Winter 2011 - System Sensor

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                                                        WINTER 2011
Breathe easy.
FAAST protects restricted-access environments.
The FAAST Fire Alarm Aspiration Sensing Technology® offers the most early and accurate
fire detection available. And its ability to be mounted outside the protected space while
sampling air through nearly invisible, tamper-resistant sampling points makes it an ideal
solution for many restricted-access environments.

             Learn more at
                 EDITOR’S LETTER                                                   By Jackie Lorenty,
                                                                                   Manager of Product Marketing, System Sensor

                 Access Denied: Something Borrowed
                 Many of us can relate to the logic that there’s no                 Borrowing great ideas makes sense. Of
                 sense reinventing the wheel: Why start fire and               course, planners must always keep the unique
                 life safety design from scratch when there are                needs and applicable codes for every installation
                 already so many tried-and-true procedures and                 in mind. OSHA regulations, for instance, allow
                 examples from which to borrow?                                mental institutions to have locked doors blocking
                       This month’s issue discusses how to design              egress routes, which leads to other necessary
                 and install fire and life safety systems for                  design considerations.
                 restricted-access zones, which may have more in                    Challenging the status quo with fresh
                 common with other applications than you think.                approaches and new technologies is what will
                 Prisons, just like hospitals, use a protect-in-place          help all of us excel as we move forward. System
                 strategy, which is based on the notion that it’s              Sensor is committed to building on what works
                 unwise to discharge occupants onto the street                 with product development aimed at bringing even
                 every time a detector sounds. That strategy would             greater ideas to fruition in the future.
                 be intolerable for schools, yet those serving the                  Fill out the enclosed business reply card
                 education market can relate to how prisons must               or go to for more
                 safeguard sprinkler heads and take other                      information.
                 vandal-proofing measures.


 8   Lock-Down
                        4            Finding a Safe Way
                                     Out of Danger
                                                                                                               Case Study

WINTER 2011        Reference Icons             Social Media                        LifeSafety Magazine is provided as a courtesy to our colleagues in the fire
                                                                                   and life safety community. While we make every attempt to ensure the
                                                       Follow us on Twitter:       accuracy of all information contained herein, product specifications and
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                                                                                   Authority Having Jurisdiction. Always follow proper installation and
                                                       Join us on LinkedIn:        maintenance practices, including carefully reading and understanding
                                                       System Sensor               manufacturers’ instructions before attempting to install, operate or maintain
                                                                                   any life safety equipment.

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    Finding a Safe Way
    Out of Danger
    Inmates will abuse any building component within
    reach. So how do you design a system to detect and
    protect while keeping it safe, too?
    Any building environment prone to               highly intuitive, cutting-edge technology             Fire and life safety within
    vandalism requires special fire and life        in compliance with local regulations and        controlled-access institutions can be
    safety systems design considerations.           applicable standards.                           achieved through the use of early
    In the case of prisons and correctional                                                         warning smoke detection, automatic
    facilities, fire and life safety response       Designing for High Security                     sprinklers, compartmentalization,
    planning differs from other high-abuse                                                          established fire zones and a relocation
    environments because the majority of            Fire protection designs for a prison            plan. Considering the small space and
    the occupants are behind locked doors.          follow strict guidelines that are spelled       restricted means of egress, early
    This poses unique challenges in terms           out in NFPA and local building codes.           detection and response are critical.
    of fire safety and may be the most              NFPA 101®: Life Safety Code®, requires                Prisons have the reputation for
    difficult to protect from fire, in part         new jails to be constructed of limited- or      being the worst abusers of fire
    because the cardinal rule of immediate          non-combustible materials. Automatic            protection systems. Finding a balance
    evacuation does not apply.                      fire sprinkler and detection systems are        between effective smoke detection –
           There are many different functional      mandated to be present throughout.              while avoiding nuisance alarms – and
    buildings, or sections of buildings, in a       When dealing with potentially hostile           tamper resistance often leads to
    prison, including workshops, laundries,         facility types, NFPA 101 also requires a        installation of detectors behind
    stores, classrooms, athletic facilities,        manual, automatic or combination                ventilation grilles, outside cells or in
    religious facilities, administrative offices,   manual/automatic fire-alarm system to           cross-listed cages. This makes
    medical units and the house-blocks.             be installed.                                   maintenance, testing and inspections
    Special consideration is needed in the                In addition, the Federal Bureau           cumbersome. Early warning is
    cell blocks, and potentially the medical        of Prisons has a set of fire protection         imperative for controlled response and
    unit, where prisoners are locked into           guidelines for federally controlled             evacuation before reaching dangerous
    their accommodations.                           correctional facilities. The guidelines are     levels of carbon monoxide, carbon
           Similar to public hospitals, prisons     focused on providing life safety for the        dioxide and temperature.
    and mental institutions adhere to a             inmates while emphasizing the need to
    “protect-in-place” strategy, opting to          minimize fire hazards as well as to                   Viability of Spot Detection
    relocate occupants from the area of fire        remove the opportunity for vandalism in
    origin to a secure area within the facility.    the form of arson. Smoke control often          Typically, photoelectric and ionization
    Yet, to be effective, fire and life safety      plays a key part of the design and fire         detectors are used to passively detect
    systems in these sites must incorporate         engineering approach.                           smoke. These addressable, early

