Heads up: There are no amended sections in this chapter.
The application, installation, and performance of emergency communications systems and their components shall comply with the requirements of this chapter.
The requirements of this chapter shall apply to emergency communications systems within buildings and outdoor areas.
The requirements of this chapter shall not apply to Chapter 29 unless specifically indicated.
This chapter establishes minimum required levels of performance, reliability, and quality of installation for emergency communications systems but does not establish the only methods by which these requirements are to be achieved.
An emergency communications system is intended to communicate information about emergencies including, but not limited to, fire, human-caused events (accidental and intentional), other dangerous situations, accidents, and natural disasters.
All users of systems that have microphones for live voice announcements shall be provided with posted instructions for using the microphone.
Loudspeakers used for emergency communications system functions also providing ancillary functions shall meet the conditions of either 184.108.40.206(1) or (2):
- The fire command center or the emergency command center as applicable shall be constantly attended by trained personnel, and selective paging is permitted by the authority having jurisdiction.
- All of the following conditions shall be met:
- The loudspeakers and associated audio equipment are installed or located with safeguards to resist tampering or misadjustment of those components essential for intended emergency notification.
- The monitoring integrity requirements of 10.6.9 and Sections 10.19 and 12.6 continue to be met while the system is used for non-emergency purposes.
Based on the emergency response plan, emergency messages shall have content that provides information and instructions to people in the building, area, site, or installation.
As a minimum, the proposed verbiage of prerecorded messages shall be in the official spoken language acceptable to the authority having jurisdiction.
Test messages shall clearly state the phrase "This is a test."
Emergency communications systems (ECS) shall be designated as one-way or two-way.
One-way emergency communications systems shall consist of one or more of the following:
Two-way emergency communications systems shall consist of one or more of the following:
- Two-way, in-building wired emergency services communications systems (see Section 24.8)
- Two-way radio communications enhancement systems (see Section 24.9)
- Area of refuge (area of rescue assistance) emergency communications systems (see Section 24.10)
- Stairway communications systems (see Section 24.10)
- Elevator landing communications systems (see Section 24.10)
- Occupant evacuation elevator lobby communications systems (see Section 24.10)
Emergency communications used for mass notification shall be categorized into layers and take into consideration type of audience and reach as follows:
- Layer 1 relates to means of notification of occupants by systems/equipment installed inside a building and controlled only by authorized users (in-building ECS)
- Layer 2 relates to means of notification of occupants on the exterior of a building and controlled only by authorized users (wide-area MNS)
- Layer 3 relates to means of notification of personnel through individual measures (distributed recipient MNS)
- Layer 4 relates to means of notification of personnel by public measures (broadcast radio, television, and so forth)
Design documents in accordance with Section 7.3 shall be prepared prior to installation of any new system.
Systems that are altered shall have design documents prepared that apply to the portions of the system that are altered.
Each application of a mass notification system shall be specific to the nature and anticipated risks of each facility for which it is designed.
The designer shall consider both fire and non-fire emergencies when determining risk tolerances for survivability for the mass notification system.
The risk analysis shall consider the number of persons, type of occupancy, and perceived peril to occupants.
The analysis shall be based on the maximum occupant load calculation for every occupiable room, building, area, space, campus, or region is expected to contain.
The risk analysis shall consider characteristics of the buildings, areas, spaces, campuses or regions, equipment, and operations that are not inherent in the design specifications.
The risk analysis shall consider the following types of potential events, which are not all-inclusive but reflect the general categories that shall be considered in the risk analysis:
- Natural hazards — Geological events
- Natural hazards — Meteorological events
- Natural hazards — Biological events
- Human caused — Accidental events
- Human caused — Intentional events
- Technological — Caused events
In-building fire emergency voice/alarm communications systems shall comply with 220.127.116.11.1 or 18.104.22.168.2.
Two-way in-building wired emergency communication systems that are installed where the building has 2-hour fire-rated construction or greater shall have a pathway survivability of Level 2 or 3.
Area of refuge wired emergency communication systems that are installed where the building has 2-hour fire-rated construction or greater shall have a pathway survivability of Level 2 or 3.
The in-building fire emergency voice/alarm communications system shall be used to provide an automatic response to the receipt of a signal indicative of a fire alarm or other emergency.
In-building fire emergency voice/alarm communications systems shall be permitted to use positive alarm sequence complying with 22.214.171.124.
