Horn/Strobe Compliance Reference Guide
Horn/Strobe
Compliance
Reference Guide
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Table of Contents
INTRODUCTION ....................................................................................................................1
WHAT IS THE COVERAGE AND ENFORCEMENT OF THE ADA? ..............................................2
WHAT IS THE ADAAG?..........................................................................................................3
WHAT IS “PUBLIC MODE” VS. “PRIVATE MODE” OPERATION? ..............................................4
VISIBLE SIGNALING APPLIANCE REQUIREMENTS ................................................................5
WHAT CAN YOU DO NOW TO COMPLY?................................................................................6
WHERE SHOULD STROBES BE LOCATED?..............................................................................7
HOW MANY STROBES SHOULD BE USED? ............................................................................8
WHAT ABOUT PHOTOSENSITIVE EPILEPSY AND STROBE FLASH RATES? ............................10
POWER SUPPLY CONSIDERATIONS ......................................................................................11
EQUIVALENT FACILITATION ................................................................................................11
AUDIBILITY REQUIREMENTS ..............................................................................................12
VOLTAGE DROP CALCULATIONS..........................................................................................14
WHAT IS MEANT BY POLAR LIGHT DISTRIBUTION? ..........................................................15
GLOSSARY ..........................................................................................................................15
HOW DID WE GET WHERE WE ARE TODAY? ......................................................................16
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Introduction: Why We Need A
Strobe Compliance Guide
System Sensor prepared this Strobe Compliance
Reference Guide to help promote understanding
and awareness of the issues that affect specifying
engineers, installers and the enforcement
authorities. We hope to increase the probability
of proper installation and reduce the possibility
of misapplication of strobe lights and audible
devices in the commercial market place.
Throughout this Compliance Guide many of
the installation standards referenced are from
1996 NFPA 72 Chapter 6. Although the ADA
and ANSI 117.1 are not currently aligned with
NFPA, it is anticipated that they will be by year
end 1997. This alignment of standards is highly
probable. However, there is no absolute
guarantee that it will happen.
System Sensor has worked diligently for the
alignment of standards, in particular those
strobe standards involving light dispersion,
light intensity, flash rate, and mounting and
placement. We were joined in this effort by
other National Electrical Manufacturers
Association (NEMA) members, Underwriters
Laboratories (UL) staffers and representatives
of the hearing impaired and epilepsy communities:
the National Association of the Deaf (NAD),
the Self Help for Hard of Hearing People (SHHH)
and the Epilepsy Foundation of America.
Together, this group became known as the
Visible Alarms Coalition (VAC).
The VAC developed a set of recommendations
in a “White Paper” that was submitted to the
U.S. Architectural & Transportation Barriers
Compliance Board in December of 1994.
This White Paper was instrumental in the
anticipated alignment of the ADA with NFPA
72 Chapter 6. The VAC’s recommendations
will result in a universal set of national codes
and laws for visible notification appliances.
For the ADA and ANSI 117.1 guidelines
currently in place, please refer to past issues
of the System Sensor Strobe Compliance
Reference Guide.
What Is The ADA?
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
(Public Law 101-336) is a law prohibiting
discrimination on the basis of disability.
It provides civil rights protection similar to
those given on the basis of race, color, sex,
national origin, religion or age. The Act
guarantees equal opportunities in public
accommodations, employment, transportation,
state and local government services and
telecommunications.
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What Is The Coverage and
Enforcement of the ADA?
The ADA comprises four titles that define and prohibit discrimination on the basis of disabilities
within specific areas. Fire safety signaling devices are addressed under Title III, which covers
public accommodations and services, including transportation. Compliance is enforced by the
Department of Justice, or the Department of Transportation in areas of public transportation.
Fire Safety Signaling Devices Are Covered
Under Title III
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Title III
Public
Accommodations
and Services
Enforced by:
Department of
Justice (DOJ)
T
Misc itle IV
e
Prov llaneou
ision s
s
What Is The ADAAG?
The Americans with Disabilities Act
Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG) are the
official standards for accessible design under
Title III of the ADA. They cover only new
construction and alterations undertaken by
facilities covered by the ADA. The ADAAG
was written by the Architectural and
Transportation Barriers Compliance Board, also
known as the Access Board. The Access
Board, in one of its information bulletins,
states: “Because the ADA is civil rights law,
compliance with and enforcement of its
implementing regulations are not overseen by
a local building code official, but are exercised
through private suit or by specified federal
agencies when discrimination—or the
probability of discrimination on the basis of
disability—is alleged.
A few states have adopted ADAAG as their
accessibility code and implement its provisions
through state and local building code officials
in the same way as other applicable building
regulations are applied, reviewed and enforced.
Many jurisdictions are expected to submit their
building codes and/or standards for review by
the Department of Justice. Standards that
meet or exceed the minimum accessibility
requirements of the ADA will be certified.
The model codes, including ANSI 117.1, have
sought to coordinate accessibility provisions
through informal review and technical
assistance from DOJ.
