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3 August 2010 Contents 2 President s Message 3 Le message du président 4 From the Editor s Desk 5 En direct du rédacteur en chef 6 Chapter NEWS CFAA Alberta Technical Seminar 7 CFAA Vancouver Technical Seminar 8 Mass Notification Systems: Requirements and Trends 16 Chapter NEWS (cont'd) CFAA Alberta renews partnership with SAIT Polytechnic 21 CFAA Alberta Chapter Update 24 Systèmes de notification de masse: Exigences et tendances 33 Upcoming Events CFAA Membership Application Form 34 CFAA National 2010 Officers and Directors 35 CFAA Chapters 36 Advertising Rates/Index Maximize the Use and Effectiveness of Fire Alarm Systems in the Protection of Life and Property in Canada Volume 9. Number 3. The Journal is published four times per year in the interest of safety from fire, through the use of properly designed, installed and maintained Fire Detection and Alarm Systems. Association President: Gerry Landmesser Publisher: Allen Hodgson Advertising Coordinator: Ruth Kavanagh Publishing & Printing: Business & Office Centro, Inc. (905) Unless otherwise indicated, the opinions expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Canadian Fire Alarm Association. The Association hereby disclaims any liability resulting from information or advice given in articles or advertisements. Reproduction (for non-commercial purposes) of original articles appearing in this publication is encouraged, as long as the source credit is shown. Permission to reproduce articles from other sources must be obtained from the original source. All rights reserved. Front Cover Design: Thanks to Earl Muise for his assistance with the cover artwork. Comments, suggestions, letters and articles are always welcomed. Please send them to: Allen Hodgson, Editor-in-Chief Canadian Fire Alarm Association #5-85 Citizen Court Markham, Ontario, L6G 1A8 Tel: Toll Free: Fax: Advertising inquiries should be directed to: Ruth Kavanagh, Office Supervisor Tel: Toll Free: Fax: CANADIAN FIRE ALARM ASSOCIATION 1
4 August 2010 President s Message If my records are correct, my previous President s message was published in the Fall 2003 issue of our Journal. Much has changed since 2003, yet the key focal points of our association have not changed. In 2003 (and in fact since the inception of the CFAA on the 10th of July 1973), our focus has been on Education, Training, Communications and Outreach. Our Education Working Group, chaired by David Sylvester, has introduced new educational and training material to ever-higher standards. In addition to new materials, existing materials are in the process of redevelopment to these same higher standards. Over 1,700 Ontario-based Technicians have completed, or are in the process of completing the Codes and Standards Update (CSU) Course. The CSU course material was developed by CFAA and has been made available through George Brown College. Also, under the heading of education, by the end of this year, we will have presented at least three if not four Technical Seminars. We have already held our Ontario seminar that once again was a great success. Plans are well underway for Technical Seminars in Edmonton and Vancouver this coming October and possibly a 4th Seminar to be held in Montreal. Our Journal, as evidenced by this issue, continues to be a highly professional document with a circulation of almost 5,000 copies. The Journal, issue after issue, provides informative and topical information of value to our members and other members of our fire-safety industry. With great anticipation, we await completion and activation of our new website. Also with equal anticipation, our office personnel await the office relocation to nearby, larger premises. Last, but by no means least, we finally have our Ontario Chapter in place. We now have CFAA chapters in BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec. All going well, we hope to have a Nova Scotia or Maritime Chapter in place within the year, at which time, we can truly say that we have representation from coast to coast. With the Ontario Chapter in place, our National Board of Directors can now truly concentrate on those issues affecting all chapters and of course continue to support all chapters. This coming year will continue to be another exciting year with quite possibly even more technical seminars, strengthened support for the chapters, and ongoing development and improvement of our educational and training materials. We appreciate the ongoing support of our members and readers, and we will continue to support all, to the best of our abilities. Gerry Landmesser CFAA President 2 CANADIAN FIRE ALARM ASSOCIATION