The tone preceding any message shall be permitted to be a part of the voice message or to be transmitted automatically from a separate tone generator.
In areas where sleeping accommodation are provided, but the voice communication system is used to communicate to occupants who are awake, the low frequency tone shall not be required.
Audible signal tones for alert or evacuation shall meet the audibility requirements of either 18.4.4 (public mode audible requirements), 18.4.5 (private mode audible requirements), 126.96.36.199 and 188.8.131.52 (sleeping area requirements), or 18.4.7 (narrow band tone signaling for exceeding masked thresholds), as applicable.
Controls for the in-building fire emergency voice/alarm communications system shall be at a location approved by the authority having jurisdiction.
Controls shall be located or secured to allow access only by trained and authorized personnel.
If there are multiple in-building fire emergency voice/alarm communications control locations, only one shall be in control at any given time.
The location having control of the system shall be identified by a visual indication at that location.
Manual controls shall be arranged to provide visual indication of the on/off status for their associated signaling zone.
If live voice instructions are provided, they shall perform as follows:
- They shall override previously initiated signals to the selected notification zone.
- They shall have priority over any subsequent automatically initiated signals to the selected notification zone.
- If a previously initiated recorded message is interrupted by live voice instructions, upon release of the microphone, the previously initiated recorded messages to the selected notification zones shall not resume playing automatically unless required by the emergency response plan.
Notification appliances required to provide special suppression predischarge notification shall not be overridden by other systems.
The fire alarm system shall not automatically override emergency mass notification messages.
Systems shall be provided with manual voice transmission capabilities selectively to one or more notification zones or on an all-call basis.
The requirements of 184.108.40.206 shall apply to both audible (tone and voice) and visual notification appliance circuits.
All circuits necessary for the operation of the notification appliances shall be protected until they enter the notification zone that they serve by the protection provided by the pathway survivability level required in 220.127.116.11.1 or by performance alternatives approved by the authority having jurisdiction.
Where the separation of in-building fire emergency voice/alarm control equipment locations results in the portions of the system controlled by one location being dependent upon the control equipment in other locations, the circuits between the dependent controls shall be protected against attack by fire by the protection provided by the pathway survivability level required in 18.104.22.168.1 or by performance alternatives approved by the authority having jurisdiction.
Protection of circuits between redundant control equipment locations that are not mutually dependent shall not be required.
Where the separation of the in-building fire emergency voice/alarm control equipment occurs as in 22.214.171.124.4, and where the circuits are run through junction boxes, terminal cabinets or control equipment, such as system control units, power supplies and amplifiers, and where cable integrity is not maintained, these components shall, in addition to the pathway survivability required by 126.96.36.199.1, be protected by using one of the following methods:
The requirements of Section 24.5 shall apply to mass notification systems installed in buildings or structures for the purpose of notifying and instructing occupants in an emergency.
In-building emergency mass notification operation shall be permitted to be initiated by manual or automatic means.
Mass notification system activation shall initiate recorded messages or live voice and visual notification.
The priority level of recorded messages shall be determined by the emergency response plan.
Activation of any other recorded message shall not interfere with the operation of fire alarm notification.
If there are multiple control locations, only one shall be in control at any given time.
If there are multiple control locations, a visual indication shall be provided at all other control locations indicating that another control location is in use.
Manual controls shall be arranged to provide visual indication of the on/off status for their associated notification zone.
During the period after the mass notification system has seized control of the audible and visual notification appliances, but before the mass notification system relinquishes control, the mass notification system shall activate the audible and visual notification appliances at least once every 30 seconds.
The mass notification system shall provide for live voice and prerecorded localized messaging within a protected individual building, areas surrounding the building, and other outdoor designated areas.
If the mass notification system serves more than one building, it shall be capable of providing separate messages to one individual building or to multiple buildings at any given time.
Priority levels shall be established on the basis of the risk analysis.
Non-fire emergency manual actuating stations (boxes) shall be listed to ANSI/UL 2017, Standard for General-Purpose Signaling Devices and Systems.
The use of lock wire seals or break-glass-type enclosures to house the operating consoles for the system, or equivalent protection against unauthorized use, shall be permitted.
If there are multiple control locations, only one shall be in control at any given time.
The location having control of the system shall be identified by a visual indication at that location.
Manual controls shall be permitted to provide visual indication of the on/off status for their associated notification zone.
