audio visual system


A fire alarm system is a set of electric/electronic devices/equipment working together to detect and alert people through visual and audio appliances when smoke/fire is present. These alarms may be activated from smoke detectors, heat detectors, water flow sensors, which are automatic or from a manual fire alarm pull station.

Design : After the fire protection goals are established usually by referencing the minimum levels of protection mandated by the appropriate model building code, insurance agencies, and other authorities the fire alarm designer undertakes to detail specific components, arrangements, and interfaces necessary to accomplish these goals. Equipment specifically manufactured for these purposes are selected and standardized installation methods are anticipated during the design. In the United States, NFPA 72, The National Fire Alarm Code is an established and widely used installation standard. EN 54 is mandatory standard in the European Union for Fire detection and fire alarm systems. Every product for fire alarm systems must have a CE mark with an EN 54 standard to be delivered and installed in any country of the EU. It is a standard widely used around the world.

Parts : A Honeywell DeltaNet FS90 fire alarm control panel

  • Fire alarm control panel (FACP) AKA fire alarm control unit (FACU); This component, the hub of the system, monitors inputs and system integrity, controls outputs and relays information.
  • Primary power supply:Commonly the non-switched 120 or 240 Volt Alternating Current source supplied from a commercial power utility. In non-residential applications, a branch circuit is dedicated to the fire alarm system and its constituents. "Dedicated branch circuits" should not be confused with "Individual branch circuits" which supply energy to a single appliance.
  • Secondary (backup) power supplies: This component, commonly consisting of sealed lead-acid storage batteries or other emergency sources including generators, is used to supply energy in the event of a primary power failure.
  • Initiating devices: This component acts as an input to the fire alarm control unit and are either manually or automatically actuated. Examples would be devices pull stations, heat detectors, or smoke detectors. Heat and smoke detectors have different categories of both kinds. Some categories are beam, photoelectrical, aspiration, and duct.

A publicly accessible alarm box on a street in San Francisco

  • Notification appliances : This component uses energy supplied from the fire alarm system or other stored energy source, to inform the proximate persons of the need to take action, usually to evacuate. This is done by means of a flashing light, strobe light, electromechanical horn, "beeper horn", chime, bell, speaker, or a combination of these devices. The System Sensor Spectralert Advance Horn makes a beeping sound and electromechanical sound together.
  • Building safety interfaces : This interface allows the fire alarm system to control aspects of the built environment and to prepare the building for fire, and to control the spread of smoke fumes and fire by influencing air movement, lighting, process control, human transport and exit.

A Honeywell speaker and a Space Age Electronics V33 remote light

  • Notification Appliances utilize audible, visible, tactile, textual or even olfactory stimuli (odorizer) to alert the occupants of the need to evacuate or take action in the event of fire or other emergency. Evacuation signals may consist of simple appliances that transmit uncoded information, coded appliances that transmit a predetermined pattern, and or appliances that transmit audible and visible textual information such as live or pre-recorded instructions, and illuminated message displays.
  • In the United States, fire alarm evacuation signals generally consist of a standardized audible tone, with visual notification in all public and common use areas. Emergency signals are intended to be distinct and understandable to avoid confusion with other signals. Temporal Code 3 is the most common audible in a modern system. It chimes three times at one-second intervals, stops for one second, then repeats. Voice Evacuation is the second most common audible in a modern system. Continuous is not common in a new building or old building with modern system, but is found in lots of schools and older buildings. Other methods include: Audible textual appliances, which are employed as part of a fire alarm system that includes Emergency Voice Alarm Communications (EVAC) capabilities. High reliability speakers are used to notify the occupants of the need for action in connection with a fire or other emergency.
    These speakers are employed in large facilities where general undirected evacuation is considered impracticable or undesirable. The signals from the speakers are used to direct the occupant's response. The system may be controlled from one or more locations within the building known as Fire Wardens Stations, or from a single location designated as the building Fire Command Center.
    Speakers are automatically actuated by the fire alarm system in a fire event, and following a pre-alert tone, selected groups of speakers may transmit one or more prerecorded messages directing the occupants to safety. These messages may be repeated in one or more languages. Trained personnel activating and speaking into a dedicated microphone can suppress the replay of automated messages in order to initiate or relay real time voice instructions.

