltage integrators to partner up with large electrical contractors and take over that portion of the installation.

Therefore, the smarts and parts dealer who only sells equipment and does not employ installation staff may be in a less competitive position. However, the low-voltage integrator who can complete the entire installation can partner with electrical contractors who specialize in areas other than fire alarms (security, voice, data networking and public address). That organizational restructure would be stronger and more profitable for the future. I look at these low-voltage integrators as specialists—similar to those you find in the medical field, such as ear, nose and throat doctors.

Adding Value to the Job Site

What’s more, as one of these low-voltage integrators, working with these big electrical contractors has been extremely beneficial as it allows us to bring all the low-voltage sub-specialties under one roof; we are a “one-stop shop” after all. Telling the electrical contractor that you’re going to take ownership and coordination of all the low-voltage systems is key. If you only specialize in one area, then the contractor has to find someone to fill in the gaps.

Also, we’ve been able to consistently show that the project will be completed on time. For example, let’s say there’s a $20 million building and the construction interest could be as high as $100,000 per month; it’s critical that the job stays on track. The owner doesn’t want to find out on the brink of moving in that the fire alarm is not designed correctly. Then, there’s a sudden scramble to add devices that were not included in the original scope. We avoid this because we are continually monitoring the project and even review the plans and drawings at the very beginning to make sure nothing is missing. Additionally, we keep track of all the building modifications that occur during the course of the construction to avoid an 11th hour nightmare. People who work with us value rigorous scheduling in advance of their move-in date.

With an increasing number of low-voltage systems today, the smarts and parts dealers may be at a disadvantage. Instead, electricians are seeking to partner with low-voltage integrators to shift their own priorities to high-voltage systems.

How does your team add value to a job site? Share your thoughts and comments with us below.

About the Author
Jonathan Phillips is the founder and owner of System One Alarm Services in Franklin Lakes, New Jersey. He graduated from Lehigh University with a degree in electrical engineering. Jonathan is NICET Level IV certified in fire alarm design, and has been in the industry for 35 years.

Understanding Product Listings for New Dealers

Fire and life safety systems perform an important role in protecting people and property. Product listings and approvals are a critical component that ensures a fire and life safety solution meets the necessary performance criteria for this purpose. In the U.S., AHJs and other code enforcement officials typically require the equipment used in new fire and life safety system installations and upgrades to possess certain listings and approvals. Therefore, new dealers interested in getting into the fire alarm industry would benefit from understanding the regulatory requirements / listings for these systems.UL ListingFMApproved_BW.ai

One of the primary approvals agencies that is widely known in this industry is Underwriters Laboratories (UL). UL provides testing and certification services to fire alarm manufacturers, among many other services in many other industries. The UL certification, also known as a listing, is then specified by architects/engineers and end users for fire alarm solutions and enforced in jurisdictions for where the product is to be installed. Since there are different aspects of a fire alarm system, the specific products are “listed” for a specific purpose. For example, here are some common listings:

  • UL864 – Standard for Control Units and Accessories for Fire Alarm Systems
  • UL 268 – Smoke Detectors for Fire Alarm Systems
  • UL 2572 – Standard for Mass Notification Systems

If a specification just says UL listed, then it’s understood that the required product is listed for its purpose. The applicable listings are typically outlined at the end of a product spec sheet (or datasheet), which is used as evidence of the listing. The spec sheet may not reflect the actual listing type, but may show the manufacturer file number, which is linked to the listing card. In addition, the listings can be researched by manufacturer and product in the Online Certifications Directory on the UL website.

Another regulatory agency that is prevalent for fire and life safety systems is Factory Mutual (FM). Factory Mutual provides insurance products, among many other services. Typically, the fire alarm system used in a facility that is insured by FM is required to be FM approved. This is also a testing and certification process that is completed by fire alarm manufacturers. Manufacturers commonly post FM approvals in the same places as UL listings. An “Approval Guide” of all FM approved products and services is also maintained by FM online.

In addition to nationally recognized agencies like UL and FM, there are local regulatory agencies, including ones such as the California State Fire Marshal (CSFM) and Fire Department of New York City (FDNY).

Although the listings and approvals for fire alarm may seem complicated, it comes down to two basic questions:

1) What listings and/or approvals are required in the jurisdiction?

2) What is required for the specific application?

Once you know these answers, then you can use the product spec sheet and certification agency websites to determine if the fire and life safety solution meets your project’s regulatory needs. As an example, Silent Knight systems listings and approvals are available on SilentKnight.com.

Can’t find a particular listing? Curious about the testing process or have other questions on approvals and listings? Let us know in the comments section on this page.

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.

No Comment? Not from Silent Knight Customers

?????????By now, I hope you’ve had the opportunity to install or service Silent Knight addressable fire alarm control panels. The versatile IntelliKnight line of panels offers a variety of options and features that save time and money.  We receive an abundance of comments from customers about our products and I would like to share some of the features and options that you find valuable.

A popular feature is the Detector Status option in the Silent Knight addressable panels.  This valuable feature allows users to upload panels via the Silent Knight Software Suite (SKSS – for 5660 panels and 5670 panels) utility and view status of the addressable detectors.  Information that is captured includes:

  • clear air values
  • alarm thresholds
  • maintenance alerts
  • calibration thresholds
  • log of values over time that provide a history of each addressable detector
  • NFPA status of each detector, indicating if it is in compliance with NFPA 72 – the detector status upload is U.L. listed as a calibrated, sensitivity test that can be printed and presented to your AHJ.

You’ve also commented on the remote access capability that the SKSS utility offers.  This option provides the ability to connect with a panel remotely via the telephone lines.  Customers find this option very convenient as a site visit is not required to retrieve information about a specific panel.  You can call a panel from your office to request an upload of the panel program, event history, and detector status.

Increasingly, fire alarm control panels are moving away from telephone lines and utilizing alternate communication methods.  The SK-IP-2UD is an IP communicator that offers remote access capability via the internet to the 5808, 5820XL, and 5820XL-EVS.

Your input is extremely valuable to Silent Knight and our success.  We appreciate the feedback and incorporate as much as we can into our products and services. Do you have suggestions or feedback to share? Enter it below in the comments field.

About the Author
Mark Indgjer is a Product Marketing Manager with Silent Knight.  Mark joined Silent Knight in 1988 and is responsible for new product development, product marketing and much more.  Mark is also NICET Level II certified.