Douglas Krantz - Technical Writer - Describing How It Works
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What do they mean as Pathway on the Record of Completion? -- The NFPA has now boiled down all the different Styles and Classes of the various signal pathways to a total of seven classifications. These classifications don't really show how to wire anything, these classes show how the building wide fire alarm system is going to work when something goes wrong with the alarm's communication routes. The pathways are now classified as Class A, Class B, Class C, Class D, Class E, Class N, and Class X...Read More

How do You Know if a Fire Alarm is Loud Enough? -- I have been trying to obtain information pertaining to new audio / visual sound systems installed in our classrooms and what Fire Safety code -if any- mandates a requirement that the sound become shunted during an activated fire alarm. I have heard mixed statements but haven't been able to acquire any certain clarity...Read More

Should Security Guards Try to Put Out a Fire? -- My personal suggestion to the security guards (you may wish to put this in their emergency response procedure book) is that if the alarms sound off, 1. Call the emergency response personnel right away. That starts the fire fighting process...Read More

How can I Learn and Understand the NFPA 72 Code Book? -- Yes, the code needs to be complied with, but it is written so that lawyers, lawmakers, and those enforcing laws can understand it. The NFPA Code becomes easy to understand when you know what the intent of the Code is and some of the thought of the writers of the Code. That information is included in the NFPA's Handbook... Read More

What is an Area of Refuge? -- You hear the message "Use the Stairs, "you see the sign "In case of fire, don't take the elevator." To get out of the building from the higher floors, when the building is on fire, the stairs ... Read More

Do We Have to Get a Permit to Replace a Power Supply?--Is it customary for a fire department to require a fire alarm modification permit to replace a remote power supply? We are replacing only one of the five existing with the exact same make and model. They tried to say - The fire alarm booster is ... Read More

How are alarms hardwired to field equipment in a typical process plant?-- I am a Process Safety Engineer but I am trying to understand alarms representation on a P & ID. I am sorry if this is not your area of expertise. Please, permit me to ask the following questions: 1. How are alarms hardwired to field equipment in a typical process plant like refinery, for example a high-pressure alarm monitoring pressure on a reactor or vessel? 2. How is the alarm hardwired such that the operator in the field as well as in the control room will be alerted? 3. Can an alarm be a field device that is not accessible to the operator in the control room? . . . Read More

The NFPA's Class of the Path -- As a life-safety system, a fire alarm system detects fire and lets people know about the fire. That, though, is what the input and output devices do. Usually the fire alarm system includes with the input and output devices some sort of control system. This is the panel where the signals from ... Read More

Just Who Is the Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ)?-- A.3.2.2 Authority Having Jurisdiction -AHJ-. The phrase authority having jurisdiction, or its acronym AHJ, is used in NFPA documents in a broad manner, since jurisdictions and approval agencies vary, as do their responsibilities. Where public safety is primary, the authority having jurisdiction . . . Read More

Do we need horns and strobes in a building shell?-- The NFPA Code is interpreted differently by different people, but to be a complete fire alarm system, the system must detect fire (the waterflow switch on the sprinkler system) and warn people of the fire (horns and strobes). This detect and warn includes the shell area because the shell area can be occupied... Read More

If It Aint't on Paper - Did It Happen?-- Paperwork - when things go right, no one reads it - when things go wrong, is that when they read it? Read More

How To Keep Seniors Safe From Fires -- Did you know that closing your bedroom door at night could save your life? Studies show that, in house fires, carbon monoxide levels are ten times higher in rooms with an ... Read More

Why Have a Written Fire Evacuation Plan? -- One time, I had a fire inspector tell me that he requires a written evacuation plan for all buildings. The reason... Read More

How good are those Call 911 signs above pull stations? -- The Fire Marshal didn't have the authority to require the owner to upgrade the fire alarm system to use off-site monitoring. Because... Read More

Can the Fire Department Make Us Upgrade? -- We failed the inspection with city due to lack of signage at pull stations in an existing apartment building. The signs are supposed to say LOCAL ALARM ONLY - IN CASE OF FIRE CALL 911...Read More

How Clutter Can Increase Your Home Fire Risk -- Official lists of the most common household fire risks include unattended cooking equipment, heating, broken electrical equipment, flammable liquids and even Christmas trees, but one aspect that can worsen all these risks and create a fire of its own, is clutter! NBC reports that one in four Americans has a clutter problem and 55% of those surveyed said it causes major stress. By keeping homes tidy, families can reduce their fire risk, but also reduce the frequency of falls and trips and the mental anguish of constantly being exposed to untidiness. . .Read More

Essential Fire Safety Tips For Landlords -- On average, seven people die each day in U.S. home fires, the National Fire Protection Association reveals. As a property manager or landlord, keeping your tenants and property safe from fire is one of the most important responsibilities you have. Unattended ovens or cook-tops, smoking, portable space heaters, and electrical faults are the most common causes of house fires. Not only do property fires cause thousands of . . .Read More

Who Really has Job Security?-- If you guard secrets to keep job security, you'll lose it. If you give away secrets to give away job security, you... Read More

When Talking to Customers, Shouldn't Their Language Be Used? -- You have been trained in the operation of fire alarm systems, your customers have not... Read More

Does Anyone Return to Make the Installation Look Good? -- My father-in-law once told me "Make it purdy the first time; you'll always come back to make it work, you'll never come back to... Read More

How Does One Gain Experience? -- If every time one goes on site to fix the fire alarm system the problem is obvious, being a troubleshooter... Read More

Douglas Krantz -- Fire Alarm Engineering Technician, Electronic Designer, Electronic Technician, Writer

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