The emergency message shall be an all-call basis unless otherwise permitted by 188.8.131.52.
The priority of mass notification messages shall be established using the emergency response plan.
After the mass notification system relinquishes control, the following shall occur:
Controls that are intended to be accessed by authorized users shall be mounted in accordance with 24.5.14.
LOC controls, including switches, microphone, latches, and so forth, shall be located above the finished floor a minimum of 36 in. (910 mm) and a maximum of 48 in. (1.22 m) where the horizontal reach is less than 10 in. (254 mm).
If a horizontal reach of 10 in. (254 mm) to 24 in. (610 mm) is required, the maximum elevation shall be limited to 42 in. (1.07 m) above the finished floor and the minimum elevation shall be limited to 28 in. (711 mm).
Text and visual indicators, including lamps, screens, displays, instructions, or labels, associated with control or operation shall be visible within all points of elevation between 40 in. (1.02 m) and 60 in. (1.52 m) above the finished floor.
Where audible notification is provided, mass notification systems shall also provide visual notification information to serve the hearing impaired and for high-noise areas.
Transmission of visual notification and messages shall be simultaneous to audible notification and messages.
Visual notification appliances used in combination systems where the same visual notification appliance is used for both mass notification and fire notification shall comply with the following:
- Be clear or nominal white, meeting the listing requirements of ANSI/UL 1971, Standard for Signaling Devices for the Hearing Impaired
- Have no marking or be marked with the word "ALERT" stamped or imprinted on the appliance
- Be visible to the public
In situations where existing notification appliances previously used exclusively for fire alarm applications, and are marked with the word "FIRE," and are to be used for other emergency notification purposes, field modification to the marking shall be permitted, provided that it is accomplished by one of the following methods:
- Replacement of the manufacturer's approved escutcheon or trim plate
- Covering of, or removal of, the word "FIRE" using a manufacturer's approved method
- Installation of a permanent sign directly adjacent or below the notification appliance indicating that it is multipurpose and will operate for fire and other emergency conditions
Visual notification appliances with colored lenses shall be marked with the listed effective intensity using the lens color installed.
Where visual notification appliances are used solely for mass notification, the word "ALERT" shall be stamped or imprinted on the appliance and be visible to the public.
Visual notification appliances with nominal white light output that are listed to ANSI/UL 1971, Standard for Signaling Devices for the Hearing Impaired, and visual notification appliances with other than nominal white light output that are listed to ANSI/UL 1638, Visible Signaling Devices for Fire Alarm and Signaling Systems, Including Accessories, shall be considered as meeting the intent of this Code.
Textual and graphical visual notification appliances shall be permitted to be used for primary or supplemental notification.
Textual and graphical visual notification shall be considered to be primary notification where it is the only method used to convey emergency mass notification information to the general public or to specific individuals.
Primary and supplemental textual and graphical visual appliances shall meet the requirements of Chapter 18.
Textual and graphical visual appliances shall be permitted to be used for nonemergency purposes.
Emergency textual and graphical messages shall override nonemergency textual and graphical messages.
Video display systems that provide alerts and messages to video appliances shall be permitted to be used to supplement mass notification.
Supplemental notification shall be permitted to provide additional information or more detailed instructions than those transmitted by the primary notification means.
The fire alarm control interface shall coordinate signals to and from each system to accomplish the following:
- Indicate the failure at the system control unit that will be impaired
- Provide an audible and distinctive visual indication at the affected FACU(s) to indicate the MNS is active.
- Cause the fire alarm system to deactivate all audible and visual notification appliances whose operation could interfere with the intelligibility of the mass notification message or that will deliver conflicting information to occupants
- Not permit the fire alarm system to turn off audible and visual notification appliances for special suppression predischarge notification required by 184.108.40.206
- Where required by the emergency response plan or by other governing laws, codes, or standards, or by other parts of this Code, or by the authority having jurisdiction, provide for a supervisory signal to a supervising station with a response as directed by the emergency response plan that is indicative of the mass notification system overriding the fire alarm system notification appliances during simultaneous fire and mass notification events
The in-building mass notification system shall not be activated or controlled by a wide-area mass notification system, unless the wide-area mass notification system also meets the design and performance requirements of this chapter or has been deemed to be acceptable by the risk analysis and the authority having jurisdiction.
