Fire Alarm Beacon Guide
Fire Alarm Beacons are now an integral part to modern fire alarm systems. They help to indicate to people that the fire alarm system has been activated. There are two main reasons for using fire alarm beacons and these are as follows.
Areas of High Ambient Noise
Fire Alarm Beacons or Visual Alarms should be used where there is a high ambient noise level (around 90dBA and above) or where people are wearing hearing protection. These Fire Alarm Beacons should be sufficient enough in quantity and bright enough in the normal ambient lighting to be noticed. The flash rate of a Fire Alarm Beacon is recommended to be between 30 and 100 flashes per minute. Most Fire Alarm Beacons on the market flash around 60 flashes per minute. The colour recommended for Fire Alarm Beacons is ‘preferably’ red, however if another facility within a building has red visual alarms or beacons, then choosing another colour for the fire alarm system would be acceptable. Please note – this refers to the colour of the lens, not the colour of the beacon housing.
Areas Where People With Impaired Hearing May Be Present
Fire Alarm Beacons or Visual Alarms should be regarded as fire alarm devices. The circuits used for these fire alarm beacons should be fully fault monitored and protected against fire. Visual Alarm devices for people with impaired hearing may be fixed, moveable or portable. The intensity of output of the Beacon / Visual Alarm should be sufficient enough to attract attention. Approval of an Fire Alarm Beacons or Visual Alarms for visually impaired people would be subject to consultation with the users.
Where Should Fire Alarm Beacons Be Sited?
Clause 17 of the British Standard gives recommnedations as to the mounting heights of Fire Alarm Beacon units. It states that if the visual alarm is positioned too low it may not be seen, and recommends 2.1m as the minimum mounting height, but most applications would be higher than this. The British Standard also recommends that Fire Alarm Beacons aren’t positioned any closer than 150mm from the ceiling. This is because the effectiveness of visual alarms within 150mm from the ceiling is reduced. These beacons should also be suffient enough in quantity to be noticed throughout a building.
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