Where Should I Install the Fire Control Panel?
For fire safety and reliability in case of fire, if everyone has to evacuate from the building in less than five minutes, it needs to be protected from fire for only a short time. If anyone is allowed to stay in the building longer than five minutes, the panel needs to be protected for two hours.
I am working as a fire-safety engineer. In part of job responsibilities, I have to do inspection at varies factories to give them compliance certificate from fire-safety end. During an inspection, I have found a factory has installed their Fire Alarm Control panel at 4th floor (8 storied building) adjacent to an office.
Is it permissible as per NFPA 72? What is the recommendation in NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) regarding Fire Alarm Control Panel? Generally, I suggest to install the panel at ground floor in a safer location. Maybe inside a stair enclosure or outside a factory in a separate building ( I don't have any reference).
Thank you, GC
As such, I haven't found direct information on where to place the fire alarm panel. However, there are some things to take into account.
Is there an annunciator for the firefighters as they enter the building? When they enter the building, the annunciator tells them where the fire is located.
Is it a "Total Evacuation" building? If all the horns and strobes in the entire building sound off so everyone in the building leaves in less than five minutes, then any fire protection of the fire alarm system only has to be good enough for everyone to leave.
Is it a "Staged Evacuation" building, or does it have "Defend in Place" sanctuaries in the building? If only some of the people are told to leave, and some people wait their turn to leave, then once a fire starts, any fire alarm equipment including panels and power supplies have to be protected from fire for two hours. That includes any fire alarm cabling or wires that go across fire zones.
In all cases, what needs to be done for protection is to install a smoke detector near any fire alarm control panel or fire alarm power supply. If a fire occurs inside the panel (I've seen the charred remains) or near the panel, a smoke detector within five feet or 1.5 meters is needed to sound the alarm before the panel burns up and can't sound the alarm for anyone in the building.
Thanks for your email. Previously, I didn't have any idea regarding staged evacuation. Your answer has increased my knowledge and it will help me to make better decisions.
Thank you, GC