Evaluation documentation in accordance with 7.3.9 shall be provided by the emergency communications system designer attesting to the fact that the public address system has been evaluated and meets the needs of the emergency response plan and, where not compliant with the prescriptive requirements of Chapter 24, shall provide equivalent system performance requirements.
When a public address system is used to deliver mass notification messages, the public address system shall provide (either internally as a design feature or with an approved or listed external controller) for a signal to control the facility's fire alarm system for the purpose of deactivating the fire alarm audible and visual notification appliances in accordance with 220.127.116.11.
All of the following features shall be provided in, or added to, the public address system:
- Emergency messages must have priority over nonemergency messages.
- All individual or zone loudspeaker volume controls must default to the emergency sound level when used for an emergency mass notification message.
- When monitoring of circuit integrity is provided by the public address system, monitoring must continue, even if local loudspeaker volume controls are placed in the "off" position.
- The required visual notification appliance network (i.e., visual notification appliances and textual signs) must be provided where required.
Where required by the emergency response plan, multiple languages shall be permitted to be used.
Wide-area mass notification systems shall have multiple levels of password protection access control, including levels for system administrators, system operators, maintainers, supervisors, and executives, or other means to limit access to system controls shall be provided based on the emergency response plan.
An HPLA shall operate in the environment in which it is located, considering such factors as temperature, humidity, wind, dust, vibration, and other environmental factors.
Enclosures for HPLAs shall be of the NEMA 4 or 4X type.
HPLAs shall be mounted at a minimum mounting height that is based on the rated output of the array.
HPLAs shall be installed at a height and orientation to prevent hearing damage to anyone in the immediate vicinity of the appliances.
All external conductors (conductors passing outside of the HPLA equipment cabinet) shall be provided with surge suppression to minimize potential equipment damage from lightning strikes.
Scrolling message boards shall be provided with means to control the scrolling rate.
Interfaces between wide-area mass notification systems and in-building mass notification systems, other alert and notification systems, regional mass notification systems, and off-site interfaces shall have a standard interface method (such as an audio line-level output and multiple relay contacts) or supply the necessary communications protocols to provide interoperability and a secure communications link.
The interface shall be such that the primary function of both systems shall not be compromised.
The wide-area mass notification system, including communications links, shall minimize the potential for interference from jamming, spoofing, hacking, eavesdropping, or other malicious acts.
The wide-area mass notification system shall have a primary and redundant communications link with minimal functional and spatial interconnection with each other.
Wide-area and in-building mass notification systems equipment and interface methods connecting to or utilizing public emergency alarm reporting systems and associated communications infrastructure shall be electrically and operationally compatible so as not to interfere with the public emergency alarm reporting systems.
The DRMNS shall be capable of sending alert messages to target recipients.
DRMNSs shall be installed behind the appropriate Internet system firewalls to protect the integrity of the network.
The network shall be provided with net-centric architecture that fully supports local designated standards and security requirements.
The DRMNS shall be capable of sending alert messages to end users (recipients) via multiple delivery methods.
A DRMNS used to send emergency messages shall be provided with a backup configuration to facilitate distribution of messages.
Two-way telephone communications equipment shall be listed for two-way telephone communications service and installed in accordance with Section 24.8.
Two-way telephone communications service, if provided, shall be for use by the fire service and collocated with the in-building fire emergency voice/alarm communications equipment.
Additional uses shall be permitted to include signaling and communications for a building fire warden organization and signaling and communications for reporting a fire and other emergencies (e.g., voice call box service, signaling, and communications for guard's tour service).
Variation of equipment and system operation provided to facilitate additional use of the two-way telephone communications service shall not adversely affect performance when used by the fire service.
Two-way telephone communications service shall be capable of permitting the simultaneous operation of any five telephone stations in a common talk mode.
A means for silencing the audible call-in signal sounding appliance shall be permitted, where both of the following conditions are met:
In buildings provided with a two-way telephone communications system, at least one telephone station or jack shall be provided at the following locations:
If the two-way telephone system is intended to be used by fire wardens in addition to the fire service, the minimum requirement shall be a selective talk system, where phones are selected from the control location.
If the control equipment provided does not indicate the location of the caller (common talk systems), each telephone station or telephone jack shall be clearly and permanently labeled to allow the caller to identify his or her location to the control center by voice.
If telephone jacks are provided, two or more portable handsets, as determined by the authority having jurisdiction, shall be stored at each control center for use by emergency responders.