ADA/ADAAG compliance does not relieve the
designer from complying with the provisions
of a state or local access code. Where such a
code contains more stringent requirements,
they must be incorporated. Conversely,
adoption of ADAAG or certification of the
equivalence of a state/local code will not
relieve covered entities of their responsibilities
to meet the accessibility standards imposed by
the ADA.”
Exclusions To ADA Coverage:
• Individual employee offices and work
stations (however, arrangements should
be made to comply with the provisions
of Title I, which addresses providing
reasonable accommodations; e.g., a
visible signal for an employee who is
deaf or hard of hearing).
• Federal buildings (covered by the
Architectural Barriers Act of 1968 [ABA]
and, currently, by the Uniform Federal
Accessibility Standards [UFAS]), a
corporation wholly owned by the
government of the U.S. or an
Indian tribe.
• Religious entities and private clubs.
• Multi-family residential facilities
(generally covered by the Fair Housing
Amendments Act of 1988 [FHAA] and
its related regulations and standards).
• Strictly residential private apartments
and homes.
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What Is “Public Mode” vs.
“Private Mode” Operation?
“Private mode” applications are those “where a
signal is known to be in place and where
someone is trained to take additional action
upon notification from the alarm signal,”
(Ferd DeVoss, UL). Examples include control
rooms, nurses’ stations and guard desks.
These emergency signaling applications may
not have to meet ADA requirements and may
be satisfied through installation of UL 1638
strobes.
“Public mode” operation includes audible or
visible signaling to occupants or inhabitants of
the area protected by the fire alarm system.
(NFPA 72)
ADA Public Accommodations
Places of
exhibition or
entertainment
Places of
exercise
or recreation
Stations used
for specified
public transportation
Sales or rental
establishments
Establishments
serving food
or drink
Places of
lodging
Social service
center
establishments
Places of
recreation
Places of
education
Places of
public gathering
The Americans with Disabilities Act, Section
301-7, defines a public accommodation as any
facility that is privately operated, affects
commerce with its operation, and falls into
one of the 12 categories shown above.
These categories are fairly general and will
encompass a wide variety of facilities. Social
service facilities, for example, include not only
homeless shelters, adoption agencies, senior
citizen centers, food banks and day care
centers, but also halfway houses, substance
abuse treatment facilities and other crisis centers.
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Places of
public display
or collection
Service
establishments
Potential Tax Savings
Building owners can earn up to a $5,000
tax credit and a $15,000 tax deduction for
ADA related expenditures.
For additional information, call your local
IRS office or call the Washington D.C. IRS
office at (202) 566-3292.
Visible Signaling
Appliance Requirements
According to the ADAAG, “ADA compliant
visual alarms are not required in alterations,
except where an existing fire alarm system is
upgraded or replaced, or a new fire alarm
system is installed.” The ADAAG goes on to
define an alteration as “A change to a building
or facility that affects or could affect the
usability of the building or facility or part
thereof. Alterations include, but are not limited
to, remodeling, renovation, rehabilitation,
REQUIREMENT
AREA TO BE
PROTECTED
reconstruction, historic restoration, changes or
rearrangement of the structural parts or
elements, and changes or rearrangement in
the plan configuration of walls and full-height
partitions. Normal maintenance, re-roofing,
painting or wallpapering, or changes to
mechanical and electrical systems are not
alterations unless they affect the usability of
the building or facility.”
ADA
CURRENT
No Specific
Requirement1
LIGHT
DISTRIBUTION
Non-Sleeping Area 75 cd (50´ spacing)
ADA
ANTICIPATED
UL 1971
ANSI 117.1
ANTICIPATED
NFPA 72
Per UL 1971
“Polar”
Distribution2
Per UL 1971
Per UL 1971
15 cd Minimum5,6
15 cd Minimum5,6
15 cd Minimum5,6
Sleeping Area
75 cd (50´ spacing)
110 cd (wall)
177 cd (ceiling)
Corridor Area
75 cd (50´ spacing) 15 cd (100´ spacing)
3
3
15 cd Minimum5,6
110 cd (wall)
177 cd (ceiling)
110 cd (wall)
177 cd (ceiling)
110 cd (wall)3
177 cd (ceiling)
15 cd
15 cd (100´ spacing)
15 cd (100´ spacing)
INTENSITY
FLASH
RATE
1 to 3 Hz4
1 to 2 Hz4
1/3 to 3 Hz4
1 to 2 Hz4
1 to 2 Hz4
Non-Sleeping
& Corridor Area
Lower of 80´´
above floor or
6´´ below ceiling
Wall: 80´´ to 96´´
above floor, 6´´ min.
below ceiling.
On ceilings less
than 30´6
No Specific
Requirement
Wall: 80´´ to 96´´
above floor, 6´´ min.
below ceiling.
On ceilings less
than 30´6
Wall: 80´´ to 96´´
above floor, 6´´ min.
below ceiling.
