American Alarms Blog

Cold weather creates challenges for fire fighters.

by Adam Jacobs 7/16/2020

In recent Des Moines area fires, first responders have some extra challenges because of the sub-zero temperatures.  Here are links to some new stories recently:

https://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/news/2017/12/18/two-transported-hospital-following-river-bend-neighborhood-fire/960355001/

 

https://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/news/crime-and-courts/2018/01/02/cause-urbandale-condo-fire-may-always-unknown-says-fire-chief/996721001/

 

http://whotv.com/2018/01/05/mother-three-kids-safe-after-fire-at-west-des-moines-hotel/

 

Be sure your fire alarm and other life safety systems are working properly, so fire departments and paramedics have as much time as possible to help occupants in the building.

 

 

 

 

| To the top |

Mircom Technologies - Unified Solution for Property Managers

by Adam Jacobs 7/16/2020

Mircom Technologies now offers an unmatched suite of security and communication products for apartment buildings, condos, hotels, and other multi-tenant buildings.  Imagine having card access, visitor entry, cameras, fire alarm, and other systems managed from ONE web-based software.  Since Mircom makes all of these products (in North America) they are the leader in the integration of these systems.  Here is a link to their website for more info, and some short videos on how it all works:

http://www.mircom.com/integrated-systems.html

 

Call American Alarms for information on how these products can help you.

 

| To the top |

What's the elevator got to do with it?

by Adam Jacobs 7/16/2020

Again today we got to the end of a project and sure enough, the installing electricians had zero notice from the general contractor that there would need to be an elevator inspection for fire alarm function.  In the state of Iowa, there is a totally separate elevator inspection done by the state.  These inspectors focus only on the elevator function, elevator safety, and related safety issues.  This may not be the case in all states.  The fire alarm is supposed to control the following functions:

 

Primary Floor Recall

Secondary/Alternate Floor Recall

Shunt Trip

"Hat" light in car

Smoke Damper (many AHJs also want this to have manual override)

 

These may not all be required in all jurisdictions, but most want all 5.  These functions are only triggered by the elevator lobby smoke detectors, which are required to be within 21' of the elevator door (center) in the same smoke cavity/space.  So if there are fire doors that separate a corridor from the elevator lobby, you can't use the hallway smoke as your elevator lobby smoke because the header is likely more than 12".

 

Just remember, think about the elevator when you plan the project.  You'll need extra parts and extra time to make sure this important people transport is as safe as can be.

 

 

 

| To the top |

Hotel Fire Alarm Upgrade with Zero Downtime

by Adam Jacobs 7/16/2020

I just finished estimating a new wireless fire alarm system for a 66 room hotel, when it hit me.  We'll be able to make this system change with ZERO downtime on the fire alarm system.  In an existing building, with an existing system, the downtime is always a big concern.  Changing over from a hard-wired system, there is no way to do this with a new hard-wired system.  But with our wireless system from CWSI, we can do just that.  If you want an upgrade with no lost room rents, check out the CWSI wireless fire alarm systems.

| To the top |

Des Moines adopting new fire codes soon

by Adam Jacobs 7/16/2020
I went to the Des Moines Fire Dept this morning to see what will be coming down the road for new codes.  Here's summary of what they expect.
 
IFC and IBC 2018 - Central Iowa Code Consortium expects to receive all comments and requests for amendments by mid-August.  New codes, with local amendments will be sent to local governments for approval by December.  Early adopters (including Des Moines) will approve by March 2019
All CICC jurisdictions must approve by December 2019.
Pella is newest member of the CICC, which is now 18 communities.
 
Other sections with notable updates:
 
sec 510 - Emergency Responder Radio Coverage - Des Moines is still accepting fire fighter phones where their radios don't work, but may soon require RF boosters (DAS systems) in areas where they can't get 95% reliable coverage.
 
Sec 901 - Integrated systems must be tested TOGETHER at least once every 10 years.  Fire alarm plus suppression, wet sprinkler, HVAC, etc.
 
Spaces under grandstands/bleachers that are at least 1000 square feet and enclosed, must have full sprinkler coverage.
 
Sec 903.3.1.2.3 - Attics intended for living space or storage - sprinkler required. also where eave of roof is 55ft or more above egress level and made of combustible materials
 
Residential cooking appliances (see UL 300)
 
Sec 907.2.1 - Group A fire alarm requirements - 300 total occupancy OR if any level ABOVE the egress level has occupancy of 100 or more.
 