Wall-mounted telephone appliances or related jacks shall be not less than 36 in. (910 mm) and not more than 66 in. (1.68 m) above floor level with clear access to the appliance that is at least 30 in. (760 mm) wide.
If accessible to the general public, one telephone appliance per location shall be not more than 48 in. (1.22 m) above floor level.
All in-building two-way radio communications enhancement systems shall be designed, installed, and maintained in accordance with NFPA 1221.
When a remote communications station(s) is activated by a building occupant(s), a two-way live voice communication shall be required to operate between the remote communications station(s) and a constantly attended location.
The master control unit shall be installed in a central control point within the building.
If the central control point is not constantly attended, the master control unit shall have a timed automatic communications capability to connect with an off-site constantly attended monitoring location approved by the authority having jurisdiction, where trained personnel can initiate the appropriate response.
In the event of an off-site connection, a signal shall be transmitted to the off-site monitoring location, identifying the specific building prior to initiating the live voice two-way communication.
Instructions for the use of the two-way communications system, instructions for summoning assistance via the two-way communications system, and written identification, including in braille, of the location shall be posted adjacent to each remote communications station.
The requirements of Section 24.11 shall apply to the communications methods and equipment used to receive and transmit information between premises sources or premises systems and the emergency command center(s).
The emergency command center shall contain the following:
- The in-building fire emergency voice/alarm communications system equipment including:
- Area of refuge (area of rescue assistance) emergency communications systems equipment
- Elevator emergency communications systems equipment
- Distributed recipient MNS control stations where provided
- Tables and chairs to accommodate emergency management staff
- Other equipment/information deemed necessary by the facility emergency response plan such as:
- Displays indicating the location of the elevators and whether they are operational
- Status indicators and controls for air-handling systems
- Fire fighter's control panel for smoke control systems
- Fire department communications unit
- Controls for unlocking stairway doors simultaneously
- Security systems
- Emergency and standby power status indicators
- Telephone for emergency use with controlled access to the public telephone system
- Schematic building plans indicating the typical floor plan and detailing the building core, means of egress, fire protection systems, security systems, fire-fighting equipment, and fire department access
- Generator supervision devices, manual start, and transfer features
- Other monitoring, control, information display, and management systems associated with operation of the ECC
Individuals expected to operate an emergency communications system shall be properly trained in the purpose, functions, procedures, and anticipated actions of such systems.
The signals shall be selectable to individual buildings; zones of buildings; individual outdoor loudspeaker arrays; zones of outdoor loudspeaker arrays; or a building, multiple buildings, outside areas, or a combination of these, in accordance with the emergency response plan established for the premises.
The emergency command center shall be capable of interfacing with and controlling other notification systems, such as telephone dialers, tone alert systems, computer network alerting systems, pagers, facsimile machines, textual devices, and other visual control signs, as determined by the emergency response plan.
The requirements of Section 24.12 shall apply to mass notification systems designed using performance-based practices.
The performance-based design shall meet the following goals and objectives:
- The design criteria, design brief, system performance, and testing criteria are developed in accordance with this section.
- The system disseminates information to the target audience in an accurate and timely manner.
- The design and performance criteria are specific to the nature and anticipated risks of each location.
- Message initiation can be effected by all responding entities responsible for the safety and security of those affected by the events of concern.
The authority having jurisdiction shall make the final determination as to whether the performance objectives have been met.
The design features required for the system to continue to meet the performance goals and objectives of this Code shall be maintained for the life of the building.
All designs shall meet the goals and objectives specified in 24.12.1 and shall be considered equivalent, provided that the performance criterion in 18.104.22.168 is met, the design team concurs with the design, and the risk analysis considers the following factors:
- Number of persons to be notified
- Occupancy characteristics
- Anticipated threat
- Staff capabilities
- Coordination with the emergency response plan
The performance criterion shall include timely and accurate notification of all persons within the boundaries of the mass notification system in a medium to which they can respond when given directions by responding entities.
The performance of the system shall reflect the documented performance and reliability of the components of those systems or features, unless design specifications are incorporated to modify the expected performance.
The design of the mass notification system shall include the preparation of a design brief that is prepared utilizing recognized performance-based design practices.
Design specifications and briefs used in the performance-based design shall be clearly stated and shown to be realistic and sustainable.
Specific testing requirements that are necessary to maintain reliable performance shall be stated in the design brief.