On ceilings less
than 30´6
Sleeping Area
Lower of 80´´
above floor or
6´´ below ceiling
110 cd required if
greater than 24´´
below ceiling;
177 cd required if
less than 24´´
below ceiling
110 cd required if
greater than 24´´
below ceiling;
177 cd required if
less than 24´´
below ceiling
110 cd required if
greater than 24´´
below ceiling;
177 cd required if
less than 24´´
below ceiling
110 cd required if
greater than 24´´
below ceiling;
177 cd required if
less than 24´´
below ceiling
Wall Only
Wall or Ceiling
Wall or Ceiling
Wall or Ceiling
Wall or Ceiling
MOUNTING
and
PLACEMENT
Placement
Notes:
1
UL 1638 does not stipulate a minimum light output
requirement “on-axis” (directly in front of device).
2
UL 1971 requires specific light intensities at viewing angles ranging from 0 to 90 degrees off axis.
3
If detector and visible device are in same sleeping room intensity is required to be 177 cd.
4
1/3 Hz equals 20 flashes per minute; 1 Hz equals 60 flashes per minute; 3 Hz equals 180 flashes per minute.
5
Intensity dependent upon room size.
6
Where the ceiling strobe is not located in the center of the room, the candela level shall be determined by doubling the
distance from the appliance to the farthest wall to obtain the maximum room size.
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What Can You Do Now
To Comply?
Due to differing codes and standards,
compliance entails meeting all of the ADA
requirements or providing “equivalent facilitation”
as well as adhering to NFPA 72 installation and
UL 1971 performance standards. It is always
prudent to consult with your Authority Having
Jurisdiction (AHJ) and/or local fire marshal to
ensure that you are meeting all applicable
codes and standards.
Shown below are the 5 steps to compliance.
Also, the table below leads you step-by-step
through the factors to be considered and
outlines the minimum requirements when
planning a strobe installation. Additional
compliance requirements and options are
described throughout this guide.
5 Steps To Compliance
Fol
low
Ins
tall
a
Com
• ADA
• Exclusions to
ADA Coverage
ply
Wi
th
• UL 1971
(Public Mode)
• UL 1638
(Private Mode)
Fed
e
ral
• NFPA 72 Chapter 6
• ANSI 117.1 Model
Building Code
• State Local Code
• Local Authority Having
Jurisdiction (AHJ)
tion
Sta
nda
rd
Law
Per Det
for erm
ma in
nce e
Sta
• Corridor
nd
• Sleeping
Sel
• Non-Sleeping
Det
e
To rmin
Be e A
Pro rea
tec
ted
• Public
ect
ard
• Private
Op
era
tin
gM
ode
*
Minimum Requirements*
Minimum Solutions*
Operating Mode
Public
Private
Intensity
15 cd
.3 cd
Flash Rate
1 Hz (60/min.)
1/3 Hz (20/min.)
Spacing
100´ Between Devices
Not Defined
Wall: 80´´ to 96´´
above floor,
6´´ min. below ceiling.
On ceilings less than 30´
Not Specified.
Check local
codes.
Basis for Number of
Devices Required
Per Room Size or
Corridor Length
Per Room Size or
Corridor Length
Mounting
Wall or Ceiling
Mount
Wall or Ceiling
Mount
Placement
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Operating
Mode
System
Sensor
SpectrAlert™
Horn/Strobes
Public
Corridor
Non-Sleeping
P2415
P1215
Private
Sleeping
P24110
*Assumes anticipated changes in ADA.
Corridor
Non-Sleeping/Sleeping
P2415
Where Should Strobes Be
Located?
According to NFPA 72 1996, Chapter 6 and its
appendices, specific installation, spacing and
location of strobes is dependent upon the size
and configuration of the area to be protected.
Requirements are based on square room size.
(See page 8) If the room configuration is not
square, the size square that will encompass the
entire room is to be used.
NFPA requires strobes to be located so that the
light can be seen regardless of the viewer’s
orientation, with maximum spacing between
devices (like the ADA), not to exceed 100'.
Correct
Room Spacing Allocation*
Remember, in non-sleeping areas the NFPA
requires that wall mount visible notification
appliances be installed 80" to 96" above the
floor (6" minimum below the ceiling) and for
ceiling mounted strobes, no more than 30'
above the floor. In sleeping areas a 110 cd
strobe must be placed more than 24" below
the ceiling or a 177 cd strobe must be placed
less than 24" below the ceiling. In either case
the strobe can be no more that 16' from the
pillow.
Incorrect
Room Spacing Allocation
VISIBLE
APPLIANCE
VISIBLE
APPLIANCE
(TYPICAL)
(TYPICAL)
15cd
15cd
40'
20'
40'
*In this example, strobes
should be synchronized.
Recommended Placement for Strobes in Corridors
(NFPA 72 Appendix A Page 150)
- 20' -
VISIBLE APPLIANCE
15'
VISIBLE APPLIANCE
20'
20'
100'
Note: Interruptions in viewing paths shall be considered separate corridors.
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How Many Strobes
Should Be Used?
The NFPA specifies varying minimum required
light outputs for non-sleeping rooms.
(Shown in the table below)
The NFPA is very specific with respect to
strobe count and spacing using room size as
the determining variable. Four different strobe
count and spacing solutions are offered in
conjunction with the tables in this section:
1. Use a single visible notification appliance.
2. Use two visible notification appliances
located on opposite walls.
3. In rooms 80' x 80' or greater where there
are more than two visible appliances in any
field of view*, they shall be spaced a
minimum of 55' from each other.
