Saturday, December 17, 2016

Strobes Flash when FACP is Silenced

A lot of end users, AHJs (Authority Having Jurisdiction) and technicians seem to think that the fire alarm strobes are required to continue flashing when the FACP or FACU is silenced.  

Fire Alarm LED Strobe LightsFACT:  There is not and never has been anything in the code that requires this system function.  From what information I have been able to receive, this function crept into the minds of installers and inspectors sometime in the 1980's.  Back during this time, there was a manufacturer of notification devices that had made devices that had the ability to perform this action.  With that said, they pushed the thought into everyone's head that it was a plus to keep the strobes flashing during a FACP or FACU system silence.  They wanted people to notice that they now had the ability to leave the strobes on while firefighters or trained system end-users validated the alarm condition.

This is an argument that comes up less as time moves forward, however, some people are stuck on the ability to have the strobes remain on during a system silence.  Please note that while NOT required by code, this can still be required within a particular building specification or in city ordinances.

The function can be done by most manufactures and is not hard to accomplish but it just does not make sense to have it enabled and that is why you will not find in any code references.  Strobes where brought into the code for ADA adaptability.  With that said, does it make sense to leave the strobes on if you silence the fire alarm?  If you are hearing impaired, you would never know that the fire alarm had been silenced and was being verified.

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Have you freshened up on the newer fire alarm LED strobe technology?