Wireless technology is not new to the world or even the fire and security industry. Many products are converting to IP based and you also see a myriad of WiFi devices. However, in an industry that is highly regulated, there is always a concern about new technology. Despite the proposed benefits, adoption of new technology is typically slower. It should be comforting to know that products based on new technology still have to meet very stringent requirements due to the nature of its purpose.
The first regulatory approval / standard to look at is Underwriters Laboratories. The standard that is most common for fire and life safety systems is UL 864 (Control Units and Accessories for Fire Alarm Systems). UL 864 covers fire alarm control panels, like the MS-9200UDLS, and various products and accessories. The same UL standard covers the new Fire-Lite SWIFT Wireless gateway and associated products.
There are a series of UL requirements to ensure that the wireless devices meet the same performance criteria as standard wired devices (e.g., the 10 second activation to notification requirement). Although the standard is based on the performance of the devices, the actual tests are conducted with wireless technology in mind. In addition to UL 864, the standard that covers detection is UL 268 (Smoke Detectors for Fire Alarm Systems). UL 268 covers smoke detection, like the SD355, and also covers the performance of the detectors.
Next is National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). NFPA 72 2010 and 2013 cover wireless solutions for fire alarm systems in Chapter 23. Chapter 23.18 in the 2010 edition and Chapter 23.16 in the 2013 edition are titled “Special Requirements for Low-Power Radio (Wireless) Systems”. Chapter 23 covers the listing requirements, power supplies, alarm signals, and more specifically for wireless systems. Is your jurisdiction currently on an earlier version? The 2007 edition of NFPA 72 also includes requirements for wireless fire alarm systems.
The final regulatory approval of interest is the FCC (Federal Communications Commission). The products need to comply with part 15 of the FCC rules, meaning that operation is subject to the following two conditions:
- The device may not cause harmful interference
- The device must accept any interference received, including interference that may cause undesired operation
Since the intended purpose of this type of system is to transmit information wirelessly, special care is taken not to interfere with other systems. In addition, features and functionality are built-in to mitigate the effect of external interference on the system.
So the answer is – Yes, wireless is held to a higher standard and Fire-Lite Alarms is pleased to offer a SWIFT Wireless solution that meets it. Check out our SWIFT Wireless solution on www.firelite.com.
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.