5 Août 2010 Le message du président Si mes dossiers sont corrects, mon dernier message en tant que président a été publié dans le numéro de l automne 2003 de notre Journal. Même si beaucoup de choses ont changé depuis 2003, les principaux centres d intérêt de notre association sont demeurés les mêmes. Depuis 2003, et, en fait, depuis la création de l ACAI le 10 juillet 1973, nos activités sont centrées sur l éducation, la formation, les communications et les relations extérieures. Sous la présidence de David Sylvester, notre groupe de travail sur l éducation introduit de nouveaux matériels de formation et d éducation, d un niveau toujours supérieur. Parallèlement à cette nouvelle documentation, les documents existants sont en cours de révision pour les élever au même niveau. En Ontario, plus de techniciennes et techniciens ont déjà suivi, ou sont en train de suivre, le Cours de mise à jour sur les codes et les normes. La documentation de ce cours a été mise au point par l ACAI et le cours est offert par l intermédiaire du Collège George Brown. Par ailleurs, et toujours dans le domaine de l éducation, nous aurons présenté, d ici la fin de cette année, au moins trois séminaires techniques, si ce n est quatre. Nous avons déjà organisé notre séminaire ontarien qui, cette année encore, a remporté un franc succès. L organisation de séminaires techniques à Edmonton et Vancouver au mois d octobre prochain prend forme, et il est possible qu un quatrième séminaire soit organisé à Montréal. Notre Journal, comme en témoigne ce numéro, continue d être un document hautement professionnel, avec une distribution de près de exemplaires. Numéro après numéro, le Journal fournit des renseignements généraux et spécialisés très utiles pour nos membres et d autres membres de notre industrie de la sécurité-incendie. C est avec beaucoup d impatience que nous attendons l achèvement et la mise en ligne de notre nouveau site Web. De la même façon, notre personnel de bureau est impatient d aménager dans des locaux plus vastes, dans le même quartier. Finalement, notre section ontarienne est maintenant en place. Nous avons désormais des sections de l ACAI en Colombie- Britannique, en Alberta, en Saskatchewan, au Manitoba, en Ontario et au Québec. Si tout va bien, nous espérons avoir une section de la Nouvelle- Écosse ou des Maritimes en place cette année. Nous serons alors en mesure d affirmer que nous sommes véritablement représentés d un océan à l autre. Maintenant que la section ontarienne est opérationnelle, notre conseil d administration national peut concentrer ses efforts sur les questions communes et, bien entendu, maintenir son soutien à toutes les sections régionales. Cette année sera tout aussi passionnante que les précédentes, avec, possiblement, un nombre encore supérieur de séminaires techniques, un soutien renforcé aux sections régionales et le développement et l amélioration continus de notre matériel de formation et d éducation. Nous apprécions le soutien de nos membres et de nos lecteurs et nous continuerons de vous soutenir tous, le mieux possible. Gerry Landmesser CFAA President L'ASSOCIATION CANADIENNE D'ALARME INCENDIE 3
6 August 2010 From the Editor s Desk With the many potentially serious confrontations that seem to occur quite regularly around the world, the need for useful, instantaneous and reliable communications systems within and around buildings and groups of buildings is becoming quite evident. MASS Communications is the moniker used to describe such systems, and even though there are as yet no related codes and/or standards, such systems are already being installed in College Campuses (for example) and major public buildings. Certainly the time has come for us to learn much more about such systems. Don Boynowski has penned an excellent article on this subject, and it begins on page 8. Our Chapter activities have increased dramatically this past several months. So much so, that we have structured a Chapter News section on page 6. Here you will read about the B.C. Chapter offering another day-long Technical Seminar on October 14. You will see that Alberta is following up on their wildly successful 2009 Seminar in Calgary with another Seminar - this year on October 13. This 2010 Seminar will be held in Edmonton. A further announcement tells of an agreement with the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology to present our Technician Courses this coming semester. We encourage you to attend your local seminars. Contact the Chapter people, and volunteer to become actively involved in their activities perhaps even by joining one of the special committees. The Chapter people are deserving of your continuing support. Contact numbers are provided. Lots To Read About! Lots To Think About! Lots To Do If You Decide To Become An Active Supporter! And Why Not??? Yours in Fire Safety, Allen Hodgson, Editor-in-Chief 4 CANADIAN FIRE ALARM ASSOCIATION
7 Août 2010 En direct du rédacteur en chef Avec les nombreux incidents aux conséquences potentiellement graves qui surviennent fréquemment dans le monde, le besoin de systèmes de communications utiles, instantanées et fiables à l intérieur et aux alentours d un bâtiment ou d un groupe de bâtiments devient de plus en plus évident. «Notification de masse» est l expression utilisée pour décrire ces systèmes et même s il n existe pas encore de norme ou de code à ce sujet, des systèmes de ce genre sont déjà installés dans des campus universitaires (par exemple) ainsi que dans de grands édifices publics. Le moment est sans aucun doute venu pour nous d en apprendre davantage sur ces systèmes. Don Boynowski a rédigé un excellent article à ce sujet qui commence à la page 24. Les activités de nos sections régionales ont enregistré un nouvel élan au cours de ces derniers mois. À un point tel, que nous avons réservé un chapitre spécial sur les «Activités des sections» à la page 6. Vous y trouverez une annonce sur le séminaire technique d une journée que la section de C. B. organise le 14 octobre. Vous verrez aussi que l Alberta, sur la lancée du succès retentissant de son séminaire de 2009 à Calgary, organise un autre séminaire, qui aura lieu cette année le 13 octobre, à Edmonton. Une autre annonce nous dit qu une entente a été conclue avec le Southern Alberta Institute of Technology qui offrira nos cours destinés aux techniciens, ce prochain semestre. Nous vous encourageons à participer aux séminaires locaux de votre région. Contactez les représentants de notre section régionale et portez-vous volontaire pour des activités, peut-être même en devenant membre de l un des comités spéciaux. Les bénévoles de votre section régionale méritent bien votre soutien continu! Vous trouverez leurs coordonnées dans ce numéro. Beaucoup de choses à lire! Beaucoup de choses sur lesquelles réfléchir! Beaucoup de choses à faire si vous décidez de soutenir activement notre association! Pourquoi pas??? Cordialement, en toute sécurité, Le rédacteur en chef Allen Hodgson L'ASSOCIATION CANADIENNE D'ALARME INCENDIE 5
8 Chapter NEWS Chapter NEWS Chapter NEWS Chapter NEWS Chapter NEWS Chapter NEWS Chapter NEWS Canadian Fire Alarm Association: Alberta Technical Seminar Knowledge is Power Wednesday, October 13, 2010 Edmonton Marriott at River Cree Resort, Edmonton Alberta The CFAA Alberta Chapter and CFAA National are pleased to present a one-day Technical Seminar entitled Knowledge is Power. Engineers, Designers, Installers, Fire Alarm Technicians, Fire Protection Consultants, AHJs, SCOs, Building Owners and Facility Managers will all benefit from this fact-filled educational seminar. Not only will this be an exceptional opportunity for those involved in the fire alarm industry to learn more about fire alarm design, industry practices and Codes and Standards, but it will also be a unique opportunity for networking with other industry experts. The Alberta Technical Seminar will begin with Registration and a Continental Breakfast from 7:30 am. Presentations will start at 8:30 am and will carry through the day until the closing comments and Lucky Draw at 4 pm. Major topics will include: A Review of new elevator code requirements and how they affect the fire alarm industry. Fire Investigation Case Study & the lessons learned. Air Aspiration Systems. The most common mistakes made by Technicians when performing verification, and how to perform them successfully. Fire Alarm System Intelligibility. The day will also include a full lunch, refreshment breaks, and a chance to win a valuable prize at the end of the day. CFAA Alberta Chapter Corporate Members in good standing will qualify for a discount. The cost for this educational opportunity is only $ ($ GST) for CFAA Members; and $ ($ GST) for nonmembers. The Edmonton Marriott at River Cree Resort is located at 300 East Lapotac Blvd., in Enoch Alberta. Please visit for full details including agenda, cost, location, hotel accommodation and the registration form. Lunch & Learn in Calgary Plan to attend Lunch & Learn on Wednesday, September 29, 2010 at 11:30 am. For more details, please visit our website Chapter NEWS Chapter NEWS Chapter NEWS Chapter NEWS Chapter NEWS Chapter NEWS Chapter NEWS 6 CANADIAN FIRE ALARM ASSOCIATION
9 Chapter NEWS Chapter NEWS Chapter NEWS Chapter NEWS Chapter NEWS Chapter NEWS Chapter NEWS Canadian Fire Alarm Association: Vancouver Technical Seminar Knowledge is Power Thursday October 14, 2010 The Justice Institute of British Columbia, Vancouver British Columbia If you missed the 2008 Vancouver Seminar, you missed a lot! Mark your calendars and plan to attend in 2010 as this one day conference will provide you with interesting and pertinent industry related information through informative speakers and handout materials. Registration will include complimentary parking, continental breakfast, morning and afternoon refreshment breaks, buffet lunch and great networking opportunities. Comments from Participants at the 2008 BC Seminar: Very good seminar & speakers. Look forward to the next one. Very Well Done! Nice to see this happening in BC. Great Session. Thankx. All round good info I can take back and use. Good Seminar thanks for putting it together. Excellent, a lot of valuable information and very interesting. Thank you! Excellent Seminar! Well Done, keep up the good work. If you are a Fire and Building Official, Manufacturers Representative, Sales or Service Person, Fire Alarm Technician, Engineer, Designer, Building Owner, Building Supervisor, Facility Manager or Fire Protection Consultant, you will benefit from this educational seminar as this will be an exceptional opportunity for those involved in the fire alarm industry to learn more about fire alarm design, industry practices and Codes and Standards, but it will also be a unique opportunity for networking with other industry experts. The 2010 BC Technical Seminar entitled, Knowledge is Power, will begin with Registration and a Continental Breakfast from 7:00 am. Presentations will start at 8:00 am and will carry through the day until the closing comments and Lucky Draw at 4 pm. Major topics will include: A review of Section 6 of CAN/ULC-S537 