4. When using more than two visible
notification appliances, that the appliances
flash in synchronization.
* Field of view= 135˚
Wall Mount
Minimum Light Output Per Strobe by Room Size (Non-Sleeping)
100 x 100
90 x 90
80 x 80
70 x 70
60 x 60
50 x 50
40 x 40
30 x 30
20 x 20
One
Strobe
Two
Strobes
Four
Strobes
15 cd
30 cd
60 cd
95 cd
135 cd
185 cd
240 cd
305 cd
Not
Allowable
15 cd
30 cd
60 cd
95 cd
110 cd
135 cd
185 cd
240 cd
Not
Allowable
Not
Allowable
Not
Allowable
Not
Allowable
60 cd
95 cd
95 cd
Not
Not
Allowable Allowable
Number of
Sleeping Rooms
Accessible
Sleeping Rooms
1 to 25
1
26 to 50
2
51 to 75
3
76 to 100
4
101 to 150
5
151 to 200
6
201 to 300
7
301 to 400
8
401 to 500
9
501 to 1000
2% of total
20 plus 1 for each
100 over 1000
1001 and over
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375 cd
In sleeping areas, where the mounting height
is within 24" or less of the ceiling, the required
intensity is 177 cd. When the distance would
be more than 24" to the ceiling, light intensities
of 110 cd may be provided.*
Sleeping Room
177 cd
less than 24"
Strobe Requirements for
Sleeping Area
24"
or more
16' Maximum
110 cd
Distance from Ceiling to Top of Lens
Intensity
Greater than or equal to 24" (610 mm)
Less than 24" (610 mm)
110 cd
177 cd
*NOTE: If the room is larger than 16' x 16', the appliance
shall be located within 16' of the pillow measured
horizontally.
For corridors, NFPA
specifies strobe
location not more
than 15' from the end
of the corridor, with a
maximum separation
of 100'. Corridor
spacing of strobes is
specified as shown in
the table to the right.
Typical corridor
placement is shown
on page 7.
Minimum Number of 15 cd Strobes by Corridor Length
0-30´
31-130´
131-230´
231-330´
331-430´
431-530´
1
2
Corridor Length
Where ceiling heights exceed 30' the NFPA
states that “visible signaling appliances shall
be suspended at or below 30' or wall mounted.”
Candela requirements for ceiling strobes,
presented in the table to the right, assume
location of the strobe in the center of the
room. “Where it is not located in the center
of the room, the candela level shall be
determined by doubling the distance from the
appliance to the farthest wall to obtain the
maximum room size.”
3
4
5
6
Number of Strobes
Ceiling Mount
Minimum Light Output by Room Size (NonSleeping)
50 x 50
40 x 40
30 x 30
20 x 20
10'
Ceiling
15 cd
30 cd
60 cd
95 cd
20'
Ceiling
30 cd
45 cd
80 cd
115 cd
30'
Ceiling
55 cd
75 cd
115 cd
150 cd
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What About Photosensitive Epilepsy
and Strobe Flash Rates?
Those who are vulnerable to photosensitive
epilepsy have voiced concern over the
cumulative effect of seeing multiple flashing
strobes in the field of view.
An example of this would be an individual
standing at the cross-point of an “L” shaped
corridor that contains multiple strobes. During
an alarm or test of a system, the person could
be exposed to a cumulative flash rate that
might increase the probability of seizure and
photosensitive response.
Although aggregate strobe flash rates in a fire
system and their relationship to those persons
with photosensitive epilepsy are not in any
current law or standard, it is an issue that
should be addressed with diligence when
installing and/or upgrading fire systems.
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Although one solution involves synchronized
(simultaneous flashing) strobes, other options
have been outlined by NFPA and the proposed
ADAAG. The NFPA makes it clear in Chapter
6, Section 6-4.4.1.1 that synchronization is
only one of several installation configurations
that the systems designer can use to minimize
multiple strobes flashing in an individual’s
field of view. These four options are outlined
on page 8. Also, in 1996 the NFPA changed
its maximum acceptable strobe flash rate from
3 Hz down to 2 Hz, again, in an effort to
reduce strobe flash rates in an individual’s
field of view. The ADAAG and ANSI are
expected to follow suit in 1997.
Power Supply Considerations
Because of the relatively high current draw of
UL 1971 strobes, the choice of an appropriate
power supply is critical.
There are two proper power supply alternatives:
regulated and unregulated. Regulated power
supplies
provide
filtered and
regulated DC
power, are
compatible
with fire protective
signaling panels, and are designed for use with
any compatible notification appliance of the
proper voltage.
Unregulated power supplies provide DC power
and have peak voltages that may be very high.
However, they are compatible
only with
specific control
equipment and
specific
notification
appliances.
It is therefore important
to verify with the fire panel manufacturer or
power supply vendor that their supply can
handle the number and type of strobes you
intend to install.
OR
Power Limiting Issues:
UL’s new power limiting requirements have
made newer power supplies far more sensitive
to fold back and notification appliance circuit
shut down. Therefore, it is important to
understand the operating characteristics of the
power supplies chosen for use in any fire
system. The characteristics of every power
supply model vary and these characteristics
determine the number of notification
appliances that will effectively operate on a
power supply’s loop.