                                                                                                                          (continued on page 6)

4                                                                                                 LifeSafety Magazine WINTER 2011 System Sensor

    Access Denied
    warning smoke detectors, as well as heat                Aspiration: High Sensitivity          differences in air quality, humidity,
    detectors, can be an option for protecting a            and Security                          temperature and other factors.
    prison if they are tamper resistant and are
    strategically placed to avoid vandalism.       Aspiration detection systems, which                  Sprinkler Considerations
         Not only do the devices need to be        are capable of detecting byproducts of
    out of the physical reach of inmates who       combustion in concentrations as low as         Fire sprinkler systems are yet another
    could damage or disable them; they must        0.00046% obscuration per foot, offer           component of the fire and life safety
    also be out of the range of other              advanced and Very Early Warning Fire           system in prisons. Many designs are
    destructive sources, such as water that        Detection for specialized applications,        adjusted to minimize vandalism to the
    inmates could throw on the devices.            as well as for sites requiring more careful    sprinkler heads. Because the sprinkler
    Therfore, placement and installation can       consideration.                                 heads are an easy target, especially for
    be just as important as the type of                 Because aspiration systems use            bored inmates or institutionalized patients,
    detection chosen.                              a series of pipes with pinpoint holes to       pre-action fire sprinkler systems with
         Another viable solution is intelligent    continuously sample the air for trace          pop-out designs are widely used.
    Very Early Warning Fire Detection spot         amounts of smoke, these detectors are                An electronic valve controlled by the
    detectors, which are similar to traditional    well suited for prisons and other vandal-      heat or smoke detection unit in pre-action
    detectors except that they employ a more       prone environments. The pipes can be           fire sprinkler systems holds back water.
                                                                                                  Individual sprinkler heads open to release
                                                                                                  water onto the areas where it is most
[The Federal Bureau of Prisons] guidelines are focused on                                         needed and concentrate the flow of water
providing life safety for the inmates while emphasizing the                                       directly onto the fire.
need to minimize fire hazards as well as to remove the                                                  Pre-action systems normally have
                                                                                                  only pressurized air in the pipe; merely
opportunity for vandalism in the form of arson.                                                   releasing the air pressure will not allow
                                                                                                  water into the pipe. The pre-action valve is
    advanced detection method. For                 run through the ceilings or other building     controlled by a releasing panel, which can
    example, laser-based smoke detectors           components, well out of the reach of           be configured to release water after
    are up to 100 times more sensitive to          prying hands. Plus, any portion of the         receiving one or multiple signals.
    smoke than standard addressable or             piping projecting through to the protected           The fire and life safety system design
    conventional smoke detectors. They are         rooms is so minimal that it can even be        for prison and correctional facilities takes
    designed to respond to incipient fire          difficult to see. Most importantly,            on elements that challenge current
    conditions as low as 0.02% obscuration         aspiration detection provides enough time      detection technology. The high potential
    per foot to provide valuable time for          for personnel to plan or conduct a             for vandalism and suicide attempts adds
    personnel to investigate the affected area     controlled response, whether it’s to           equipment considerations that can be
    and to take appropriate action.                suppress the smoke source or to                easily overlooked by those unfamiliar with
          Because intelligent laser smoke          evacuate a portion of the facility, which is   this environment. Understanding the
    detectors are individually addressable,        important for protecting lives while           features, listings and approvals for the
    they are able to send information to the       maintaining security.                          devices is always a primary element of a
    central control station, thereby pinpointing         Aspiration detection can be installed    system design.
    the exact location of the smoke. This can      in various areas of a facility and can be            Systems for prisons have unique
    be key to providing the protect-in-place       programmed at different sensitivity            considerations and elements outside of
    strategy in that officials can immediately     ranges. In a prison, range adjustment          the typical standards and building codes.
    identify the problem area and take action,     enables aspiration systems to work just as     Care must be taken to ensure all aspects
    including sending someone to investigate       well in machine shops or boiler rooms          of the design have been properly
    the problem and moving occupants to a          within the prison as they do in individual     evaluated to ensure the safest fire and life
    different section of the facility.             cells or common areas, while allowing for      safety system possible.

