A Matter Of Standards And Codes
ANSI addresses safety, interoperability and performance for mass notification
- By Neil Lakomiak
- April 01, 2018
Ensuring a safe learning environment is one of the top priorities
of parents, teachers, faculty and administrators.
Recent tragic events have brought the safety and security
of our educational institutions to the forefront. As
schools, colleges and universities look to install and
upgrade emergency communication systems to further enhance safety,
there are a number of important standards and codes to be mindful of
during the specification and procurement processes and in working
with an integrator.
UL 2572, MASS NOTIFICATION SYSTEMS
UL 2572 is designated as the American National Standard for Mass
Notification Systems in accordance with the American National Standards
Institute (ANSI), which addresses the safety, interoperability,
performance, security and reliability of mass notification systems.
This standard covers discrete products and integral systems that
communicate critical information within buildings and/or outdoor
areas concerning emergencies including but not limited to terrorist
activities, active shooter incidents, hazardous chemical releases, severe
weather and other events that may endanger the safety of the occupants
of an area or facility. Communication is through voice and visual
instructions as well as alert and evacuation signals.
Mass notification systems can include control units, high power
speaker arrays (HPSAs), visual and audible devices, and distributed
recipient technology that facilitates the delivery of text messages, voice
telephony, email and the like. All equipment that is on premises and
performing a mass notification function is within the purview of this
standard. The various types of mass notification systems include:
- In-Building Mass Notification System: A system used to provide
information and instructions to occupants in a building or other
space using voice communication, visible signaling and other communication
- Wide Area Mass Notification System: A system which provides
real-time information to areas, including outdoor, in a contiguous
or non-contiguous campus, region or global geographical setting.
Wide-area mass notification systems can employ HPSAs as the
auditory means for message conveyance in outdoor areas.
- Distributed Recipient Mass Notification System: A system intended
to communicate to targeted individuals that may not be in a
contiguous area via SMS, email, popups, social media and other
communication forms. Distributed recipient mass notification system
alerting is required to be used in conjunction with audible and
visible alerting mass notification systems and shall be integrated
with mass notification systems whenever possible.
Cybersecurity is also addressed by UL 2572 to protect a system from
unauthorized access and protection of stored and transmitted data.
Alternatively, UL 2900-2-3, Software Cybersecurity for Network- Connectable
Products, Part 2-3: Particular Requirements for Security and
Life Safety Signaling Systems could be utilized to address the cyber
posture of any network-connected mass notification system.
NFPA 72, NATIONAL FIRE ALARM
AND SIGNALING CODE
NFPA 72 covers the application, installation, location, performance,
inspection and maintenance of emergency communication systems,
such as mass notification systems, and their components. The code
establishes minimum required levels of performance, extent of redundancy
and quality of installation. The NFPA 72 code requires equipment
serving an emergency communication function to comply with
UL 2572 standard.
NFPA 101, LIFE SAFETY CODE
NFPA 101 addresses those construction, protection and occupancy
features necessary to minimize danger to life from the effects of fire,
including smoke, heat and toxic gases created during a fire. In addition
to the consideration of the effects of fire, the code also addresses life
safety aspects of other conditions, including non-fire emergencies, to
allow prompt escape of building occupants from buildings or into safe
areas of buildings where desirable.
Chapter 9 of the code requires a mass notification system (if
required as a result of a risk analysis) to comply with NFPA 72.
NFPA 5000, BUILDING CONSTRUCTION
AND SAFETY CODE
This code addresses the construction, protection and occupancy features
necessary to minimize danger to life and property. A risk analysis
is required to be conducted to determine if a mass notification system
is required in the various different occupancies addressed by the code,
including K-12 facilities, college and university occupancies. Where a
mass notification system is required, it is to comply with NFPA 72.
Standards and codes matter. They provide a means by which to assess
that a product or system meets a minimum set of requirements and
helps a specifier, end-user or procurement professional make more
informed price versus performance decisions. Standards and codes help
to mitigate the risk of life safety technology failing to perform when
needed. Whether it’s in the design, production, installation, testing,
inspection or maintenance of mass notification systems, these standards
and codes provide a reasonable level of assurance that
an important life safety system, such as a mass notification
system, will operate as intended.
This article originally appeared in the April 2018 issue of CSLS.