Whether to use average, peak or in-rush
currents when sizing a notification appliance
circuit will vary by manufacturer and power
supply model. It is therefore recommended
that system designers confirm the best method
of sizing a notification appliance loop with the
power supply or panel manufacturer prior to
notification circuit design.
Equivalent Facilitation
The anticipated alignment of the ADAAG with
NFPA 72 Chapter 6, including the Access
Board’s proposed elimination of 75 cd and the
acceptance of 15 cd as the minimum strobe
intensity for non-sleeping areas, will lessen the
importance of utilizing equivalent facilitation
for strobe installations. However, it is important
to review the current and future definitions of
Equivalent Facilitation as stated in the ADAAG.
Currently, equivalent facilitation is stated as
follows: “Departures from particular technical
and scoping requirements of this guideline by
the use of other designs and technologies are
permitted where the alternative designs and
technologies used will provide substantially
equivalent or greater access to and usability of
the facility.”
The Access Board advises that “...by varying
lamp intensity and spacing, systems designers
can tailor an installation to the physical
conditions of the space being served.”
However, the Access Board goes on to caution
that “it is impossible to provide specific
guidance for the design of non-standard
installations based upon the photometry
calculations necessary to demonstrate
equivalent facilitation.”
In the proposed ADAAG, Equivalent Facilitation
verbiage has been simplified and is more user
friendly. Specifically, “Nothing in these
guidelines is intended to prevent the use of
designs or technologies as alternatives to those
prescribed in this document, provided they
provide equivalent or superior accessibility
and usability.”
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Audibility Requirements
The focus of notification appliance code
development over the last several years has
centered around the visible portion of the
devices to aid hearing impaired individuals
during a fire emergency. Even with this focus
it is important to remember that there are code
requirements for the audible portion of the
device as well. Although the ADA has audibility
requirements, NFPA 72 Chapter 6 has the most
stringent set. Therefore, the highlights of
NFPA’s notification device audibility code are
outlined below.
As defined by the NFPA, the location of an
audible appliance shall be not less than 90"
above the floor and not less than 6" below the
ceiling. This requirement is superseded by
strobe location requirements when an audible
appliance is installed in combination with a
strobe.
Temporal Code
The most recent audibility requirement to be
adopted by the NFPA is the Temporal Code.
This code was developed to establish a universal
fire evacuation code, or tone pattern, to lessen
confusion as to whether an alarm represents a
fire emergency.
This tone pattern is a 0.5 second on phase,
followed by a 0.5 off phase for three successive
on phases, followed by an off phase of 1.5
seconds. The pattern is then repeated for a
minimum of 180 seconds.
ON
ON
ON
ON
0.5 Sec.
0.5 Sec.
0.5 Sec.
0.5 Sec.
(a)
(a)
(a)
(a)
(b)
(b)
(c)
OFF
OFF
OFF
0.5 Sec.
0.5 Sec.
1.5 Sec.
Time (sec)
CYCLE
4 Sec.
Key:
Phase (a) signal is "on" for 0.5 sec ± 10%
Phase (b) signal is "off" for 0.5 sec ± 10%
Phase (c) signal is "off" for 1.5 sec ± 10% [(c) = (a) + 2(b)
Total cycle lasts for 4 sec ± 10%
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Public Mode Sound Level
NFPA’s minimum public mode dBA output is
the highest of three possible scenarios measured 5' above the floor.
• 75 dBA at 10'
• 15 dBA above average ambient sound
• 5 dBA above the maximum sound level
with a duration of at least 60 seconds.
NFPA’s maximum public mode dBA output is
120 dBA anywhere.
The ADA’s public mode audibility requirements
are the same as NFPA’s except the ADA does
not require 75 dBA at 10' as a minimum.
Private Mode Sound Level
NFPA’s minimum private mode dBA output is
the highest of three possible scenarios measured
5' above the floor.
• 45 dBA at 10'
• 10 dBA above average ambient sound
• 5 dBA above the maximum sound level
with a duration of at least 60 seconds
NFPA’s maximum private mode dBA output is
120 dBA anywhere.
Sleeping Area Sound Level
NFPA’s minimum sleeping area dBA output is
the highest of three possible scenarios measured
5' above the floor.
• 70 dBA at 10'
• 15 dBA above average ambient sound
• 5 dBA above the maximum sound level
with a duration of at least 60 seconds
NFPA’s maximum sleeping area dBA output is
120 dBA anywhere.
Mechanical Equipment Room
Sound Level
The NFPA states that 85 dBA, as opposed to
75 dBA, is the minimum acceptable ambient
sound level to use for design guidance.