6                                                                                          LifeSafety Magazine WINTER 2011 System Sensor
OSHA Fire Response                              evacuation procedures and be prepared          remain unlocked and must swing
Regulations for Prisons                         to unlock any doors at a moment’s notice.      outward, hinging on the side.
                                                In these cases, according to OSHA                    Alarms and Detectors: Any fire
Locked Doors: According to OSHA                 regulation 1910.36(d)(3), exit route doors     extinguishers, alarms and detectors all
(Occupational Safety and Health                 may be locked from the inside, given that      undergo regular inspection and testing to
Administration), correctional, mental and       the facility has an escape plan in place.      ensure their proper functioning as
penal facilities have slightly different fire         Means of Egress: OSHA requires           required by OSHA. The precise number of
response regulations than other types of        that all public places and workplaces          fire extinguishers, alarms and detectors
workplaces and public places. OSHA              have a clearly marked, easily navigable        required in a correctional facility varies by
requires that all buildings have exit routes    means of egress, or exit route, in case of     state and even locally, according to which
unblocked by any locked doors or other          an emergency such as a fire. This means        version of the National Fire Protection
obstructions to a fast and efficient exit. In   of egress must meet all of the criteria for    Association code an area uses as its
the case of mental, penal or correctional       regular workplaces. Locked, guarded            standard. As part of emergency readiness
facilities, locked doors may block exit         doors are permissible in correctional          training, all guard personnel must be
routes as long as supervisory personnel         facilities, however. Otherwise, the facility   trained and capable of using fire
are continuously posted along the exit          must have at least two exit routes and as      extinguishers as needed.
routes, as necessary, to allow a fast exit      many additional routes as necessary to               For more information, fill out the
response in case of emergency. Guard            allow full evacuation in a timely manner.      enclosed business reply card or go to
personnel must be trained in emergency          The main exit door of the exit route must

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        ASK THE EXPERT By Jim Mickowski

        Lock-Down Design
        in High-Risk Zones
                             Jim Mickowski, an engineer with PSJ Engineering, has more than 25 years of experience
                             in the design and installation of fire suppression systems. His experience ranges from
        working on stadiums, museums and office buildings to high-security, high-risk areas in correctional facilities
        and nuclear facilities where there is “no access allowed.”

