Why is Low Frequency So Important? (Part 1 of 4)

We’ve been trained to evacuate a building when the alarm, horns, and strobes sound during a fire event. Ideally you would respond ahearing-restoreds soon as you hear the audible device, but what happens if you’re sleeping and unable to react right away? What if you’re hard-of-hearing?

Recent studies conducted by the NFPA 72 committee and the FPRF found that many high-risk groups exhibited a delayed response when audible devices went into alarm. Some high-risk groups also had a delayed response to the usual 3 Kilo-hertz tone found in many smoke alarms and audible devices. In some cases, high-risk groups, such as individuals with mild to severe hearing loss or those under the influence of sleeping aids or alcohol, had a delayed response with the higher frequency tones.

Research shows that audible devices with a lower frequency, 520 Hz, were more effective at waking impaired individuals. These impaired individuals are the aforementioned people with mild to severe hearing loss or those under the influence of sleeping aids or alcohol. Increasing the notification effectiveness in this application increases the chances of prompt evacuation during an emergency.

To learn more about the benefit of the low frequency sounders and hear the tone, visit the System Sensor Low Frequency webpage.

Be sure to check back on the Fire-Lite Blog for the next part of this series!


About the Author
Rebecca Peterson is a Sr. Product Marketing Manager for the AV business unit of System Sensor. Rebecca has been with System Sensor for 13 years and her primary focus on new product development and voice of the customer on products that customers need and want.

What Should You Know About Low Frequency?

There has been quite the buzz in the fire and life safety industry regarding low frequency and what it really means. Fire alarm and building codes and standards have changed in response to studies showing that low frequency audible devices are more effective in waking individuals in sleeping areas. The new sleeping space requirements require the alarm tone of audible appliances to be of a square wave tone centered around 520Hz. Let’s take a brief look at the codes, adoption, and solutions.

The significant changes in the sleeping space requirements occurred within NFPA 72 2010 edition and 2013 edition. Here are the NFPA 72 chapters impacted and placement requirements:

• Chapter 18 (Protected Premise Fire Alarm Systems) – Requires low frequency notification in every sleeping space
• Chapter 24 (Emergency Communication Systems) – Required for voice systems in sleeping spaces
• Chapter 29 (Household Fire Alarm Systems) – Required only in sleeping spaces for those classified as having mild-to-severe hearing loss, where governed by law or code, or volunteered to provide a means for such individuals.

The 2012 editions of the International Building Code (IBC) and International Fire Code (IFC) indirectly reference the 2010 or 2013 editions of NFPA 72, which requires a low frequency tone in certain newly constructed Group-R occupancies. Many jurisdictions in the U.S have adopted IBC and IFC 2012. These are the applications that may be impacted:

• Transient Lodging Spaces – Hotels/Motels
• College and University Dormitories
• Assisted Living Facilities
• Apartments and Condominiums

Fire-Lite Alarms offers a comprehensive product line-up that helps you meet the low frequency requirements in the aforementioned applications:
SpectrAlert Advance Low Frequency Sounders and Sounder Strobes
Intelligent Sounder Base with Low Frequency Capability
Emergency Command Center (ECC) Compatibility with System Sensor SpectrAlert Speakers for 520Hz

Keep Fire-Lite Alarms in mind as you design your next project with Low Frequency requirements. Visit our website for more information!

About the Author
Richard Conner is the Director of Marketing for 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.

Get Started with a Site Survey for SWIFT Wireless!

Fire-Lite Alarms’ SWIFT wireless fire detection system detects fire, just like their wired counterparts, while providing installation flexibility in a wireless format. Before you get started, a site survey is recommended to assess and qualify the site prior to installing a SWIFT wireless fire detection system.

The site survey consists of two tests:
Link Quality Test
A link quality test is a quick and repeatable test that provides immediate feedback on device connectivity. The link quality test sends data from one device to another to test for data loss and measure the signal strength.

RF Scan Test
A Radio Frequency scan test is conducted to assess and measure the background noise and interference from other wireless systems if any, in the site. The RF Scan test can be conducted individually or following the link quality test.

After both tests are completed, the results of the site survey can be also obtained using SWIFT Tools. The information provided by SWIFT Tools is used for site qualification, maximum device spacing identification, and configuring the wireless mesh network. This helps to ensure the reliability and performance of the wireless network in the wireless fire alarm system.

How can you get started?
To do a simple wireless fire detection system site survey, you just need SWIFT wireless smoke detectors. If you would like to see the detailed results of the site survey, you also need the W-USB and SWIFT Tools.

Fire-Lite Alarms is here to help you in your endeavor to protect building occupants. Fire-Lite Alarms has 60 years in the business, is the leader in non-proprietary, and has great tools to help you learn about the products. Visit our website to learn more about the SWIFT wireless fire detection system. Also, view one of our pre-recorded webinars on SWIFT Wireless Tools & Techniques.


About the Author
Bill Brosig is a Channel Product Manager for Fire-Lite Alarms, Silent Knight and Honeywell Power with more than 25 years in the Life Safety business and a NICET IV certification. Bill focuses on the customer experience surrounding current offerings and new product applications.

SWIFT Wireless Obtains FDNY Approval

Fire-Lite’s new SWIFT Wireless solution now has FDNY approval! This approval will allow you to use SWIFT Wireless in more places and applications.

