American Alarms Blog

Des Moines adopting new fire codes soon

by Adam Jacobs 7/21/2020
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.

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Severe Weather and Your Fire Alarm

by Adam Jacobs 7/21/2020
Severe weatheiinevitableand so ithneetensure that automatifire alarm systems are restoretfulworkinconditioaquicklapossiblaftethemergency iover. Here are a fetips thelfacility managers anauthoritiehavinjurisdictiodealinwitthiissue.
Prolonged Power Outage
Fire alarm systems havbackupowedesignetkeethe systeworkindurinthloss oprimary powefor a periootimeHowever, a prolongepoweoutagcadraibatterieand other backupower sources. Batteriewhich are drained completely manobabltbe reused. Be sure that albackupower supplieartestetensure theiabilittfunction properlohavthem replaced. 
Exposture to Flood Water
Fire alarm systems and manotheir componentare especially susceptiblto moisture damageAnytime wirinor componentare completely submersed, a thorouginspection, at a minimumis criticalOften componentnodesignefor a weenvironmenwilhavtbe replacedManufacturers of componentanequipment caprovidvaluablinformatioithis caseKeein minddamagfrom corrosioanotheeffectof moisture intrusion manot be seefor some time.
Lightning Strike/Significant Power Surge
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Monitoring Service
Once thfire alarm systeitselhabeeinspectedtesteanibacifull serviceattention shoulturn to monitoringTypicallyphonlineand cellular communications systemare some othfirst systems to come bacafter a majoweather emergencybuthose lineof communicatiobetweethprotectepremiseand monitorinfacilitneetbverifiedThiiespecialltruwitwireless mesh aninternet-based communication systems.
Antime inspectioantestinofire alarm systems ibeindonethe requirementoNFP72®, NationaFire Alarm anSignalinCodappland shoulbfollowed. Jusaimportant awhaibeindone, iwhiperforminthinspectioantesting. A qualifiealartechnician shoulalwaybe consulted. 

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Design Starts With Knowing Occupancy Type

by Adam Jacobs 7/21/2020

Whenever I sit down to design a fire alarm system, the first thing I have to remember is...what type of occupancy is this?  Some buildings are easy, like hotels.  Some mixed-use buildings can be very challenging to even know WHAT type of occupancy the building will be.  If I have complete architectural drawings (that's a big IF) sometimes there are enough clues.  But sometimes it takes lots of phone calls before I know how to start the fire alarm design, or if fire alarm will even be required.  Linked below is a handy reference that compares IBC and NFPA occupancy classifications.  

 

http://americanfirealarms.com/file.axd?file=%2f2018%2f01%2fNFPA+Occupancy+Types+vs+IBC+Occupancy+Groups.pdf

 

 

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5 Things Facilities Managers Need To Know About Hurricane Clean-up

by Adam Jacobs 7/21/2020

Our friends at NFPA have published an informational article for facility managers who are responsible for the safety in a building.  When that building has just been damaged by a hurricane, their job becomes one hundred times harder.  This article gives some great tips and things to consider.

https://community.nfpa.org/community/nfpa-today/blog/2017/09/11/5-things-a-facility-manager-should-consider-when-preparing-responding-and-recovering-from-a-major-hurricane

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