07 April 2015
False and unwanted fire alarms are one of the big issues in fire safety and building management today. To tackle the issue of false alarms on any site, global fire systems business Advanced has developed AlarmCalm, a complete false alarm management (FAM) solution.
The hotel industry has very unique needs when it comes to false alarm management and Advanced has recently released a ‘false alarm focus document’ for hotels that shows the power of AlarmCalm in scenarios commonly experienced by the hotel operators, managers and fire professionals.
The document covers false alarm management in bedrooms, conferencing, kitchen and dining areas and reception, common areas and corridors. It also covers the role trained staff can play in reducing false alarms.
AlarmCalm is a total package and features enhanced firmware, comprehensive configuration software for Advanced’s fire systems and new intelligent alarm acknowledgement devices called AlarmCalm Buttons. It provides total, easily-managed control over alarm verification periods and investigation delays to outputs.
AlarmCalm allows a hotel to be divided into false alarm management zones called Building Areas (up to 200 per panel or 40,000 per network). These are virtual areas that can be independent of fire zones and can share grouped or have individual FAM settings.
There is no limit to the number of points in a Building Area and every device in the area can be configured precisely. Complicated cause-and-effect is also easily programmed.
Alarm verification is one of the key areas of FAM and AlarmCalm facilitates this in a number of ways. Verification settings for a site can be applied incredibly quickly by assigning all common areas (such as corridors, stairwells and reception areas) with group settings, while allowing specific areas (such as bedrooms or meeting rooms) to have individual settings. Verification can be set to on or off, with different settings for day/night operation.
Verification can be set quickly according to device type in each Building Area. Heat, smoke, multi-sensors and other inputs (such as call points or any input modules) can be used as verification inputs and set by device type or individually per point.
Once a signal is detected, AlarmCalm starts a programmable ‘stage one’ verification time. At the end of this time, if the signal is still present the system will go into full alarm.
During this time the signal can be confirmed by mode or sensitivity change, for example an optical heat detector switching to heat to verify the signal, or by coincidence detection. If the signal clears the system resets to normal.
Verification can occur simultaneously in multiple areas and users can set the maximum number of Building Areas in verification at any one time before a full fire condition is indicated.
Within the accommodation area of a hotel, for example, the maximum number of Building Areas in alarm could be set to two. This means that if more than two bedrooms or other areas are in verification, a full evacuation will be sounded.
If any common area (such as corridor) where no verification is allowed by standards goes into alarm, a full evacuation will also automatically be sounded.
The role of trained hotel staff in verifying and reducing false alarms
There is growing awareness of the role that staff can play in helping to reduce unwanted false alarms.
Advanced’s new intelligent, loop-powered Alarm Acknowledgement device, the AlarmCalm Button, can be used to manually verify if an alarm signal is false, for example from smoke as a result of cooking, or heat in the hotel kitchen.
By pressing the AlarmCalm Button, a staff member initiates a ‘second stage’ verification time and (optionally), the local sounder can be silenced. If after the second stage time the signal has cleared, the system will reset to normal conditions, if the signal in the detector is still present, a full fire condition will be signalled.
During the second stage period, a fire condition is also indicated if the alarm is confirmed by another method such as sensitivity change or second detector.
AlarmCalm Buttons can only extend verification time once (before a system reset). If a real fire ensues, a full fire condition will be signalled.
Advanced believes AlarmCalm is the easiest installed and configured FAM system available. AlarmCalm Buttons are easily installed on the loop and recognised in the panel software on auto learn. They are compatible with a standard UK single-gang back box, can be flush or surface mounted and include a configurable LED, buzzer and slide in label.
Sounders, beacons and relays in each Building Area can be operated during the verification period and can be quickly set by all devices of each type or individually by point. Sounder ringing styles are also fully configurable and can utilise a different tone during verification and alarm periods.
The same approach in the software is taken with Investigation Delays to Outputs, meaning a full FAM strategy can be easily set up and configured.
AlarmCalm is currently available on Advanced’s EN54 2, 4 & 13 approved MxPro 5 and Axis EN fire systems.