the Standard for the Verification of Fire Alarm Systems. Elevator Code Changes and Fire Alarm Interface. The most common testing mistakes made by Technicians performing verifications to ULCS537, and how to perform them successfully. The relationship between the customer and the service provider from the customers point of view. Sprinklers and changes to sprinklers. Mass notification systems. The day will also include a full lunch, refreshment breaks, and a chance to win a valuable prize at the end of the day. The cost for this educational opportunity is only $ $19.80 HST = $ Please visit for full details including agenda, location, hotel accommodation and the registration form. More 'Chapter NEWS' on page 16. Chapter NEWS Chapter NEWS Chapter NEWS Chapter NEWS Chapter NEWS Chapter NEWS Chapter NEWS CANADIAN FIRE ALARM ASSOCIATION 7
10 August 2010 MASS NOTIFICATION SYSTEMS: By Donald Boynowski, Siemens Canada Limited In emergency situations, the ability to communicate to everyone on a campus, in a building, or to those in transit aids in the execution of emergency plans and allows for reactive measures. For those Canadians who believed that terrorist type activity only occurred in third world countries or in the United States, the death of 14 women in the Montreal Massacre at École Polytechnique on December 6, 1989 was a cold shock of reality. Authorities were criticized at all levels for poor communication and inadequate emergency response plans. On the other hand, subsequent changes to emergency response protocols led to praise of the emergency responders' handling of the copycat shooting literally down the street at Dawson College on September 13, 2006 in which one woman was killed by a shooter. In that incident, better planning and communication was credited with minimizing the loss of life. The original World Trade Centre bombing on February 26, 1993 taught us of the need for multiple access and control points to the Emergency Voice Communication System. The EVC was still working 3 days after the event. However, it could not be used during the incident because the control room was filled with smoke and the operators had to evacuate the room. This lesson has been preserved as a ULC requirement for large fire alarms systems and will be carried forward in Mass Notification Systems (MNS). The bombing also taught us that cell phones could be used as an effective communication tool in an emergency situation. By contrast, the attacks of September 11th, 2001 proved that Voice enabled Fire Alarm systems were an effective communication tool when they were available, but that cell phone channels could easily be overloaded, rendering them unreliable when a major disaster occurred. The Virginia Tech campus shooting on April 16, 2007 which resulted in 32 deaths and 61 injured has become the most commonly used poster child for MNS. It highlighted the need for communicating to large groups of dispersed populations in critical, timesensitive situations. It also drove a sense of urgency among governments, large facility administrators, and the general public. This in turn caused the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) to actively address Emergency Communications Systems in the 2010 code cycle. Non-terrorist events such as the Sunrise Propane incident and the City of Vaughn Tornado remind us to expect the unexpected and to be prepared for it. What is a Mass Notification System? According to the NFPA it is a system used to provide information and instructions to people in building(s) or other spaces using intelligible voice communications and including visible signals, text, graphics, tactile, or other communication methods. (NFPA ) The term MNS, which originated with the military is frequently being replaced in civilian life with the term Emergency Communication System A system for the protection of life by indicating the existence of an emergency situation and communicating information necessary to facilitate an appropriate response and action. (NFPA ) Effective Emergency Communications In order to be effective, Emergency Communications must: Inform or Notify Target population and key personnel are alerted to WHAT is happening and WHERE it is occurring. Provide Instruction Notification is only effective if it gives direction on how to act or what to do. Verify Critical communications require verification that messages are heard, understood and acted upon. 8 CANADIAN FIRE ALARM ASSOCIATION
11 August 2010 REQUIREMENTS AND TRENDS Repeat Most people need to hear a message 3 times before they react to it. Truly effective communication is about more than getting the message out. It s about ensuring the message gets through. So no matter where people are, you need to reach them all. There are 4 Tiers of Mass Notification Systems: 1. Immediate and intrusive alerting (Sirens, Fire Alarm Voice Evac. or Electronic Signs) 2. Personal alerting (SMS, Cell Phones ) 3. Public alerting (Radio, TV) 4. Locally relative alerting (Bull Horns) You should include at least 2 forms of communication, one from Tier 1 and a secondary method from one of the other Tiers to provide a reliable and robust solution. You should also maximize contact potential by layering communications which employ multiple technologies