Choosing School Control Panel Features-Simple as A,B,C by ProQuest

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									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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