New Fire and Life-Safety Products Pros Should Check Out
SSI picks notable fire and life-safety products from this summer’s NFPA Expo and delves into recent code changes.
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In June, thousands of fire and life-safety pros gathered in Boston for the 2017 NFPA Conference & Expo. There were more than 350 exhibitors spread out over the 262,000 square feet of expo space.
Companies showed off everything from fire detection and sprinkler systems, to explosion vents and protective gear.
The expo was also packed with the latest in visual and audible alert devices. Let’s dive into some of more notable developments and offerings.
Visual & Audible Alert Devices
The Signal Source, an independent whole-sale distributor of high performance audible and visual signals for commercial, industrial, marine, onshore and offshore hazardous locations, had a large selection of devices by E2S on display.
The company’s new D2xC2LD2 is a synchronized alarm horn sounder and LED beacon for hazardous locations. The horn features a sound output of up to 116dB, 64 alarm tone frequencies and four remotely selectable stages/channels.
It can also provide safe signaling for multiple scenarios from one device. The integrated LED beacon has an effective candela of 180cd. The Johnson Controls Int’l (JCI) booth showcased its focus on addressable technology.
Simplex, now a JCI company, highlighted its TrueAlert ES solution. The solution is a family of intelligent, addressable notification appliances, featuring self-testing technology.
“What we’ve done over the past couple of years is we’ve taken addressable technology and we brought it to notification,” says Senior Commercialization Manager Peter Ryan, Tyco Fire Protection Products. “So now each of the devices has its own address so they are individually supervised by the panel.”
Since each device has its own address, they are easy to individually test and diagnose. Ryan compares the old style, or conventional notification, to lights in a house — the only way to find out which are broken is to turn them on from a light switch.
“We trigger them from the panel and then they beep and flash and have sensors in them that tell you when they beep and flash. So think about it as instead of having your eye and ear of a technician in front of the appliance, it’s like the techs are built into the appliance. So you can test every appliance on the network within seconds without ever having to go to it.”
This makes the TrueAlert ES appliances well suited for facilities like hospitals and hotels — locations where you might want to only test a single room and not disrupt the rest of the building.
Simplex has also released addressable speakers that can self-test as well and have the ability to be separately turned on and off for audio messaging.
“What you can do now is have configurable alarms. Let’s say you have an apartment in a high-rise, if there’s a fire in your apartment, first we’re going to tell you there’s something going on in your apartment — you don’t want to turn all the things on the floor on. Then if it gets bigger, you do the floor above, the floor below, so the groups are configurable. So I can light up different groups to do things as I need. It’s all software now,” explains Ryan.
Equipment can be purchased through authorized Simplex distributors.
Eaton’s booth was showcasing the company’s soon-to-be-launched Wheelock Exceder LED3. The device is backwards compatible with company’s Xenon devices thanks to its 20-millisecond flash pulsation.
Eaton was also demonstrating its WAVES mass notification system. The system features a user-friendly interface that lets the user send one-click or two-click alerts to a designated area on an interactive map. The audio and visual messages are threat-specific, as well as specific to the area affected.
Honeywell displayed its new L-Series of fire and life-safety notification devices from System Sensor, which were designed based on feedback received by the company.
“We did a lot of customer research with our distributors, engineers and end users and reduced their current draw across the board so you can use a lot more devices than previously,” says Christa Poss, senior manager of product marketing, Honeywell Fire Safety Americas.
“We’ve also redesigned them so they are a lot smaller. We’ve had a lot of feedback from architects that they don’t even want to see these things in buildings anymore, so we made them as small as possible.”
Also on display was the integration of Honeywell’s three fire brands — Notifier, Silent Knight and Gamewell-FCI, with the Pro-Watch security management system.
The integration combines access control, fire and more in one connected building solution. A notable feature of this integration is it gives the end user the ability to change the status color of a card reader in the event of an emergency.
For example, in the event of an active shooter, the user can guide civilians through a designated path by locking down certain access points.
“Sometimes when you have physical security and life-safety systems, using your card to navigate the building goes out the window when there’s an urgent need to get out,” says Greg Tomasko, applications engineer, Honeywell Security and Fire. “But there may be areas of the building that are more dangerous to enter during an emergency versus less dangerous. So the user can block out certain areas and say, ‘You should not come in here, you can come out through a certain door but you can’t come in.’ Follow the green lights to safety right? We can create that physically as a visual response even with the access control.”
Codes Consider Pulsation, Drones
A major change was recently instituted to NFPA 72 that had a major effect on many of the devices shown at this year’s expo, including the aforementioned E2S D2x-C2LD2 and Wheelock Exceder LED3.
Chapter 220.127.116.11 states, “The maximum light pulse duration shall be 20 milliseconds with a maximum duty cycle of 40 percent.” The previous duration was 200 milli-seconds.
There is also an exception to this rule that states, “Lights used to meet the requirements of 18.104.22.168 (Spacing in Corridors) shall be permitted to be listed and labeled to have pulse durations up to 100 milliseconds.”
The reasoning behind the change stemmed from indirect viewing of a strobe, particularly in well-lit areas. It should also be noted the NFPA is currently developing a new standard, NFPA 2400, for Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) Used for Public Safety Operations.
The standard is being developed by representatives from various public safety departments with unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), including fire service, law enforcement and emergency medical services.
The NFPA plans to have an initial draft for public view in December of this year. The organization promoted awareness of the new standard by setting up a drone cage in the middle of its booth with a member of its technical standards committee available to discuss the applications of use and requirements in implementing UAS equipment within the U.S. National Airspace System.
As the amount of applications for drones increases, it will be interesting to see what codes are implemented.
Check out more images from the show in the slideshow above!
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