Fire alarm systems do several things when they are activated. One of the most important functions is alerting local fire departments that your building is in danger. There is a transmitter built-in to the system that trips when a smoke detector goes off or a fire alarm pull station is activated, allowing the authorities to dispatch a truck to your location right away. The other most important part of a fire alarm is to alert the people in your building that they need to evacuate the premises. To ensure that everyone, including disabled people, is able to evacuate in the event of a fire, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires alarm systems to feature both visual and audible cues.
Of course, when anyone thinks about fire alarm systems, very loud sirens are one of the first things that come to mind. There is a reason for that – it ensures that even those who are visually impaired or those with limited hearing will still get the message of evacuation. The ADA’s established rules for audible cues include:
- Noise levels of the alarm cannot exceed 120 dbA.
- The alarm must exceed the noise level of a room by 15dbA. If this means that the noise level ends up exceeding 120dbA, the alarm can only be 5dbA louder but must sound for at least 60 seconds.
- The audible alarm must be easily distinguishable from other noise in the room.
For those who are deaf, visual cues will catch their attention on the need to evacuate. These visuals usually take the form of flashing lights or text banners. ADA regulations establish these standards for visual aspects of fire alarms:
- They must not be so intensely bright that they’re unsafe to look at directly or increase the risk of seizures for people with photosensitive epilepsy.
- Flashing lights must be visible from any location in a room or hallway.
- Flashing lights must be installed 80-96 inches above the highest floor level in a room or 6 inches below the ceiling in order to maximize visibility.
- Visual cues must be clear or white in color.
Fire Protection Services from Biles Fire Protection
Biles Fire Protection can help with all of your residential or commercial fire safety needs. We have the equipment and expertise to install wet sprinkler systems or dry sprinkler systems at affordable prices. We are well known for our top-notch customer service, quick response times, and reliable support and maintenance. To get a quote for your sprinkler system, fill out our online request form. For more information and to chat about how we can help meet your fire safety needs, visit us online or give us a call at (443) 701-8330. To get more fire safety tips and information, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Pinterest.