and communication modalities. Mass Notification Activity Everybody s talking about Mass Notification, but what is actually happening in the real world? Customers Today s owners and facility managers must balance multiple conflicting pressures. First there is the traditional mission to provide a safe work, learning, and/or living environment. This must be balance against fiscal responsibility and budget constraints. Tragic events such as 911 and Virginia Tech lead to political pressure, stakeholder concerns, and public relations nightmares, as well as liability concerns and risk management issues. Whether it is the safety of businesses and buildings from terrorism or the safety of young people and educators, there is a resounding call for owners and managers to develop an Emergency Response Plan and install a mass-notification system (MNS) in our facilities and campuses now. And they must do so in within the confines of Code compliance and enforcement. Industry Providers Evolving discussion amongst industry providers continues to define the market. Potential providers are examining the market and positioning their respective offerings to take advantage of what appears to be a huge and growing market. Mergers, acquisitions, and strategic partnerships are common. Some companies are leading with their particular product or strength. For example, Fire alarm companies presenting a fire alarm solution Security companies presenting a security solution Communication companies presenting a communication solution Technology companies approaching solely as integrators Some are opportunistically entering the market and looking to make a quick profit. As the market continues to evolve, few companies will be long-term players. Some large companies will revisit strategic priorities and decide that MNS will not fit over time. Others will find that the cost and complexity of agency approvals are prohibitive. Some small companies may simply not be around or may be acquired by larger ones. Regulatory Agencies Unified Facilities Criteria (UFC ) The Unified Facilities Criteria was one of the first MNS standards. The US Department of Defense (DOD) developed UFC specifically to address terrorist events on U.S. military bases in the CANADIAN FIRE ALARM ASSOCIATION 9
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13 August 2010 aftermath of the Khobar Tower truck bombing in Saudi Arabia on June 25, Although a useful reference document, it has no legal jurisdiction in Canada. Underwriters Laboratory (UL) As Industry Providers began presenting MNS solutions to customers, customers responded by asking for some proof of performance, such as the UL mark on Fire Alarm systems. Unfortunately, there were no standards in place to which approval agencies could test and list products. UL2572 Control and Communication Units for Mass Notification Systems In response to industry and public need for a MNS equipment listing, UL created a bench standard and issued it as an interim listing (August 2008). Originally, this was intended as a set of requirements for connecting an external audio input to a Fire Alarm System. A bench standard is only supposed to have a life span of two years. A Standards Technical Panel (STP) was therefore formed to create a formal document with a target date of June The STP is made up of 29 industry representatives that include Fire Alarm manufacturers, sound system manufacturers, fire protection and electrical engineers, and government and fire department officials. The document was then issued for public review. At the same, in the spirit of harmonization, UL invited ULC to appoint a guest member to the STP. This person was expected to follow up by leading in the creation of a (hopefully harmonized) Canadian version. As a result of the public review, the scope of the UL document expanded and now includes: In-building Mass Notification System Wide-area Mass Notification System Distributed Recipient Mass Notification System Targeted Recipient Equipment Software Interfaces Combination Systems The target for completion is currently unknown but is expected to be late 2010 or possible early Underwriters Laboratories of Canada (ULC) The ULC Committee on Fire Alarm & Life Safety Equipment and Systems (ULC S500F) responded to the UL invitation by accepting a New Work Item proposal for the creation of ULC S576 - Mass Notification System Communication and Control Units at their annual meeting in May, A new Working Group was formed under the Subcommittee on Control Panels, and a Working Group chair/representative to STP 2572 was appointed. Work on creating S576 will begin when the dust settles on UL2572. It is expected that the standards used to evaluate Fire Alarm signalling devices will also be used to evaluate Mass Notification devices. As a result, there will be some changes to: CAN/ULC S525 Audible Signals for Fire Alarm Systems CAN/ULC S526 Visible Signals for Fire Alarm Systems CAN/ULC S541 Speakers for Fire Alarm Systems Mass Notification systems will also be expected to be installed and tested to the same level of reliability and integrity as Fire Alarm systems. As a result, there will probably be changes to: CAN/ULC S524 Installation of Fire Alarm Systems CAN/ULC S536 Inspection and Testing of Fire Alarm Systems CAN/ULC S537 Verification of Fire Alarm Systems ULC S573 Installation of Ancillary Devices National Building Code of Canada The 2010 edition of the National Building Code of Canada (NBC) will be published in November Several changes related to fire alarm and life safety systems were developed for the 2010 codes. However, Mass Notification Systems were not included in these changes. Updates to the national codes occur continuously with annual public reviews. Work on the next cycle of changes has already commenced and the topic of Mass Notification Systems (MNS) is on the agenda of the technical committees. Frequently, when code developers start working on a new cycle, they begin by looking at what has CANADIAN FIRE ALARM ASSOCIATION 11