        Can you tell us about your                 What types of fire safety systems             How do you design for an area
        company?                                   and products do you                           that is to remain off-limits to
                                                   recommend for these types of                  most?
        PSJ Engineering is a mechanical            projects?
        engineering company specializing in                                                      Typically, no-access areas are small
        the design of fire protection building     We recommend single and double                areas in relationship to the whole
        systems as well as heating, ventilating,   interlock pre-action systems, because         project. Those areas should not affect
        air conditioning and plumbing. We have     they have many benefits. They provide         the overall impact of construction cost.
        been designing fire protection systems     early warning. They are relatively low        We design each area as a pod. In that
        for 25 years. PSJ is headquartered in      cost, simple to install, easy to operate      pod, we design the system so there has
        Milwaukee with an office in Madison,       and maintain, and you don’t have to           to be a smoke or heat detector
        Wisconsin. We’ve been fortunate to         consider room construction or HVAC, as        activated before the water even enters
        have a wide gamut of projects from         is the case when using a clean agent          the piping. And then you still have the
        stadiums to office buildings. The          system. We’ve had a lot of problems           final safeguard: the sprinkler head. The
        company has completed work for Miller      activating clean agent systems and            water doesn’t discharge until the
        Park (home of the Milwaukee Brewers)       getting them to work correctly. The           sprinkler heads open up. We are trying
        and the Milwaukee Museum.                  envelope that those systems require           to prevent accidental discharge.
                                                   depends on the HVAC and building                  For instance, a penal control room is
        How do you define a no-access-             construction. It’s very difficult to keep     a very small area with numerous cells.
        allowed area?                              the building construction tight enough.       The cells obviously are vandal resistant
                                                   The air has to go somewhere, so the           but are not really high security. A lot of
        We have designed fire protection           HVAC system has to complement a               times, a prisoner will knock off a
        systems for penal and nuclear reactor      clean agent system. It gets a little          sprinkler head and get a discharge of
        control rooms and would consider these     complicated.                                  water. Sure, it’s a pain to fix, but it’s not
        areas high-security, no-access-allowed         A single or double pre-action with        causing any catastrophic damage. The
        areas. You can also classify control       trouble alarms before the water actually      penal control room, however, is the
        rooms and areas that house computer        enters the piping gives maintenance or        no-access area. If the computers or the
        infrastructure, where computers need to    supervisory personnel an opportunity to       security hardware are damaged, you
        be protected from water and vandalism,     investigate and then take appropriate         are talking about infrastructure issues
        as no-access-allowed areas.                action. The best way to minimize impact       that could cost large amounts of money.
                                                   is to provide early warning so people             I think money and cost to repair go
                                                   can investigate and take action.              hand in hand when designing a project

                                                                                                                        (continued on page 10)

    8                                                                                          LifeSafety Magazine WINTER 2011 System Sensor
“Can you imagine if
chaos erupted due to fire,
and someone got into a
penal control room? They
could release the cells
and doors. You need to
protect the electronics
and control mechanisms.”

— Jim Mickowski
  Engineer, PSJ Engineering

       High-Risk Zones
       with no-access-allowed areas. That is           sprinkler systems in computer rooms all        What advice do you have for
       what you are trying to eliminate. You are       the time. The key in the computer room is      others in your field when
       trying to take the maximum safeguards to        to turn the power off before water is          designing a fire safety system for
       protect that equipment. Can you imagine         discharged. Computers can withstand            high-security/no-access-allowed
       if chaos erupted due to fire, and someone       getting wet provided the power is not on.      projects?
       got into a penal control room? They could       It’s when the computer power is on and
       release the cells and doors. You need to        the water shorts them out that you have a      The fire protection engineer must look at it
       protect the electronics and control             problem. We use a combination of water         from the perspective of the person who
       mechanisms. Treating each of those              flow switches that are in the piping; when     has to maintain it. A sophisticated system
       areas as pods helps secure that area and        the water comes into the piping, it turns      is not good if there is no one who knows
       minimize cost in the event of a fire.           off all power to the computers. And don’t      how to maintain it. Meet the user to verify
                                                       forget the battery backup.                     that he understands the system and see if
       So why wouldn’t you use an                                                                     he has any comments. It has been our
       aspiration system in these areas                What specifics must you consider               experience that if the user supports the
       instead?                                        when designing fire suppression                design, you have a happy client. Have a
                                                       systems for no-access-areas?                   colleague look at the design with a fresh
       It’s not that we wouldn’t use it. We just                                                      set of eyes and get his comments. The
       prefer wet suppression. Aspiration is also      In today’s economy, you want to open it        building manager should be able to
       a simple system; but it is smoke detection,     up for every qualified individual to be able   contract any fire protection contractor to
       not fire suppression. It certainly has its      to maintain the system you are designing.      maintain the system if they cannot do the
                                                                                                      maintenance themselves. Keep these
     “Incipient fire detection, if a project can afford                                               questions in mind:

      it, is one of the nicest luxuries any owner can                                                 •	 Will maintenance personnel
      afford. The false alarms caused by dust are                                                        understand the way it works?
                                                                                                      •	 Is it simple enough?
      a thing of the past.”                                                                           •	 Is there something that I can do to help
                                             — Jim Mickowski, Engineer, PSJ Engineering                  the maintenance person understand?
                                                                                                      •	 Does your client want to subcontract
       place. Incipient fire detection, if a project   It only benefits the owner’s maintenance          the maintenance?
       can afford it, is one of the nicest luxuries    budget. If you have a highly specialized       •	 Will all fire protection contractors have
       any owner can afford. The false alarms          system that only the factory can maintain,        the ability to maintain the system?
       caused by dust are a thing of the past.         it can drive up costs. We are firm
                                                       believers in keeping it simple; wet            For more information, fill out the
       What types of challenges do you                 suppression is a simple system. It’s           enclosed business reply card or go
       have with no-access-allowed                     important for the maintenance people to        to
       areas?                                          understand the system and the operation
                                                       of it. Typically, the maintenance staff has
       There is always the challenge to protect        not been trained on high-tech fire
       the computers. Computers should not be          protection systems, so we try to make
       subject to water exposure. We opt to            sure we design the simplest system that
       design water suppression systems in a           will perform in accordance with the user’s
       computer room all the time – and we put         requirements.

10                                                                                            LifeSafety Magazine WINTER 2011 System Sensor

If you need heat detection,                            System Sensor has a fixed temperature,
rate-of-rise, or combination heat detector for your application.

To learn more, visit

     Renovations Respect
     Architectural History
     of Seattle Schools
                                    As one of   Chief Sealth has undergone periodic        system related to accommodating
                                    Seattle’s   upgrades to its fire and life safety       unblemished ceilings, which in turn
     largest school campuses, Chief Sealth      system prior to this renovation.           created obstacles in installing the
     and its co-located facility Denny          Already equipped with NOTIFIER®            devices,” says Tony Bartling, Project
     International Middle School are            and System Sensor products, the            Manager at Chubb. “The goal was to
     undergoing a complete renovation           newly designed system was required         do as little exposed pipe work as
     and rebuild. Although the changes are      to maintain that standard and reuse as     possible, which caused some
     happening simultaneously, the project      much as possible.                          additional challenges in determining
     is split into building phases: Phase           Because of its specific experience     the locations of the smoke detectors
     One is the renovation of Chief Sealth,     with NOTIFIER and System Sensor            and of the audible visible devices.”
     and Phase Two is the rebuild of Denny      devices, Chubb Fire & Security, a UTC          Overall, detectors and notification
     with a light-filled galleria joining the   Fire & Security Company, worked with       devices were placed throughout the
     two campuses.                              Tres West Engineers of Tacoma,             campus in accordance with the
         Renovation of the 230,000-square-      Wash., to design and manage the            International Fire Code. But that didn’t
     foot Chief Sealth was completed with       installation of the fire and life safety   always prove to be easy. “One of the
                                                                                           challenges in the building was the
 “System Sensor devices are working                                                        number of beams that crossed
                                                                                           corridors.” says Dennis Lane, Sales
 together in a networked fire alarm situation,                                             Engineer at Chubb.
 thereby providing increased fire protection                                                   The driving factor was to provide a
 for one of the crown jewels of the Seattle                                                code-compliant system. “The nice
                                                                                           part about the current fire alarm
 school district.”                                                                         system is it is easily expandable to
                                          — Dennis Lane, Sales Engineer at Chubb           accommodate additional notification
                                                                                           devices or the smoke detectors,
     an emphasis on life safety issues          system for the school renovation.
                                                                                           beam detectors, heat detectors, what
     and energy and environmental               Chubb is a fully licensed fire, life
                                                                                           have you. The device compatibility
     conservation, while revitalizing the       safety and security contractor with
                                                                                           and expansion becomes a non-
     school’s appearance inside and out.        expertise at retrofitting properties to
                                                                                           issue,” says Bartling.
     The objective was to create a superior     current safety standards.
                                                                                               “System Sensor devices are
     educational environment, including             Because Chief Sealth has serviced
                                                                                           working together in a networked fire
     classrooms with technology                 the community since its opening in
                                                                                           alarm situation, thereby providing
     upgrades, new foreign language             1957, the school district was concerned
                                                                                           increased fire protection for one of the
     classrooms, a renovated auditorium         about maintaining its heritage and
                                                                                           crown jewels of the Seattle school
     and full Americans with Disabilities       existing architecture, including its
                                                                                           district,” says Lane.
     Act accessibility.                         beautiful, arched ceilings. This was one
                                                                                               For more information, fill out the
        Catering to roughly 1,000 students,     of the factors that played into the fire
                                                                                           enclosed business reply card or go
     who comprise one of the most               and life safety system design.
     ethnically and culturally diverse              “There were some complications in
     student bodies in Washington state,        the actual design of the fire alarm

