By Rebecca Peterson,
AV Product Marketing Manager, System Sensor
Emergency messaging systems notify occupants of fire, weather hazards, and other threats, which is why consistent message delivery is so important. But what happens if people receive inconsistent messages due to multi-building functions, language barriers, or hard-to-identify emergencies?
In this issue’s “Ask the Expert” column, Ethan Salter – an acoustician and principal consultant with Charles M. Salter Associates, Inc. – discusses the impact of acoustics and outside factors on emergency messaging equality.
Information delivery not only depends on people’s physical, mental, and emotional capabilities, but also on their environment. Different populations, such as the hearing impaired, intransient individuals, small children, and prisoners, differ in terms of how they are able to receive and respond to emergency signals.
Then there are the code updates. Low frequency requirements within NFPA 72, for instance, went into effect Jan. 1, 2014. Against this complex backdrop of occupant and environmental differences (as well as emergency signaling code changes), it becomes apparent that the job of a system designer, engineer, acoustician, architect, or installer is never really done. The state of the art is a moving target, and it’s unlikely to stay still anytime soon.
System Sensor works hard to not only stay on top of the code changes with compliant products, but also to expand and improve messaging across the board by continuously testing, redesigning, and innovating technologies.
In some situations, just sounding a horn may not be enough. In these cases, designers must implement systems that take into account complex situations and various occupant types in order to provide the appropriate signal to protect lives and meet code requirements.