14 August 2010 been published by other national and international organizations such as the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), European Standards, etc. It is therefore reasonable to expect that many of the changes to the NBC regarding MNS will be based on the requirements found in NFPA NFPA To understand the full breadth of the design and applications details within this new edition would require days of training. Chapter 24 Emergency Communication Systems Generally, it embraces a broad All Hazards Approach to addressing emergency communication, which includes but is not limited to fire, terrorist activities, other dangerous situations, accidents, and natural disasters. It requires intelligible voice messages. Mass notification messages are allowed to over-ride fire alarm notification if supported by the Risk Analysis and approved by the Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ). (A major variation from UFC requirements) Chapter 24 Emergency Communication Systems Chapter 24 emphasizes performance-based design, which is something the NBC began in the 2005 edition. It also emphasizes survivability of the system, something the Canadian Fire Alarm codes and standards have also been doing for years. Ancillary functions including the use of the system for general paging, and other non-emergency functions are permitted provided they don't interfere with emergency performance requirements. In fact, the re-use of existing systems is encouraged, provided they meet the performance and survivability requirements of the Risk Analysis and the approval of the AHJ. In addition to updated requirements for in-building fire emergency voice/alarm systems, this new chapter includes first-time provisions for: In-building MNS Wide-area MNS for locations such as college campuses Distributed recipient MNS to communicated with targeted individuals or groups Risk analysis requirements for the design of MNS In-Building Mass Notification Systems In-Building MNS consist of equipment and systems that are normally found inside buildings such as: Fire voice speakers Flat panel displays LED displays PA / Intercom Network PCs Phone Systems Wired and wireless buttons Indoor camera systems Wide Area Mass Notification Systems Wide Area MNS consist of equipment and systems that are normally found outside buildings such as: Sirens Outdoor PA systems High-power speaker array Giant Voice systems Outdoor strobes Electronic signage Emergency call stations Outdoor camera systems Distributed Recipient Mass Notification Systems (DRMNS) Distributed Recipient MNS systems consist of equipment and systems that are normally found at your side, such as: Pagers Cell phones / Smart phones Personal s IM (Instant Message) Alerts Duress Alarms Hand-held Radios Mass dialing systems Computer pop-ups Sending emergency alerts via SMS text messages to cell phones has gained a lot of traction on campuses this past year. Additionally, text messages can travel far beyond campus boundaries. Just like other mass notification methods, text messaging shouldn t be relied on as the only way a campus meets its emergency notification needs. This solution, although valuable, also has its limitations. 12 CANADIAN FIRE ALARM ASSOCIATION
15 August 2010 I got the emergency text message 2 days later It is important to understand how the messaging systems work and the different levels of communication. Level 1: Lowest Level of Priority, Service and Security ( Send and Pray ) /Mobile Text Messaging, Wireless Text Messaging/ This is not technically true Short Message Service (SMS). It is basically to mobile devices. It is only 1-way and there are delivery delays, security issues, spam conflicts, and server congestion. Often offered for free, it should not be relied on for emergency situations Level 2: Medium Level of Priority, Service and Security /SMS device to SMS device/ This is 2-way messaging and offers an improvement in delivery and security over Level 1. It is Retail level technology and is used for messaging between friends and relatives. Most Messaging companies do not use level 2, instead relying on Level 1 Level 3: Highest Level of Priority, Service and Security /Commerce Transactions/ For MNS, you must insist on this level of priority. Speed, accuracy, and reliability are of utmost importance for carriers offering these services. Highest care is taken to ensure that messages get through. Services include 1-to-many and 2-way. It is a premium cost service and is mostly offered as a