12                                                                                         LifeSafety Magazine WINTER 2011 System Sensor
                                                                           Chief Sealth
                                                                           Seattle, Washington
                                                                           Education Facilities

                                                                           Horn Strobes

                                                                           Intelligent Detectors

                                                                           Strobe Devices

                                                                           Intelligent Duct

*This is a representative image, not the actual Chief Sealth facilities.
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     5151 Conventional Heat Detector

     A conventional, 2-wire device, the 5151 is     properties in a newer, more modern
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                                                                                                       Model #      Activation Type
                                                                                                        5601P       Fixed Temp./ROR
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14                                                                                           LifeSafety Magazine WINTER 2011 System Sensor

State and Municipal Code Adoption Update
              The New Mexico Construction     smoke detectors from being installed as        TRAINING AND SEMINARS
              Industries Division (CID) has   a primary form of smoke protection.
adopted the 2009 International Residential
Code (IRC) without amendments to the CO
                                                  The state of Oklahoma has required
                                              CO detection to be installed in child
                                                                                             Upcoming Events
and smoke detection sections. That means      day-care occupancies since 2000. In July,
CO detection is required to be installed in   the Uniform Building Code Commission
newly constructed one- and two-family         officially adopted the 2009 IRC with           To view the current seminar schedule,
dwellings and townhouses not more than        modifications. The modifications are:          visit
three stories that contain a fuel-fire
appliance or an attached garage. The CO       •	 CO detection is not required within the     Webinars
alarms shall be installed outside of each        dwelling unit if the attached garage has
                                                                                             To view the current webinar schedule,
separate sleeping area in the immediate          a sealed door between the residence
                                                                                             go to
vicinity of the bedrooms. In addition, the       and the garage and no fuel-burning
West Virginia State Fire Commission has          appliances are in the residence.
adopted the 2009 IRC without amendments
                                                                                             Trade Shows 2012
                                              •	 The household fire alarm system
to the smoke detection section.                  requirements in R313.2 and R313.2.1         Association of Heating &
    With New Mexico and West Virginia            were moved from the body of the code        Refrigeration Expo
adopting the 2009 IRC, household fire            to the annex.                               January 23-25
alarm systems using system-connected                                                         Chicago, IL
smoke detectors will be permitted to be          In Massachusetts, the Board of Fire
installed as a primary form of smoke          Prevention Regulations (BFPR) has              ISC West Expo
protection if the system is owned by the      suspended all current fire code (527 CMR)      March 27-29
homeowner as a permanent fixture and          committee meetings, including 527 CMR          Las Vegas, NV
installed in accordance with NFPA 72®. In     31, because it is in the process of adopting
the previous edition (2006) of the IRC, a     NFPA 1, Fire Code, for the next edition of     National Fire Sprinkler Association
provision prohibited system-connected         the state fire code.                           June 11-13
                                                                                             Las Vegas, NV

                                                                                             Electronic Security Expo
SYSTEM SENSOR ONLINE                                                                         June 25-29
                                                                                             Nashville, TN
System Sensor Launches New Emergency
Communications Systems (ECS) Page
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or design tools for your emergency            emergency communications systems.
communications or mass notification                 In addition, you’ll find training and
system (MNS) project? The new System          white papers on ECS-related subjects,
Sensor ECS landing page collects all this     including codes and standards and
information and more on a single page. If     meeting intelligibility requirements for
you go to, you           voice evacuation systems. Finally, you’ll
can access information on the full line of    find information on new software tools that
SpectrAlert® Advance ECS and MNS              can help you design intelligible voice
devices and accessories, including the        evacuation systems for your ECS projects.

LifeSafety Magazine WINTER 2011 System Sensor                                                                                        15
Dual it yourself.
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emergency communication applications by combining the functions
of two to three devices on a single mounting plate and back box.

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