Average Ambient Sound:
Ambient sound levels are referred to on the
previous page of this guide as well as all
notification appliance codes. The table below
shows examples of what average ambient
sound levels may be dependent upon the
application. The table shown below is taken
from NFPA 72’s Appendix A-6-3.2. Keep in
mind that the table only represents examples
and should not be used as a substitute to taking
actual on-site measurements. In the same
appendix, the NFPA states the following
regarding the measurement of average
ambient sound:
“When surveying the ambient sound levels to
establish the increased level at which a notification appliance will properly function, the
sound source needs to be averaged over a
longer period of time. Moderately priced
sound level meters have such a function,
usually called “Leq” or “equivalent sound
level.” For example, an Leq of speech in a
quiet room would cause the meter movement
to rise gradually to a peak reading and slowly
fall well after the speech is over.”
“Leq readings can be misapplied in situations
where the background ambient noises vary greatly
during a 24-hour period. Leq measurements
should be taken over the period of occupancy.”
Average Ambient Sound Level According to Location
Locations
Business occupancies
Educational occupancies
Industrial occupancies
Institutional occupancies
Mercantile occupancies
Piers and water-surrounded structures
Places of assembly
Residential occupancies
Storage occupancies
Thoroughfares, high density urban
Thoroughfares, medium density urban
Thoroughfares, rural and suburban
Tower occupancies
Underground structures and windowless buildings
Vehicles and vessels
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Average Ambient
Sound Level
55
45
80
50
40
40
55
35
30
70
55
40
35
40
50
dBA
dBA
dBA
dBA
dBA
dBA
dBA
dBA
dBA
dBA
dBA
dBA
dBA
dBA
dBA
Voltage Drop Calculations
It is increasingly important, with the advent of
ADA, UL 1971 and NFPA 72, Chapter 6, that a
voltage drop calculation be made during the
layout or retrofit of indicating circuits to
determine if the indicating appliances will
operate within their specifications.
A quick estimate of voltage drop at the last
device in the circuit can be done by using
Ohm’s Law:
V= IR (Voltage= Current x Resistance)
To accomplish this, you must know the
following about the circuit you are about to
design.
• Total current draw of all appliances on the
indicating circuit
• Wire size
• Length of circuit
• Resistance of the wire
The resistance of conductors can be found
using the information provided in the National
Electrical Code (NFPA 70), Chapter 9, Table:
Conductor Properties. A portion of this table
is shown below.
Conductor Properties
Example:
What is the voltage at the last device of a
24 VDC system that uses 12 notification
appliances (each drawing 0.125A and having
an operating voltage range from 20 VDC to 30
VDC) with 250' of 18 AWG (solid copper, two
conductor) cable?
From NFPA 70, we find that 18 AWG solid
copper wire has a resistance of 8.08 ohms per
1,000 feet. Therefore, the resistance of 500' of
wire (250' of two conductor cable) is:
wire length / 1,000 x ohms / 1,000 =
0.50 x 8.08 = 4.04 ohms
Vdrop = (12 x 0.125) x 4.04 = 6.06 VDC
24 VDC
24.00 VDC
- 6.06 VDC
= 17.94 VDC
17.94 VDC
250 ft.
18 AWG
24 VDC
24.00 VDC
- 2.40 VDC
= 21.60 VDC
21.60 VDC
250 ft.
Conductors
Stranding
18
1620
7
16
2580
1
16
2580
7
14
4110
1
14
4110
7
12
6530
1
12
6530
7
0.015
0.019
0.024
0.030
DC Resistance at 75°C (167°F)
Overall
Size
Area
AWG/ Cir. Quant. Diam. Diam.
in.
in.
kcmil Mills
18
1620
1
0.040
Copper
Aluminum
Area Uncoated Coated
in.2 ohm/kFT ohm/kFT
0.001
7.77
8.08
ohm/
kFT
12.8
0.046
0.002
7.95
8.45
13.1
0.051
0.002
4.89
5.08
8.05
0.058
0.003
4.99
5.29
8.21
0.064
0.003
3.07
3.19
5.06
0.073
0.004
3.14
3.26
5.17
0.081
0.005
1.93
2.01
3.18
0.092
0.006
1.98
2.05
3.25
With this information, the voltage drop at the
last device can be determined by using the
formula:
Vdrop = (total current draw of appliances)
x (resistance of the wire)
Some manufacturers recommend that circuits
be designed so that no greater than a 10%
voltage drop is experienced. This would mean
less than 2.4 VDC for a 24 VDC system
(to 21.6 VDC) and less than 1.2 VDC for a 12
VDC system (to 10.8 VDC). Refer to the
manufacturer of the equipment you are using
for specific device requirements.
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14 AWG
The voltage at the last device would be 17.94.
Obviously, this is not within the range for the
notification appliance to function properly. If
14 AWG solid copper wire is used instead of
18 AWG, the voltage drop changes to:
Vdrop = (12 x 0.125) x 1.6 = 2.4 VDC
The voltage at the last device will be 21.6 VDC
which is within the operating range of the
devices used and satisfies the minus 10% rule
mentioned above. Remember, it is still
necessary to ensure the power supply is
capable of supplying the necessary electrical
current for the notification appliances.
This quick estimate of voltage drop is simple
to perform and should be done in the planning
stages, before devices are installed, to eliminate
problems later.
What Is Meant By
Polar Light Distribution ?
UL 1971 requires a
polar light distribution
pattern to enhance
the likelihood of
alerting hearing
impaired individuals
throughout an area.