Sec 1010 - Locking arrangements in Group E and Group B occupancy, delayed egress
 
Chapter 11 - Existing buildings
Sec 1103 - Bars (drinking establishments) that hold more than 300 people
Sec 1103.9 - CO detection requirements
 
Call American Alarms if you have any questions about what is required in your building.

| To the top |

FireLite 9200UDLS and Notifier NFW2-100

by Adam Jacobs 7/16/2020

There a TON of these panels in use in central Iowa.  Recently a few we service were damaged beyond repair by storms with lightning.  We found out that FireLite's new ES-200X panel can be installed and connect to the same detectors, modules, etc.  However, the boards are a different footprint (doesn't mount in 9200UDLS cabinet) and the program would have to be rebuilt.  So then we have to decide - do we scour the planet for old stock 9200UDLS/NFW2-100 boards and panels, or just buy the current model and take extra time to install and program?  Fortunately we have an extensive network of distributors that we talk to regularly and we were able to find some old stock panels as exact replacements.  

This kind of thing happens once in a while with fire alarm (and other products).  When products become obsolete you have to make a decision and consider the customer's budget as well.  In a world of unlimited funds, the choice is easy.  So for most of our customers, they have to weigh their options carefully and make a wise choice (quickly).

Call us if you have trouble finding obsolete parts.  We have a better stock than anyone in central Iowa of many different brands.

| To the top |

Mircom TX3 series is affordable, flexible, and expandable door access

by Adam Jacobs 7/16/2020

Mircom Technologies TX3 series of products can control 1 to 64 doors on the same system, and network them so management is easy.  Add door contacts, request to exit buttons, mag-locks, electric door strikes, automatic openers, or any other option you need for a fully customized solution.  Add the TX3-IP card, shown below, for simple remote management on any Windows computer with internet.  TX3 allows the addition of iClass readers, biometric readers, picture badges, long-range UHF readers (up to 27 feet), and many other options for a full range of access solutions.  Call for more info on commercial door access solutions.

 

Picture by Jared Reese

Picture by Jared Reese

 

| To the top |

Remodeling may bring fire trucks

by Adam Jacobs 7/16/2020
I had a customer call today about this, so I thought it would be a good time to remind everyone.  If you are doing remodeling of any kind you should cover the smoke detectors and put your system on test while sawing, soldering, etc.  Here are some of the worst construction by-products that create false alarms:
 
- Soldering smoke
- Drywall dust (very fine)
- Hardwood dust (like oak, maple, cherry, etc.) used for trim/cabinets
- Final cleanup dust (which in commercial spaces usually includes drywall and concrete dust.)
 
Capping with the original dust covers will help some, but may not prevent all false alarms.  Bagging and taping is probably best, if the detector is very near the source of the dust/smoke.  Customer just needs to make sure these items are removed before a city official inspects for occupancy.

| To the top |

In Memory - 17 years ago

by Adam Jacobs 7/16/2020

I still remember watching the news coverage on September 11, 2001 after the first plane hit the World Trade Center.  My first thought was complete disbelief.  Then it changed to horror, as I watched people fleeing the scene covered in dust and blood.  I had a new respect for the first-responders that acted so bravely under pressure that day (and for days after).  I also had a new appreciation for the delicate balance of freedom and safety that we have in our country today.  How I felt that day is part of the reason I am SO proud to do my part in the life safety field.  I'm not comparing what I do (designing and servicing fire alarm systems) to what fire rescue and police personnel do every day.  But I do feel that our part is important, too.  I am also proud to assist these brave rescue personnel with a quicker response and better information once they get on scene.  I pray that nothing like that ever happens again.  If it does, my hope is that we can save even more lives with better technology, better procedures, and better communication.  

| To the top |

Fire protection in restaurants

by Adam Jacobs 7/16/2020

Here's some good information from our insurance friends at Markel for restaurant owners and managers:

 

https://www.markelinsurance.com/resources/fire-protection-systems-in-restaurants

 

Restaurants have some special requirements for fire protection.  Be sure you know what they are for your area, and have your systems inspected regularly so they work when you need them!

Most insurance companies offer discounts for properly maintained fire protection systems - range hoods with fire suppression, portable fire extinguishers, fire alarm, wet fire sprinklers, etc.

 

 

 

| To the top |

Copyright © 2016 · American Alarms, division of American Electrical Sales Corp. All Rights Reserved.

Powered by Genesis Core 2.3.4.5 | Des Moines Iowa Web Design by Wolf Creek Technology

Click for the BBB Business Review of this Fire & Smoke Alarm Systems in Des Moines IA