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Author Topic: Emergency announcement systems  (Read 10246 times)

Justice C. Bigler

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Emergency announcement systems
« on: September 27, 2012, 01:06:39 pm »

Currently researching emergency announcement systems for things like fires, building evacuations, severe weather, etc...

Ultimately we would like to have a couple of panels in different parts of the building that can be activated by a switch or push button to send announcements over the main PA and the back stage and lobby areas, served by our 70 volt systems.

Have been looking at something like the TOA M9000M2 Digital Matrix Mixer with several of the XLR input/output modules and the S-20S Digital Message Repeater for uploading specific messages for different types of events.

Anybody use these? Anyone know of competing solutions?
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Hayden J. Nebus

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Re: Emergency announcement systems
« Reply #1 on: September 27, 2012, 03:35:02 pm »

Currently researching emergency announcement systems for things like fires, building evacuations, severe weather, etc...

Ultimately we would like to have a couple of panels in different parts of the building that can be activated by a switch or push button to send announcements over the main PA and the back stage and lobby areas, served by our 70 volt systems.

Have been looking at something like the TOA M9000M2 Digital Matrix Mixer with several of the XLR input/output modules and the S-20S Digital Message Repeater for uploading specific messages for different types of events.

Anybody use these? Anyone know of competing solutions?

I'd be very leery of putting buttons around the building that do anything live in the PA.

Code here requires PA interrupt in the event of building emergency, so I lose a subpanel of my sequencer when the fire panel closes a connection. Behind my main PA are some artfully painted RH iconyx  that stay live and are backfed by the emergency power circuit.

We use a Symmetrix symnet system and ARC controllers for aux systems routing and page/program. Fire panel integrated fire strobe/emergency annunciators around backstage/lobbies handle evacuation notices.


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Ivan Beaver

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Re: Emergency announcement systems
« Reply #2 on: September 27, 2012, 05:07:15 pm »

In every situation I have run into (so far) the PA HAS to shut down when a fire alarm comes through.  As in physically turn OFF-not just mute.

There is a another system that does the EVAC announcements.  Although in every case (so far) the intelligibility of the EVAC system is no where near as good as the main PA. 

In Europe it is a different situation.  they have to (at least in many cases) meet a certain intelligibility score-in the US-it just has to be heard-not understood.

When that changes-there will be a lot of fire alarm guys wanting to learn about intelligibility.  Not quite as easy as simply making a loud noise.
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Hayden J. Nebus

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Re: Emergency announcement systems
« Reply #3 on: September 27, 2012, 08:30:38 pm »

In every situation I have run into (so far) the PA HAS to shut down when a fire alarm comes through.  As in physically turn OFF-not just mute.

There is a another system that does the EVAC announcements.  Although in every case (so far) the intelligibility of the EVAC system is no where near as good as the main PA. 

In Europe it is a different situation.  they have to (at least in many cases) meet a certain intelligibility score-in the US-it just has to be heard-not understood.

When that changes-there will be a lot of fire alarm guys wanting to learn about intelligibility.  Not quite as easy as simply making a loud noise.

Is this covered by NFPA ? I'm curious about the actual verbage.
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Simon Lewis

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Re: Emergency announcement systems
« Reply #4 on: September 27, 2012, 08:49:56 pm »

Have a look at firms such as Baldwin Boxall and Bosch Security Systems for details on how UK / Europe approaches VA/PA systems.

There is another device that may interest you. The FireCryer is an alarm sounder with up to 6 messages stored on board, that can be wired in with existing fire alarm sounders and specific messages selected by an additional panel.

Our PA/VA industry is a little upset about them because as sounders they do not have to meet speech intelligibility requirements. They can be pretty easy to install.

http://www.vimpex.co.uk/english/fire-cryer-voice-sounder.html

Simon
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Rob Spence

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Emergency announcement systems
« Reply #5 on: September 27, 2012, 09:06:03 pm »

My understanding is that new construction these days ( of  certain types ) has a requirement of intelligibility for the emergency announce system.
I went to a AES lecture on it last year.


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Re: Emergency announcement systems
« Reply #6 on: September 27, 2012, 09:15:50 pm »

My understanding is that new construction these days ( of  certain types ) has a requirement of intelligibility for the emergency announce system.
I went to a AES lecture on it last year.


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What about the language barrier?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qOZuLD1u_K4
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Rick Earl

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Re: Emergency announcement systems
« Reply #7 on: September 27, 2012, 10:25:23 pm »

Yamaha DME 24n and 64n both have built in Wave players that can be triggered various ways. and the units are fully functional for audio.   I have a set up now in a theme park which mutes the system for emergency announcements. 
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Justice C. Bigler

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Re: Emergency announcement systems
« Reply #8 on: September 27, 2012, 11:27:55 pm »

My understanding is that new construction these days

My building is over 35 years old.
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Ivan Beaver

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Re: Emergency announcement systems
« Reply #9 on: September 28, 2012, 12:48:27 pm »

My understanding is that new construction these days ( of  certain types ) has a requirement of intelligibility for the emergency announce system.
I went to a AES lecture on it last year.


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Who is requiring it? How is it enforced?

I have not seen nor heard of this yet (at least in the jobs I am associated with in the US)
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Hayden J. Nebus

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Re: Emergency announcement systems
« Reply #10 on: September 28, 2012, 04:22:49 pm »

Who is requiring it? How is it enforced?

I have not seen nor heard of this yet (at least in the jobs I am associated with in the US)

I would look to NFPA 72 annex E: Mass Notification Systems, if I had access to the text. If you get your hands on it, please PM me!

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Rob Spence

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Emergency announcement systems
« Reply #11 on: September 28, 2012, 06:34:47 pm »

I just remembered that the talk I heard was at the LAB get together at Watchuset last time we met.

