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Development of a Standardized Fire Service Interface for Fire Alarm Systems.

pdf icon Development of a Standardized Fire Service Interface for Fire Alarm Systems. (1964 K)
Bukowski, R. W.

Research and Practice: Bridging the Gap. Fire Suppression and Detection Research Application Symposium. Proceedings. Fire Protection Research Foundation. February 23-25, 2000, Orlando, FL, 2000.

Fire Protection Engineering, 4,6-8, Spring 2000.


fire alarm systems; standardization; fire departments; fire codes; management systems


The National Fire Alarm Code in paragraph 1-5.7.1 requires that, "Where required, the location of an operated initiating device shall be visibly indicated by building, floor, fire zone, or other approved subdivision, by annunciation, printout, or other approved means." Paragraph 1- states, "The primary purpose of fire alarm system annunciation is to enable responding personnel to identify the location of a fire quickly and accurately and to indicate the status of emergency equipment or fire safety functions that might affect the safety of occupants in a fire situation." Paragraph 3- requires a fire command center, ...near a building entrance or other location approved by the authority having jurisdiction. The fire command center shall provide a communications center for the arriving fire department and shall provide for the control and display of the status of detection, alarm, and communications systems. ...Operating controls for use by the fiie department shall be clearly marked." In light of these requirements, it is disconcerting that many fire departments report seldom using the provided features because every system (from different manufacturers or even different systems from the same manufacturer) has a different interface. Displays and controls are not consistent, and there is no time to study the manuals. To address these issues, the National Fire Alarm Code, Technical Correlating Committee established a task group to develop proposals for a standard interface for the 2002 Code cycle (the author chairs that task group). NIST's Building and Fire Research Laboratory (BFRL) established a cooperative research project through the National Electrical Manufacturers' Association (NEMA) and the major fire alarm panel manufacturers to develop the technical basis for these proposals. This article describes the work done to date and planned activities that should lead to an interface that addresses the needs of the fire service.