American Alarms Blog

PotterNet wins Campus Safety BEST Award 2019!

by Adam Jacobs 9/21/2022

Campus Safety Magazine has awarded Potter with a Campus Safety BEST Award in the category of Fire/Life Safety Systems for the PotterNet Graphical Monitoring Control Software.

 

American Alarms is proud to provide Potter fire alarm systems, made in St. Louis, Missouri.  For more information on PotterNet and the award click the link below:

https://www.pottersignal.com/news/106/potternet-wins-campus-safety-best-award-2019

 

For more information on Potter for your next project, call American Alarms.

 

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Do wireless fire alarm systems really work?

by Adam Jacobs 9/21/2022

Wireless alarm systems have been around for over 30 years.  CWSI is the leader in commercial wireless fire alarm systems, for a number of reasons - wider acceptance, reliability, and experience.  They have been developing their low-frequency wide spectrum RF technology for over 30 years.  In some projects, wireless makes the most sense because it saves labor and can go where wires can't.  Attached is an article from fire protection engineer Lynn Nielson, PE.  This article demystifies many of the confusing aspects of wireless fire alarms.

cp-engineer-article.pdf (617.17 kb)

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What is the REAL cost?

by Adam Jacobs 9/21/2022

Whenever I get into a discussion with a customer about the cost of our products or services, we eventually get to the REAL cost of doing business with someone who does not do EVERYTHING possible to protect the customer.  What do I mean?  Here are some of the things American Alarms does to make sure our customers don't get into regulatory, legal, or even life-threatening danger.

- We buy products that we trust, we use, and have the best guarantees/warranties we can find.  When a system is designed for your life safety and/or security, you want parts that are as reliable as possible.

- We buy as many products from LOCAL manufacturers and vendors as we can and still offer the products our customers want.  This takes extra time and effort to seek out sometimes, but it's worth it to us.  It makes me feel good to know I can jump in the car and drive to this vendor's office in less than a day if needed.

- We spend thousands of dollars every year on technical and administrative training for our employees.  We feel this is a great investment in the people that we depend upon every day.

- We make sure EVERY field technician that touches a customer's system is trained, certified, and licensed to do what they are doing.  If we didn't, we may never get caught, but we like to sleep at night.

- We use contracts/agreements written by the best ALARM INDUSTRY attorney in the country.  This protects us AND our customers, so we can both be around for a long time.

- We carry DOUBLE the insurance that most customers request.  Our carrier has us in the proper classification so that claims won't be denied.  We have a "fire protection" specialist at our carrier that understands our business, lingo, and negotiates claims on our behalf.  We've had one claim in the last 10 years and that claim was proven "unfounded" and was never paid.

- We take responsibility for our mistakes and we fix them, even if we lose money short-term.  We have never walked away from a project just because we underestimated the cost.  I can't promise we'll never make mistakes, we're human, but we'll own up to that mistake and make it right.

 

If your alarm company (or any vendor) can't say they do all of these things, are you really comparing costs equally?

 

What is the REAL cost of doing business with that company?

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Does every building need a fire alarm?

by Adam Jacobs 9/21/2022

I thought our area had some strict fire codes...until I read this article from Sweden.  The local officials there want the ice hotel, made entirely of frozen water, to have fire alarms!  Check out the full article at newsfeed.time.com

 

 

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Building Automation and Fire Alarms

by Adam Jacobs 9/21/2022

What if you could have the ability to network many or all of your building systems onto one network?  What if your HVAC systems talked to your fire alarm system and your access control system?  Well, this is possible.  BACnet, which is short for Building Automation and Control Network, allows communication between different types of systems on the same network.   To see an overview of how it works, click here: www.mircom.com/bacnet

 

For a complete list of vendors that use BACnet, go here: www.bacnet.org

 

 

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Get to Know Mircom Technologies Ltd.

by Adam Jacobs 9/21/2022

Our premier partner for building technologies is Mircom Group.  They are North America's largest independent manufacturer of building systems technologies.  Here's a short video from their president Mark Falbo.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nud9N8aePxg&feature=em-subs_digest

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What is the REAL cost?

by Adam Jacobs 9/21/2022

Whenever I get into a discussion with customer about the cost of our products or services, we eventually get to the REAL cost of doing business with someone who does not do EVERYTHING possible to protect the customer.  What do I mean?  Here are some of the things American Alarms does to make sure our customers don't get into regulatory, legal, or even life-threatening danger.