SWIFT Wireless is ideal for difficult or obtrusive applications where running wire is challenging. Based on a Class-A mesh network, it offers the same reliability that is expected from a commercial fire alarm system. Typical applications for wireless are parking garages, historical buildings, warehouses, and locations with concrete walls. Whether for new installations or retrofits, the fire alarm system can be a combination of wired and the new wireless devices.

The wireless fire detection system is gateway based and connects to the SLC of a Fire-Lite MS-9200UDLS or MS-9600(UD)LS using Lite-Speed protocol. It then communicates over a reliable mesh network to a set of detectors and/or monitor modules. The wireless devices report to the panel in the same manner as their wired counterparts, making it seamless for building owners and first responders.

Learn more about SWIFT Wireless by watching a 3 minute video and by visiting our website.


About the Author
Richard Conner is the Director of Marketing for 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.

Go with the Flow – Benefits of Fire Sprinkler Monitoring

Fire sprinkler systems play a very important role in fire protection for most commercial and residential buildings. Often fire sprinkler systems are used to provide fire protection by releasing water or other fire extinguishing agents to limit the damage to a building and its contents. There are various types of sprinkler systems available depending on the building requirements and the local codes, including wet systems, dry systems, deluge systems, and pre-action systems. It is recommended to first consult with a building owner and the local Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) to find out what level of protection meets the local requirements of the building before selecting a system.

Like any type of system, there are undesirable occurrences which can prevent the system from operating as it was intended to; therefore, proper maintenance and inspection is important. Common failures in the system could be caused by mechanical, electrical, or simply human error. Since sprinkler systems are often mechanical systems only, it can sometimes be very diffWFDN_Lefticult to know if the system has activated somewhere in the building or if it has become inoperable. In response to this, many manufacturers now offer sprinkler system devices that can be fully monitored for alarms, troubles and other events such as pump failures, low pressure events, or even if an unauthorized person happens to tamper with the system. Many of the valves, pumps, and other mechanicals used in the system provide electrical contacts that change state when the system activates or becomes inoperable due to unexpected events. Similar devices such as System Sensors’ WFDN series of water flow detectors offers an adjustable and field replaceable mechanical time delay mechanism to help prevent false alarms due to changes in local water pressure.
Using these types of devices allows fire sprinkler systems to be monitored when connected to a fire alarm panel such as Fire-Lite Alarms’ MS-5UD or communicators such as the 411UDAC.These devices include built-in dialers that can alert an offsite monitoring company if there is a fire or if something unexpectedly changes in the system and it requires service. Monitored systems can also provide local annunciation of an alarm by ringing a bell or even turning on horn strobes when the fire alarm panel receives a signal that there is water flow in the system. It is still important that all sprinkler systems are tested and inspected regularly to NFPA requirements to ensure reliable fire protection for the building owner and its occupants

About the Author
Ken Gentile is a Product Manager for Fire-Lite Alarms and Honeywell Power. Using his more than 15 years of marketing and engineering experience, Ken’s primary focus lies in the development of new products.

Evaluating Wireless Communication Options

In my last blog post, we looked at how Honeywell’s new Smart Wireless Integrated Fire Technology (SWIFT) devices are bringing the reliability and flexibility of wireless technology to the fire alarm market using a wireless mesh network. Today, I want to discuss how such mesh networks stack up against other wireless communication alternatives, namely, point-to-point and point-to-multipoint technologies:

Mesh Technology: Wireless mesh networks allow installers to connect many devices via a network that “blankets” the area—rather than requiring that each device has a direct wireless or wired connection to the termination point.

In a Class A mesh network such as the one used by SWIFT, each smoke detector and monitor module creates its own communication structure. That means communication goes from point A to point B through any number of these devices, creating redundant communication paths. With multiple paths to employ, the system’s reliability is maximized; if one device is lost, the devices will immediately find another path for communication.

Point-to-Point Technology: P2P wireless networks provide a dedicated link between two devices; for example, between two smoke detectors or between a monitor module and the main controlling element of a fire alarm network. P2P technology is highly reliable, but it is also more expensive and more time-intensive to install. Plus, in the event that one device fails, it could affect the entire network.

Point-to-Multipoint: P2MP technology is a bit of a hybrid between mesh and P2P wireless networking. With this type of network, central units connect to multiple “subscriber” units. In order to function, all P2MP networks require that all subscriber units be in range of the central unit. If they are not, additional central repeater units are required. For many installations, this makes P2MP networks impractical—or downright impossible. In addition, the failure of a central unit or repeater could mean failure for multiple subscriber units.

Unlike P2P or P2MP technology, Honeywell’s SWIFT devices feature bi-directional communication for reliable data transmission. We call it a “parent-child” relationship: Every child device has at least two parents to send information through, and every child device may also be a parent to other child devices. That way, inbound and outbound communication can use various paths through the parent and child devices, ensuring that every message is received.

The SWIFT Class A mesh network gives installers the flexibility to extend a fire alarm system quickly and easily. It also benefits the end user by keeping costs low—while providing self-healing capabilities and the highest level of reliability and protection they need.

To find out more about the SWIFT line of wireless devices, click here.

About the Author
Andrew Berezowski is an ACS Engineering Fellow at Honeywell Fire Systems