Polar refers to the
way the standard
measures light intensity
—both horizontally
and vertically—at
viewing angles ranging
from 0 to 180 degrees.
The following diagrams
show the values
required for wall
mounted and ceiling
mounted units.
WALL MOUNT
VERTICAL DISTRIBUTION
0˚
0˚
W
A
L
L
FLOOR
Degrees
0
5-30
35
40
45
50
55
60
65
70
75
80
85
90
Percent
of Rating
100
90
65
46
34
27
22
18
16
15
13
12
12
12
90˚
90˚
W
A
L
L
90˚
CEILING MOUNT
VERTICAL DISTRIBUTION
WALL MOUNT
HORIZONTAL DISTRIBUTION
W
A
L
L
0˚
FLOOR
Degrees
0
5-25
30-45
50
55
60
65
70
75
80
85
90
FLOOR
Percent
of Rating
100
90
75
55
45
40
35
35
30
30
25
25
Degrees
0
5-25
30-45
50
55
60
65
70
75
80
85
90
Percent
of Rating
100
90
75
55
45
40
35
35
30
30
25
25
Glossary
ACCESS BOARD See Compliance Board.
ADA The Americans With Disabilities Act. An act of Congress
intended to ensure civil rights for physically challenged people.
ADAAG The Americans With Disabilities Act Accessibility
Guidelines. Developed as “rules” to help people comply
with the ADA.
ANSI American National Standards Institute. Develops guidelines
and standards, often incorporating NFPA standards for the
installation and maintenance of fire safety equipment in
buildings. Developed ANSI 117.1 - The American National
Standard for Building and Facilities - Providing Accessibility
and Usability for Physically Handicapped People.
AVERAGE AMBIENT SOUND The average sound level measured
in a given area over the period of occupancy.
BCMC Board for Coordination of Model Building Codes.
CABO Council of American Building Officials.
CANDELA (cd) Unit of light intensity.
COMPLIANCE BOARD The United States Architectural and
Transportation Barriers Compliance Board. The body responsible
for developing the ADA Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG) and
interpretive instructions on the ADA and ADAAG in “Bulletins.”
Bulletin #2 focuses on visible signaling; Bulletin #5 focuses on
using ADAAG.
EFA Epilepsy Foundation of America.
FOOTCANDLE Illuminance of a 1 candela source measured 1 foot
away from the source.
LUMEN Amount of light emitted by a 1 candela source passing
through a specified area in space.
NAD National Association of the Deaf.
NEMA SIGNALING SECTION National Electrical Manufacturers
Association. Body of manufacturers who design, develop,
manufacture and distribute visible and audible signaling
devices as well as other components of fire alarm systems.
NFPA National Fire Protection Association. Develops guidelines
and standards for the installation and maintenance of fire safety
equipment.
OHM’S LAW Voltage=Current x Resistance
“ON AXIS” A way of describing the “plane” of or uni-directional
light generated from a strobe light. Often used to describe
certain UL Standard 1638 strobe lights which send their light
out primarily in front of the device.
POLAR Way of describing light output in 2-dimensional space.
Plotted as output in candela vs. angle.
PRIVATE MODE Applications where “the signal is known to be in
place and where someone is trained to take additional action
upon notification from the signal.” (Ferd DeVoss, UL)
PUBLIC MODE The “mode of operation for both visible and audible
where the signal is intended to alert anyone in the protected
area whether aware or unaware of its presence.” (Ferd DeVoss, UL)
SHHH Self Help for Hard of Hearing People.
TEMPORAL CODE A universal fire evacuation sound pattern
adopted by NFPA in 1996. This tone pattern is a 0.5 second on
phase followed by a 0.5 second off phase for three successive
on phases followed by an off phase of 1.5 seconds. The pattern
is then repeated for a minimum of 180 seconds.
UL STANDARD 1638 The UL standard governing private and
general mode signaling applications as of April 1, 1994. A
performance standard. Tests light output and distribution per
manufacturer’s specifications when the device is intended for
emergency signaling. (Note: devices may also be tested for only
fire and shock hazard for non-emergency signaling.) Minimum
flash rate of 1/3 to 3 flashes per second. Listed device is “not
to be used as an evacuation signal for the hearing impaired.”
UL STANDARD 1971 The UL standard governing all public mode
fire applications as of April 1, 1994. A performance standard.
Includes specific light output and distribution requirements to
ensure illumination throughout an area defined by NFPA 72.
Minimum flash rate of 1/3 to 3 flashes per second. Categorizes
minimum light intensities by area: non-sleeping (15 cd),
corridor (15 cd) and sleeping areas (110 cd (wall) or
177 cd (ceiling).
VOLTAGE DROP The decrease in voltage from the beginning of a
circuit to the end of a circuit due to resistance.
NFPA 72 CHAPTER 6 The chapter of the National Fire Alarm
Code detailing installation standards for strobe lights.
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How Did We Get
Where We Are Today?
Visible fire alarm signaling appliances, with a
light intensity of .3 to 15 candela and a flash
rate of 1/3 to 3 flashes per second, have been
in use since the late 1970’s. Some 15 million
of these strobes are installed in the United
States today.
