Figure 4: Alternative notification appliance.
Figure 3: Frequency range comparison standard
UL-listed alternative fire alarm products.
HUMIDITY & TEMPERATURE
The FM approved EE300Ex has been
designed specifcally for measurement
in explosion hazard areas. The
stainless steel housing facilitates
quick installation and easy cleaning.
Either as a compact wall mount or
as a remote sensing probe version,
the EE300Ex is highly fexible for
use in various applications, even for
moisture measurement in oils.The
proven E+E humidity sensor element
guarantees accurate and long term
stable measurements up to 356 °F and
4351 psi. www.epluse.com
BE ON THE SAFE SIDE.
THE EE300EX FOR
anticipated contributions from the room
HVAC and any specific equipment, such as
cage racks and/or animal transfer stations.
The selected audible notification appliance
wattage shall result in a sound pressure level
at least 15 dB above the average ambient
sound level, or 5 dB above the maximum
sound level having a duration of at least 60
sec, whichever is greater.
FIRE ALARM AUDIBLE
The above scenario assumes the fire
alarm devices used are UL listed for that
purpose. An alternative design approach
utilizes non-UL-listed devices, such as
CE-listed tonal notification equipment,
or interconnection to/overriding facility
audio/visual systems. As some of these are
vivarium-specific products, their implementation in animal environments is established, albeit most commonly where the
code criteria is different than the U.S. codes.
The benefits of using these alternative technologies are attractive from
the perspective of long-term research
preservation. Vivarium-specific products
offer audible notification at less than 470
Hz, thereby avoiding disturbance to the
animal inhabitants. Human occupants
will respond to the low-frequency device
output (Figure 3).
Care should be taken when meeting the
documentation requirements of 18. 4.1.3.
to identify sources of noise in the space,
override where feasible so as to reduce
the ambient sound level and justify the
resulting sound pressure level of the alter-
native fire alarm notification system. The
trade-off of this approach is variance with
U.S. code, and would therefore require ex-
plicit acceptance by the authorities having
jurisdiction. Connections to the fire alarm
system in support of these alternative
products should be vetted by the design
team and documented with respect to
product listings and any back-up power
requirements. Submission of an explana-
tion regarding automatic operation of the
alternative notification system(s), as well as
procedural and training guidelines of the
facility with respect to occupant evacuation
in these areas, should be included to the
AHJ (authority having jurisdiction, for
example, fire marshall).
Areas of research highly sensitive to noise
interruption may prefer an approach that
eliminates audible fire alarm notification
from the animal suite entirely. This would
likely take the form of visual fire alarm
notification only, whether via traditional
strobe devices, textual displays and/or the
use of the facilities audio/visual systems.
(Figure 4). In the case of textual-only displays and/or use of audio/visual displays to
communicate the fire alarm message in text,
it should be anticipated the requirements
for both audible and visible notification
wouldn’t be met and, thus, the AHJ may
object with respect to ADA. Facilities considering this route should consult with the
authorities at an early stage to ascertain if
any such variance would be permitted.
Facilities and design teams undertaking
renovation of existing vivariums, or design
of new vivarium spaces, should consider
the pros and cons of traditional fire alarm
product designs, alternative designs and
the relative approvals and costs of each.
Certainly where the research anticipated
requires observational vivarium spaces, care
should be taken to ensure both the human
occupants’ notification of an alarm condition and the results of long-term research
preservation are weighed and documented
within the design.
Deanna Schmidt, PE, Associate, leads multidisciplinary teams in lab facilities design
for Arup’s New York office, both as electrical
engineer and project manager.