subscription. Level 3 messages have delivery priority over Levels 1 and 2. There are, of course, other issues. Third-party servers may categorize the messages as spam, for example. Additionally, even if the message gets through to the recipient s inbox, there is no guarantee he or she will open the message in a timely fashion (or at all). The intended recipient might be away from his or her cell phone or pager for some reason. Finally, some conspiracy theorists predict that, in the event of another terrorist attack, the authorities will cut off everyone s ability to use cell phones, blackberries, etc. This is because cellular is the preferred communication source used by terrorists and is often the way that bombs are detonated. Whether you believe this theory or not, SMS should not be relied on as the only way to meet its emergency notification needs. Messages, regardless of whether they are Inside, Outside or At Your Side should provide the following content: Information on the hazard and the danger Guidance on what people should do (leave or take cover) Description of the location of the risk or hazard An idea of when they need to act (immediately or within the hour) The name of the source of the warning (who is issuing) Risk Analysis for Mass Notification Systems Each application of a mass notification system should be specific to the nature and anticipated risks of each facility for which it is designed. It should consider both fire and non-fire emergencies. It should result in a performance-based design and risk analysis that becomes the basis for the development of the Emergency Response Plan Some of the Basic Questions that should be addressed as part of the analysis (A ) include: 1. What is the type of the emergency event? 2. What is the urgency of the emergency event? 3. What is the anticipated or expected severity of the emergency event? 4. What is the certainty of the event (past, present, future or unknown)? 5. What is the location of the event or from what direction? 6. What zones or areas should receive the emergency message(s)? 7. What is the validity of emergency event? 8. What instructions should be sent? 9. Are there any special instructions, procedures, or special tasks to be accomplished (e.g. close doors, stay away from windows, and do not use elevators)? A defense of nothing could have been done to prevent what happened at Virginia Tech resulted in an $11 million class action wrongful death judgment against the State of Virginia with 2 more suits approved to proceed. Today, organizations are expected to anticipate the unexpected. CANADIAN FIRE ALARM ASSOCIATION 13
16 WE DIDN T JUMP ON THE BANDWAGON. WE BUILT IT. SimplexGrinnell has a proud 200-year heritage of industry leadership. We have always invested in the improvement of life-safety technologies and services. By choosing SimplexGrinnell, you will never be left to wonder who will service your system, if parts will be available, or how you can expand compatibly. We employ hundreds of certifi ed technicians, provide 24/7 service, and maintain a robust R&D program. In short, we re with you for the long haul. A Tyco International Company SimplexGrinnell LP. All rights reserved. SimplexGrinnell, Be Safe, Simplex and Grinnell are trademarks of Tyco International Services AG or its affiliates or subsidiaries. License numbers available at or contact your local SimplexGrinnell office.
17 August 2010 Emergency Response Plan Elements NFPA recommends that the Emergency Response Plan be designed in accordance with NFPA 1600 Standard on Disaster / Emergency Management and Business Continuity Programs and NFPA 1620 Recommended Practice for Pre-Incident Planning. It should include specific details on the: Emergency response team structure Emergency response procedure Emergency response equipment and operations Emergency response notification Emergency response training and drills Emergency Response Planning Process Gather information on existing procedures, personnel equipment Identify specific needs Anticipate the unexpected Gap analysis: Desired versus Current state Consider the cost of doing nothing Prioritize plan execution (customer specific concerns determine levels of priority): Immediate Needs (Now) Short-Term (6-18 months) Long-Term (2-5 years) On-going review and revision of plan over time Process requires long-term vision and planning Challenges The challenges in designing and installing a successful Mass Notification System are not in the technology. Challenges include: Identifying the decision makers in a facility Getting buy-in from all stakeholders Threat assessment Emergency action planning Financial impact (budgeting) Phased implementation (master planning) Ongoing evaluation (perpetual integration) Long term support (i.e. will the supplier still be here 5 years from now?) For additional information Additional information on Mass Notification Systems can be found in: National Fire Protection Association Or Annex Publishing and Printing NFPA 72 National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code (2010) NFPA 1600 Standard on Disaster / Emergency Management and Business Continuity Programs NFPA 1600 implementing National Preparedness Standard NFPA 1620 Recommended Practice for Pre-Incident Planning Campus