1983: UL Standard 1638
In response to the increasing usage of these
devices, Underwriter’s Laboratories (UL)
Standard 1638 was developed in 1983 and the
first National Fire Protection Association
guidelines for strobe installation were published
shortly thereafter (NFPA 72G 1985, Guide for
the Installation, Maintenance and Use of
Notification Appliances).
1990: Americans with
Disabilities Act
Passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act
(ADA) by Congress in 1990 was designed to
assure access to public facilities to persons
with physical disabilities. The requirements of
the act went into effect for public accommodations
on January 26, 1992. The Act includes
provisions and standards for visible (and audible)
signaling devices designed for the protection of
the hearing impaired.
How NEMA is Helping
At the same time that the ADA made its way
through Congress, the Fire Signaling Section of
the National Electrical Manufacturers Association
(NEMA), the U.S. Fire Administration and
Soroptimists International underwrote and
engaged UL to perform a research project
(which served as the foundation for UL
Standard 1971) on emergency signaling for the
hearing impaired. Published in June of 1993,
the study found strobe signals to be an
effective way of alerting the target group. The
results also called for a “polar” light output
pattern - a vertical and horizontal dispersion
from the device - to assure that the flashes
were noticed even when not viewed directly.
The research recommended that the required
light intensity should be determined by the
area to be signaled and the placement of the
strobe on wall or ceiling.
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1993: UL Standard 1971
UL announced Standard 1971 (Standard for
Signaling for the Hearing Impaired), effective
June of 1993, with differing requirements than
those of the ADA. UL 1971 was developed in
order to provide a performance standard for
more effective alerting and protection of
individuals with hearing impairment. The
standard established specific light distribution
requirements and minimum intensities and
flash rates for non-sleeping, corridor and
sleeping areas. The standard was based on
actual hearing impaired subjects in both
non-sleeping and sleeping situations.
The original intent of Underwriter’s
Laboratories was to relegate UL 1638 listed
appliances to general and private mode
signaling as of January 1, 1994. This date was
extended to April 1, 1994. After this date, only
devices bearing the “Standard UL 1971 For the
Hearing Impaired” label and those devices
manufactured prior to the April 1, 1994 date
are suitable for public mode fire applications
and comply with the ADA.
NFPA/ANSI Involvement
Based on the findings of the UL 1971 study, a
technical committee of the National Fire
Protection Association (NFPA) developed
installation, spacing and placement standards
which can be found in Chapter 6 of the
National Fire Alarm Code (NFPA 72 1993).
These standards were then incorporated into
the American National Standards Institute
Standards (ANSI 117.1 1992, The American
National Standard for Building and Facilities
Providing Accessibility and Usability for
Physically Handicapped People) and
subsequently have been referenced in the
latest editions of all U.S. model building codes
including the National Building Code (BOCA),
the Standard Building Code (SBCCI) and the
Uniform Building Code (ICBO).
Since April 1, 1994
The focus of the industry, the hard of hearing
community and the EFA, since April 1, 1994,
has been the education and the development
of consistency between the ADA, UL 1971,
ANSI 117.1 and NFPA 72. This search for consistency gave rise to the Visible Alarms
Coalition and its White Paper. The paper,
reviewed by the NFPA 72 Technical
Committees and the ADAAG Review Advisory
Committee in the spring of 1995.
This White Paper and the subsequent reviews,
resulted in a final report by the ADAAG Federal
Advisory Committee titled “Recommendations
for a New ADAAG”. This report recommends,
in essence, that the ADAAG’s notification
appliance requirements follow NFPA 72
Chapter 6. Another action taken from this
White Paper was NFPA’s adoption of a new
flash rate (1 - 2 Hz) in 1996 as well as
addressing the issue of strobe synchronization.
ANSI 117.1 is also expected to follow NFPA’s
lead by adopting recommendations of the
White Paper.
As of February, 1997, “The Recommendations
for a New ADAAG” had not gone through the
rule making process. However, its acceptance
as the new ADAAG for notification appliances
is expected in 1998.
17
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NEED MORE INFORMATION?
System Sensor
Sales and Technical Assistance
1-800- SENSOR2
(1-800-736-7672)
http://www.systemsensor.com
U.S. Architectural and
Transportation Compliance Board
(the Access Board)
1-800-USA-ABLE
(1-800-872-2253)
Voice: (202) 272-5434
TTY: (202) 272-5449
Fax: (202) 272-5447
New Construction and Alterations
Under ADAAG and UFAS
1-800-USA-ABLE
(1-800-872-2253)
Department of Justice
Disability Rights Division
Phone: (800) 514-0301
Fax: (202) 307-1198
TDD: (800) 514-0383
System Sensor
A Division of Pittway
3825 Ohio Avenue
St. Charles, IL 60174
Sales: (630) 377-6363
Fax: (630) 377-6495
System Sensor
A Division of Pittway Corporation of Canada
6581 Kitimat Road, Unit 7
Mississauga, Ontario
Canada L5N 3T5
Phone: (905) 812-0767
Fax: (905) 812-0771
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