Emergency voice alarm system

  • Some fire alarm systems utilize emergency voice alarm communication systems (EVACS) to provide pre-recorded and manual voice messages. Voice Alarm systems are typically used in high-rise buildings, arenas and other large "defend-in-place" occupancies such as Hospitals and Detention facilities where total evacuation is difficult to achieve
  • Voice-based systems provide response personnel with the ability to conduct orderly evacuation and notify building occupants of changing event circumstances
  • In high rise buildings, different evacuation messages may be played to each floor, depending on the location of the fire. The floor the fire is on along with ones above it may be told to evacuate while floors much lower may simply be asked to stand by.

Mass notification systems :

  • New codes and standards introduced around 2010 especially the new UL Standard 2572, the U.S. Department of Defence's UFC 4-021-01 Design and O&M Mass Notification Systems, and NFPA 72 2010 edition Chapter 24 have led Fire Alarm System Manufacturers to expand their systems voice evacuation capabilities to support new requirements for mass notification including support for multiple types of emergency messaging (i.e. inclement weather emergency, security alerts, amber alerts). The major requirements of a mass notification system are to provided prioritized messaging according to the local facilities emergency response plan. The emergency response team must define the priority of potential emergency events at site and the fire alarm system must be able to support the promotion and demotion of notifications based on this emergency response plan. Emergency Communication System's also have requirements for visible notification in coordination with any audible notification activities to meet requirements of theAmerican's with Disabilities Act. Recently many manufacturer's have made efforts to certify their equipment to meet these new and emerging standards. Mass Notification System Categories include the following:
    i. Tier 1 Systems are In-Building and provide the highest level of survivability
    ii. Tier 2 Systems are Out of the Building and provide the middle level of survivability
    iii. Tier 3 Systems are "At Your Side" and provide the lowest level of survivability
    Mass notification systems often extend the notification appliances of a standard fire alarm system to include PC based workstations, text based digital signage, and a variety of remote notification options including email, text message, rss feed, or IVR based telephone text-to-speech messaging.


    An important consideration when designing fire alarms is that of individual zones Specifically:
  • A single zone should not exceed 2,000m² in floor space.
  • Where addressable systems are in place, two faults should not remove protection from an area greater than 10,000m².
  • A building may be viewed as a single zone if the floor space is less than 300m².
  • Where the floor space exceeds 300m² then all zones should be restricted to a single floor level.
  • Stairwells, lift shafts or other vertical shafts (non stop risers) within a single fire compartment should be considered as one or more separate zones.
  • The maximum distance traveled within a zone to locate the fire should not exceed 60m.

Fire Detection & Alarm System

Intelligent Fire Alarm Control Panels for Life
 Instead of reporting alarms by general location or zones, Johnson Controls Intelligent Fire Alarm Controllers (IFC) can zero in on each device and identify its specific location and status, saving time and confusion in an emergency. As your business needs change, the modular design of our controllers lets you network additional Fire Alarm Control panels or add new devices as your facility grows. This flexibility means substantial cost savings in your investment. Johnson Controls offers intelligent addressable systems ranging from small single alarm panel systems to complete, networkable solutions for large-scale applications. Please see brochures to the right of this page for more detailed information. (note: name those brochures by using the complete keyword “fire alarm control panel” 

Early Warning Fire and Smoke Detection 
 The IFV-1000 is a fire safety product that integrates your digital video analytics system with your existing Video surveillance infrastructure. This standalone, secondary monitoring system can detect and verify fires in your facilities earlier than conventional fire and flame detectors and systems. It’s ideal for any enterprise that has critical assets, large spaces, or remote sites where early warning fire and smoke detection are critical. 

Intelligent Fire Integrator 
 The IFI is a single point of control for your fire and life safety systems. This integrated facilities monitoring network links your IFC series fire alarm system to other 3rd party systems. From a single workstation, your facility manager can view and manage diverse systems from different manufacturers using an intuitive graphical user interface. 

Intelligent Fire Annunciator (IFA-1000)
 The IFA 1000 is an interactive video display system that allows firefighters and other emergency responders to quickly and accurately access potentially life-saving information from a building lobby. Designed using input from senior level professional firefighters, the IFA 1000 interface is intuitive to use and requires no special training.



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