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The first example is a single story elementary school. In this example, initiation will be straight-forward with a conventional fire alarm control panel performing most of the high tech work. For other than a one-room school building, a manual fire alarm system is required for Educational (E) occupancies by virtually all building codes.
education Fire&Intrusion FOCUS By Greg Kessinger Choosing School Control Panel Features—Simple as A,B,C A tale of two education installations W ithin our parents’ lifetimes, we’ve ing, a manual fire alarm system is required for moved from fire alarm control panels Educational (E) occupancies by virtually all (FACPs) using simple electrical relays building codes. Like most schools, our building to today’s microprocessor-based units, able to is not equipped with sprinklers, therefore a sin- integrate thousands of inputs. gle smoke detector must be used to protect the To put this all in context, keep in mind that in only fire alarm control unit that is at the heart 1959 the Integrated Circuit (IC) was invented. The of this school’s fire alarm system. The electron- first modern computer was the ENIAC, which ics used in this detector were designed to help weighed 30 tons. The ENIAC had 18,000 vacuum discriminate between spurious false signals and tubes, 70,000 resistors and 10,000 capacitors. All actual smoke. However, the FACP itself will its processing was replaced with one small IC employ its own microprocessor power to per- chip and microprocessors have been evolving form an alarm verification of the alarm signals ever since. Technology has driven our industry from this detector. The FACP may also contain for the last 50 years. Did you realize that the cord- circuitry to keep track of dust/dirt buildup in the less hand tools we use today to install fire alarm smoke detector and send a signal when cleaning systems were invented in 1961? The ubiquitous is needed. Since there is no sleeping allowed in LED was invented in 1962. The first residential schools (not to say it doesn’t happen), there is smoke alarm wasn’t invented until 1969 which no requirement for additional smoke detection was one year before engineers at Corning made in any other rooms or spaces, unless coats are a glass fiber that transmitted light well enough hung in the hallways on hooks. Our school is to be used for communication. The cell phone a new facility and will use metal lockers in the came along in 1973 but the CCD camera wasn’t halls for coat storage. produced until 1980. Wireless networking (Wi-Fi) For notification, the temporal-three signal, wasn’t even available until 2002. using horns will be deployed because the sound Today’s fire alarm control panels use all of from the horns will be different from the bell these technologies. Fire alarm control panels sound traditionally used for classroom changes. commonly send and receive digital signals and Strobes will be installed in the hallways, rest- may be networked using fiber optic cables as rooms, locker rooms, library, gym, cafeteria, office well as copper wiring. For the purposes of this areas and other common use spaces. Strobes article and the focus on the education market, could also be added to supplement the horns in let’s look at the ways we use fire alarm technol- noisy areas like woodwo
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