- We buy products that we trust, we use, and have the best guarantees/warranties we can find.  When a system is designed for your life safety and/or security, you want parts that are as reliable as possible.

- We buy as many products from LOCAL manufacturers and vendors as we can and still offer the products our customers want.  This takes extra time and effort to seek out sometimes, but it's worth it to us.

- We spend thousands of dollars every year on technical and administrative training for our employees.  We feel this is a great investment in the people that we depend upon every day.

- We make sure EVERY field technician that touches a customer's system is trained, certified, and licensed to do what they are doing.  If we didn't, we may never get caught, but we like to sleep at night.

- We use contracts/agreements written by the best ALARM INDUSTRY attorney in the country.  This protects us AND our customers, so we can both be around for a long time.

- We carry DOUBLE the insurance that most customers request.  Our carrier has us in the proper classification so that claims son't be denied.  We have a "fire protection" specialist at our carrier that understands our business, lingo, and negotiates claims on our behalf.  We've had one claim in the last 10 years and that claim was proven "unfounded" and was never paid.

- We take responsibility for our mistakes and we fix them, even if we lose money short-term.  We have never walked away from a project just because we underestimated the cost.  I can't promise we'll never make mistakes, we're human, but we'll own up to that mistake and make it right.

 

If your alarm company (or any vendor) can't say they do all of these things, are you really comparing costs equally?

 

What is the REAL cost of doing business with that company?

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How do you hide the fire alarm and still meet the codes?

by Adam Jacobs 9/21/2022

Where do you go when the owner and architect want one thing, but the fire codes require something else?  Well, Concealite has built a business around just that!  American Alarms is your local distributor for Concealite products that have helped architects and code officials find a reasonable compromise for years.  Imagine walking into a room where NONE of the fire alarm notification devices, emergency lighting, electrical wall outlets, security motion detectors, and even occupancy sensors are concealed in the wall.  Never before has it been this easy to design a space with a clean seamless look, but still meet all the electrical and life safety code requirements.  See the GIF and link below for more info on these incredible products.

 

http://www.concealite.com/emergency_fixtures.html

 

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2018 I-codes focus on CO, integrated testing, and mass notification

by Adam Jacobs 9/21/2022

Today Honeywell's industry affairs expert Richard Roberts presented a summary of the relevant changes in the new 2018 i-codes (IBC, IFC, IMC, IPMC, IEBC, and IRC).  Some of the focus areas are carbon monoxide detection, integrated systems testing, and mass notification systems.  Some quick notes of importance for fire alarm design:

Section 901

Integrated testing of fire protection systems tied to other life safety systems.  Fire alarm and HVAC, sprinkler and fire alarm, suppression systems and fire alarm, fire doors/smoke dampers and fire alarm, and other integrated systems gain clearer direction for testing.

Section 907

- Group A occupancy (assembly) requires a manual system when 100 or more people occupy levels above the discharge level.

- Multiple-channel voice evacuation is required for high-rises over 120' above fire department access level.

- Strobes are required in all habitable spaces (like LR with pull-out couch) in hotels and apartments designated hearing-impaired/ADA.

- Manufacturer's maintenance recommendations will be enforced on smoke alarms, with a max life of 10 years.

Section 915

Some of the ambiguous language on placement of CO detectors has been replaced with clearer language.  CO detector required on ceiling above fuel-burning appliances.  More thought and direction is given to existing buildings and CO detection. 

NFPA 101 and NFPA 1 also added some new language and sections regarding CO detection for almost every type of public occupancy class.

New language like "...spaces served by the first supply air register from a fuel-burning HVAC system..." has been added to clarify placement of CO detectors.

Section 917 

Requirements for mass notifications systems, particularly those defined by an NFPA 72 Risk Analysis.

 

FOR  THE FULL PRESENTATION, SEE THE ATTACHED LINK BELOW.

Changes_to_2018_Model_Codes.pdf (795.13 kb)

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Sleep Safe - a little planning goes a long way

by Adam Jacobs 9/21/2022

Tuck has some great information on everything to do with sleep, including fire safety in the bedroom.  Here are a few tips for better safety:

 

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