Safety Magazine Manufacturers Web Sites Wherever large groups of people can be found such as Hospitals, Colleges and Universities, and Industrial complexes; those responsible for providing a safe work environment need to be prepared to respond to a myriad of crises, including violence, natural or man-made disasters, fires, electrical failures, and more. A mass notification system is a fundamental tool in enabling quick and effective response to any emergency. Remember to focus not on the tool, or the toys, but on the purpose: Reach them all! Author: Donald Boynowski is the Product Manager for Siemens Canada Limited, Building Technologies Division, Fire Safety Division. A Certified Engineering Technologist and a CFAA registered Fire Alarm Technician, Don has over 30 years experience in the fire alarm industry. Don is a voting member of the ULC Committee on Fire Alarms Equipment and Systems and serves on various Sub-Committees and Working Groups. He is also Canadian Co-Chair of the NEMA ULC/UL Technical Harmonization Committee for Notification Appliances. Don represents ULC on the UL Standards Technical Panel for Mass Notification Control Units (UL2572) and will chair the working group that will create the Canadian version, ULC-S576. CANADIAN FIRE ALARM ASSOCIATION 15
18 Chapter NEWS Chapter NEWS Chapter NEWS Chapter NEWS Chapter NEWS Chapter NEWS Chapter NEWS CFAA ALBERTA renews partnership with SAIT POLYTECHNIC Just recently after discussions between Dick Babott (SAIT Trades Coordinator) and Chris Sneesby (CFAA Alberta Chapter Education Committee Chair) the CFAA Alberta Chapter renewed their partnership with SAIT Polytechnic. This past March and April students successfully completed the first round of Course 1 Introduction to Fire Detection and Alarm Industry and Course 5 Fire Alarm Systems at SAIT. A repeat Course 1 (CNTR-219) is scheduled for this September / November and Course 5 (CNTR-226) is scheduled for this November / December. For more information on the Fire Alarm courses, please contact To register, you can either click on the Register button on the SAIT.ca website or call Student Services at Over the past years there has been a major disconnect in the fire alarm industry when it comes to education. It is time to get plugged back-in and with these courses we are hoping this is a step in the right direction to resolving that disconnection. The Alberta chapter is also looking forward to future discussions with the CFAA National body in developing a national framework of courses for various other industry sectors such as designers/engineers, building owners / managers and AHJ officials to name a few. Currently the Alberta Education Committee is developing additional course material to include references to the Alberta Building and Fire codes, as well as the relevant CAN/ULC standards for Course 1, hopefully in time for the next scheduled course at SAIT and then closely followed by Course 5. The Alberta Education Committee has also implemented an expiry date for current CFAA instructors in Alberta. Within six months after the adoption of a new Alberta Building and Fire code the instructors must have taken a refresher course to maintain their CFAA instructor credentials in Alberta. This helps to prevent the disconnection between the instructors and what is happening in the 16 CANADIAN FIRE ALARM ASSOCIATION Chris Sneesby (on the left) is with Stebnicki+Partners and is the Chair of the CFAA Alberta Education Committee. Dick Babott is (on the right) and is the Continuing Education Trades Coordinator for the School of Construction at SAIT Polytechnic. industry. The refresher course would include updated course material with changes to the new National and Provincial Building and Fire codes and include the CAN/ULC standards affected by the new codes. The Alberta Education Committee is also developing a MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) to standardize the communication with the educational institutions so both parties have a clear understanding on expectations. Chubb Edwards (Calgary) kindly donated an IO-500 addressable control panel to SAIT back in March for use with the CFAA courses. A big thank you to Chubb Edwards in Calgary. Knowledge is power, therefore we move forward with the knowledge that life-safety is in powerful hands. More 'Chapter NEWS' on page 21. Chapter NEWS Chapter NEWS Chapter NEWS Chapter NEWS Chapter NEWS Chapter NEWS Chapter NEWS
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20 What s unique about Potter s NEW Mass Notification devices? A L E R T A L E R T Clear mirrors used for re ection with a colored lens do not provide good color light output. Potter s Mass Noti cation appliances are the only strobes that use a colored mirror to re ect colored light through a colored lens. The distinction is in the details. With many potential uses in mind, Potter s newest line of Mass Noti cation Appliances have been speci cally crafted with distinctive details such as patent pending colored mirrors for true light output, rated for indoor and outdoor use, as well as one of the lowest current draw ratings in the industry. These unique features make them the most diverse and ef cient noti cation products available. (866) Visit cation for more details.