I don't remember who gave it.


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Hayden J. Nebus

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Re: Emergency announcement systems
« Reply #12 on: September 28, 2012, 08:56:18 pm »

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Justice C. Bigler

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Re: Emergency announcement systems
« Reply #13 on: September 28, 2012, 10:34:00 pm »

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Mikey Brown

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Re: Emergency announcement systems
« Reply #14 on: September 29, 2012, 12:19:16 am »

Currently researching emergency announcement systems for things like fires, building evacuations, severe weather, etc...

Ultimately we would like to have a couple of panels in different parts of the building that can be activated by a switch or push button to send announcements over the main PA and the back stage and lobby areas, served by our 70 volt systems.

Have been looking at something like the TOA M9000M2 Digital Matrix Mixer with several of the XLR input/output modules and the S-20S Digital Message Repeater for uploading specific messages for different types of events.

Anybody use these? Anyone know of competing solutions?
Hi Justice, coincidentally i just upgraded our 26 year old building system with Media Matrix Nware and cobranet devices. Networked into the house IT system I install Kiosks onto anyones work station, ie security dept, house manager, TD Office, reception etc. So they can acess specific zones for paging and emergency recordings. Also does emergency bypass. Plenty of GPI for wall plates and such. This design is 32 x 48 zones, maybe a little overkill for your application but worth checking out. We will be expanding the system next week to include our outdoor areas with scheduled BGM as well as paging and emergency recordings.
I was using a DME 64 for the last couple of years, it is also a good solution. 
« Last Edit: September 29, 2012, 12:37:20 am by Mikey Brown »
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John Moore

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Re: Emergency announcement systems
« Reply #15 on: October 01, 2012, 11:05:29 pm »

Most AHJ and code are going to require some type of supervised system, monitoring the panel, devices, etc. used for life safety. If you check with your AHJ your are going to find out that is going to take more than just speakers, amplifier and page microphones to get a system that if something did happen you won't be held liable for negligence in a piece meal type system and one that is specifically made and approved for the application at hand. Companies such as Federal Signal, FireLite Alarms, Notifier and others make systems specific for voice evac and can be used as paging systems as well. In my day job I design these systems for a wide range of occupancies from schools to factories, and have done a number of military base designs as well. All these systems can do prerecorded announcements on a specific trigger, whether a fire alarm, mass notification, etc. type alarm input. Also, install devices that are listed by UL and other agencies for the application and that are approved for use with the system and panel. Liability is huge in these applications.
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Brad Weber

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Re: Emergency announcement systems
« Reply #16 on: October 02, 2012, 01:51:18 am »

John brings up some very good points and there are differences between announcements for bad weather, lost children, etc. and life safety related announcements and voice evacuation systems.  One of the last things you want to do is to create something that may compete or interfere with the life safety voice evacuation and/or annunciation systems.  And that is why, as Ivan noted, AHJs sometimes require potentially competing audio systems to be muted or powered off when a life safety emergency exists.
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Thomasjacob

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Re: Emergency announcement systems
« Reply #17 on: February 24, 2014, 10:53:19 pm »

Installing notification systems/software is a must in schools, universities, offices, etc for an easy and reliable communication in crisis situation.
« Last Edit: February 24, 2014, 10:56:42 pm by Thomasjacob »
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Cailen Waddell

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Re: Emergency announcement systems
« Reply #18 on: February 25, 2014, 09:34:08 am »


In every situation I have run into (so far) the PA HAS to shut down when a fire alarm comes through.  As in physically turn OFF-not just mute.

There is a another system that does the EVAC announcements.  Although in every case (so far) the intelligibility of the EVAC system is no where near as good as the main PA. 

In Europe it is a different situation.  they have to (at least in many cases) meet a certain intelligibility score-in the US-it just has to be heard-not understood.

When that changes-there will be a lot of fire alarm guys wanting to learn about intelligibility.  Not quite as easy as simply making a loud noise.

I'll say that in my local AHJ - the code is interpreted as the system must stop making noise. Muting is acceptable.  Muting in a way that leaves one mic hot is also acceptable.

HOWEVER - none of these systems are required to be able to make emergency evacuation announcements or meet intelligibility requirements. 

That doesn't mean we are doing it right, it's just how our guys interpret.

I have made a strong argument for a single hot mic, and our fire and building inspectors agree that having an announcement option in an emergency is better than no option. 
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Cailen Waddell

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Re: Emergency announcement systems
« Reply #19 on: February 25, 2014, 09:39:10 am »

The reason (at least in our AHJ) for muting is that the fire alarm is required to meet a certain level in db above ambient room noise.  During a concert that could mean bleeding someone's ears if the system didn't mute.   Our houselights also bump to full and turn on all work lights onstage.
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Brad Weber

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Re: Emergency announcement systems
« Reply #20 on: February 25, 2014, 09:47:22 am »

I'll say that in my local AHJ - the code is interpreted as the system must stop making noise. Muting is acceptable.  Muting in a way that leaves one mic hot is also acceptable.

HOWEVER - none of these systems are required to be able to make emergency evacuation announcements or meet intelligibility requirements. 

That doesn't mean we are doing it right, it's just how our guys interpret.

I have made a strong argument for a single hot mic, and our fire and building inspectors agree that having an announcement option in an emergency is better than no option.
That's why it is so important to check with the local AHJ. I have had AHJs require that all the amps be powered off and they had to see it function properly and other AHJs required that the system be completely muted with some verifying the muting and others just assuming it would be taken care of.  On the other hand, some AHJs acted like they had no idea what I was talking about when I asked about what we had to do.
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Re: Emergency announcement systems
« Reply #20 on: February 25, 2014, 09:47:22 am »


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