Category Archives: Richard Roberts

Improved Waking Effectiveness for High Risk Segments of the Population (Under 100 Words)

Most fire alarm horns and integral sounders in smoke alarms produce an audible tone in the 3 KHz frequency range. Findings from numerous research studies have concluded the 3 KHz bedroomaudible signal is not as effective as a low frequency 520 Hz tone at waking up high risk segments of the population, such as people who are hard of hearing, school age children and the elderly.

To improve the waking effectiveness for high risk segments of the population, fire alarm systems will be required to install the low frequency audible alarm signal in all sleeping areas to wake up people.

 

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.

2012 Fire and Building Codes Require College Dorms to Install Automatic Smoke Detection

According to a 2011 National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) report, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated annual average of 3,810 structure fires in dormitories, fraternities and sororities in 2005-2009.dorm

To reduce property damage and civilian casualties, 2012 editions of the International Fire Code (IFC) and International Building Code (IBC) require an automatic smoke detection system to be installed in common spaces outside of dwelling/sleeping units of college and university buildings.

I’ve also covered where some of the bigger changes the 2012 edition of IFC and IBC will bring about, including carbon monoxide detection in new lodging and healthcare facilities; and emergency communication systems in k-12 grade schools.

 

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.

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.

2012 Fire and Building Codes to Give Schools a Voice

There are several noteworthy changes to the 2012 edition of the International Fire Code (IFC) and International Building Code (IBC) that will enhance public life safety. These codes protect the public by incorporating the latest advancements in technology and techniques. Therefore, they are updated every three years to align with new technologies and techniques.school illustration

As more jurisdictions adopt these model fire and building codes, the consequential changes they will have on specific building types can be substantial in some markets. Let’s start with one of the hottest topics – schools and emergency communication systems.

In recent years there has been an increase in acts of violence committed against students and staff in kindergarten through grade 12 schools. Fire alarm systems installed in newly constructed schools will be required to utilize an emergency voice/alarm communication (EVAC) system for occupant notification instead of using horns that produce an audible tone. Using an EVAC system for the occupant notification system has several benefits over an audible tone:

  • Improved Communications: An EVAC system is able to provide pre-recorded and live voice instructions throughout the schools during emergencies, whereas horns are only capable of providing an audible tone.
  • Reduced Costs: An EVAC system is capable of being used for fire alarm evacuation and other signaling purposes such as general paging, daily class changes, severe weather alerts, and acts of violence thereby reducing installations costs by eliminating the need for a separate public address system.
  • Improved Reliability: Public address systems do not have secondary power supplies and they typically do not monitor the integrity (supervise) of the power supplies, circuit wiring, etc. Whereas EVAC systems are required to have a secondary power supply and supervise all critical system functions for opens, shorts and grounds.

More IBC and IFC changes effecting lodging, healthcare, and college dormitories will be covered by me in blogs to be posted later this month.

 

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.

CO Fact #10 – What Are the Placement Requirements for Carbon Monoxide (CO) Alarms & Detectors?

Of these 10 CO facts, I saved this one for last in the hopes it clears away some common misconceptions, and it usually stirs up a lot of discussion too. Feel free to share your comments below.nfpa 720

Section 9.4.1.1 of the 2012 edition of NFPA 720 requires CO detection to be installed outside of each separate sleeping area in the immediate vicinity of the bedrooms and on every occupiable level of a dwelling unit, including basements, but excluding attics and crawl spaces.

9.4.1.1* Carbon monoxide alarms or detectors shall be installed as follows:

  • Outside of each separate dwelling unit sleeping area in the immediate vicinity of the bedrooms
  • On every occupiable level of a dwelling unit, including basements, excluding attics and crawl spaces
  • Other locations where required by applicable laws, codes, or standards

Since the molecular weight of CO is almost identical to air and it mixes quickly within a building, Section 9.4.1.2 permits each alarm or detector to be located on the wall, ceiling, or other location as specified in the manufacturer’s published instructions.

9.4.1.2 Each alarm or detector shall be located on the wall, ceiling, or other location as specified in the manufacturer’s published instructions that accompany the unit.

It’s important to point out that NFPA 720 requires the audible alarm notification signal to be at least 75dBA at the pillow in sleeping areas. If the detector is installed outside the sleeping area is unable to produce 75dBA at the pillow, with the door closed, a CO detector or a mini horn should be installed in the sleeping room.

For non sleeping locations in hotels, dormitories and apartment buildings, section 5.8.5.3.1 requires CO detectors to be installed on the ceiling in the same room as permanently installed fuel-burning appliances or centrally located on every habitable level and in every HVAC zone of the building

5.8.5.3.1 Carbon monoxide detectors shall be installed as specified in the manufacturer’s published instructions in accordance with 5.8.5.3.1(1) and 5.8.5.3.1(2), or 5.8.5.3.1(3):

  • *On the ceiling in the same room as permanently installed fuel-burning appliances
  • *Centrally located on every habitable level and in every HVAC zone of the building
  • A performance-based design in accordance with 5.8.5.3.2

The reason NFPA 720 requires CO detectors to be located on the ceiling above permanently installed fuel-burning appliances is because of the buoyancy of the heated combustion gases as compared to normal ambient temperatures.

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.