How Tolerant Are You?

By Christa Poss, Aspiration Marketing Manager, System Sensor

When you hear the word “tolerance,” what comes to mind? Accepting someone whose opinion differs from your own? Keeping your cool when the air conditioner fails on a hot day? Staying patient while stuck in an absurdly slow lane in the grocery store?

For managers of commercial facilities with vast networks of computers, mechanical equipment, and many other systems, tolerance may encompass staying within permissible quality or engineering levels. In business, tolerance often also boils down to how much risk or loss a business manager or owner can stomach.

Are very early detection systems, such as System Sensor’s FAAST Fire Alarm Aspiration Sensing Technology®, warranted in all situations? The simple answer is no. Yet, for data centers and other mission-critical applications, as well as in other environments where smoke or fire damage is completely unacceptable, FAAST offers the highest level of protection and is well worth the investment.

FAAST is operationally designed for tight tolerances to protect environments that cannot tolerate loss. At the first whiff of smoke, the system triggers an alarm—long before standard fire detection systems for standard applications do.

As Jeffrey Tubbs of Arup explains in this month’s Ask the Expert, there’s another dimension to tolerance in considering FAAST and other systems within fire/life safety design plans: the application’s false alarm tolerance level. Some fire systems have loose tolerances resulting in more false alarms. A false alarm is a mere nuisance in an office building, but it is far worse to tolerate on a trading floor or in a surgical center. Planning for intolerance, therefore, may be the safest course of action.

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