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October 27, 2002

                             ET NEWS
Issue No. 70                                          10-27-2002

- News
- ET Journal
- NICET Test Dates
- AFAA Class Schedule
- Comments and Contacts


Information regarding the Advanced Fire Alarm seminar
(NICET III & IV) to be held in Seattle on December 3-5, 2002 is
available at:


NICET Fire Alarm Systems Level II

33026 is a Level II General Non-Core Work element.

Understand the operation, selection, location, spacing, mounting,
and use of audible and visible alarm notification appliances.
(NFPA 72 and 101, Fire Alarm Signaling Systems and manufacturer's
text, Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines)

NFPA 101
ADAAG (current))
ADAAG (proposed)

"Understand the operation, selection, location, spacing, mounting,
and use of audible and visible alarm notification appliances."

NFPA 72-1999 1-4 Operating Mode, Private. Audible or visible
signaling only to those persons directly concerned with the
implementation and direction of emergency action initiation and
procedure in the area protected by the fire alarm system. 

NFPA 72-1999 1-4 Operating Mode, Public. Audible or visible
signaling to occupants or inhabitants of the area protected by
the fire alarm system.

NFPA 72-1999 1-4 Coded. An audible or visible signal that conveys
several discrete bits or units of information. Notification signal
examples are numbered strokes of an impact-type appliance and
numbered flashes of a visible appliance.

NFPA 72-1999 1-4 Noncoded Signal. An audible or visible signal
conveying one discrete bit of information. 

NFPA 72-1999 1-4 Notification Appliance. A fire alarm system
component such as a bell, horn, speaker, light, or text display
that provides audible, tactile, or visible outputs, or any
combination thereof.

Audible Notification Appliance. A notification appliance that
alerts by the sense of hearing.

Tactile Notification Appliance. A notification appliance that
alerts by the sense of touch or vibration.

Visible Notification Appliance. A notification appliance that
alerts by the sense of sight.

Textual Audible Notification Appliance. A notification appliance
that conveys a stream of audible information. An example of a
textual audible notification appliance is a speaker that
reproduces a voice message.

Textual Visible Notification Appliance. A notification appliance
that conveys a stream of visible information that displays an
alphanumeric or pictorial message. Textual visible notification
appliances provide temporary text, permanent text, or symbols.
Textual visible notification appliances include, but are not
limited to, annunciators, monitors, CRT’s, displays, and printers.

NFPA 72-1999 4-3.1.1 An average sound level greater than 105dBA
will require the use of a visible signal appliance(s) in accordance
with NFPA 72-1999 Section 4-4.

NFPA 72-1999 4-3.2.1 Audible notification appliances intended for
operation in the public mode must have a sound level of not less
than 75 dBA at 10 ft or more than 120 dBA at the minimum hearing
distance from the audible appliance.
NFPA 72-1999 4-3.2.2 To ensure that audible public mode signals
are clearly heard, they must have a sound level at least 15dBA
above the average ambient sound level or 5 dBA above the maximum
sound level having a duration of at least 60 seconds, whichever
is greater, measured 5 feet above the floor in the occupiable area.
Audible alarm notification appliances installed in elevator cars
are permitted to use the audibility criteria for private mode
appliances detailed in NFPA 72-1999 4-3.3.2

NFPA 72-1999 4-3.5.1 If ceiling heights allow, wall-mounted
audible notification appliances must have their tops at heights
above the finished floors at heights  of not less than 90 inches
and below the finished ceilings of not less than 6 inches. This
requirement does not preclude ceiling-mounted or recessed
Different mounting heights are permitted by the authority having
jurisdiction provided the sound pressure level requirements of
NFPA 72-1999 4-3.2 and 4-3.3 are met.

NFPA 72-1999 4-4.3 Appliance Photometrics. The prescriptive
requirements of Section 4-4 assume the use of appliances having
very specific characteristics of light color, intensity,
distribution, and so on. The appliance and application
requirements are based on extensive research. However, the
research was limited to typical residential and commercial
applications such as school classrooms, offices, hallways, and
hotel rooms. While these specific appliances and applications
will likely work in other spaces, their use might not be the most
effective solution and might not be as reliable as other visible
notification methods.
For example, in large warehouse spaces and large distribution
spaces such as super stores, it is possible to provide visible
signaling using the appliances and applications of this chapter.
However, mounting strobe lights at a height of 80 inches to 96
inches along aisles with rack storage subjects the lights to
frequent mechanical damage by forklift trucks and stock. Also,
the number of appliances required would be very high. It might
be possible to use other appliances and applications not
specifically addressed by this chapter at this time. Alternative
applications must be carefully engineered for reliability and
function and would require permission of the authority having
Visible notification using the methods contained in 4-4.4.1 is
achieved by indirect signaling. This means the viewer need not
actually see the appliance, just the effect of the appliance.
This can be achieved by producing minimum illumination on
surfaces near the appliances such as the floor, walls, and desks.
There must be a sufficient change in illumination to be noticeable.
The tables and charts in Section 4-4 specify a certain candela
effective light intensity for certain size spaces. The data were
based on extensive research and testing. Appliances do not
typically produce the same light intensity when measured off-axis.
To ensure that the appliance produces the desired illumination
(effect), it must have some distribution of light intensity to
the areas surrounding the appliance. UL 1971, Standard for Safety
Signaling Devices for the Hearing Impaired, specifies the
distribution of light shown to provide effective notification by
indirect visible signaling.

NFPA 72-1999 4-4.4 Appliance Location. Wall-mounted visible
notification appliances must be mounted such that the entire lens
is not less than 80 inches and not greater than 96 inches above
the finished floor.

NFPA 72-1999 4- Table 4- applies to corridors not
exceeding 20 feet in width. For corridors greater than 20 feet
wide, Figure 4- and Tables 4- and (b) apply. In
a corridor application, visible appliances must be rated not less
than 15 cd.

NFPA 72-1999 4- Visible appliances in corridors must be
located be located no more than 15 feet from the end of the
corridor with a separation not greater than 100 feet between
appliances. If there is an interruption of the concentrated
viewing path, such as a fire door, an elevation change, or any
other obstruction, the area will be treated as a separate corridor.

NFPA 101-2000 Occupant Notification shall provide signal
notification to alert occupants of fire or other emergency as
required by other sections of this Code. (Chapters 12-42 describe
these requirements by occupancy)

ADA Accessibility Guidelines for Buildings and Facilities (ADAAG)
As amended through January 1998
4.28 Alarms. 

4.28.1 General. Alarm systems required to be accessible by 4.1
shall comply with 4.28. At a minimum, visual signal appliances
shall be provided in buildings and facilities in each of the
following areas: restrooms and any other general usage areas
(e.g., meeting rooms), hallways, lobbies, and any other area for
common use. 

4.28.2* Audible Alarms. If provided, audible emergency alarms
shall produce a sound that exceeds the prevailing equivalent
sound level in the room or space by at least 15 dbA or exceeds
any maximum sound level with a duration of 60 seconds by 5 dbA,
whichever is louder. Sound levels for alarm signals shall not
exceed 120 dbA. 

A4.28.2 Audible Alarms. Audible emergency signals must have an
intensity and frequency that can attract the attention of
individuals who have partial hearing loss. People over 60 years
of age generally have difficulty perceiving frequencies higher
than 10,000 Hz. An alarm signal which has a periodic element to
its signal, such as single stroke bells
(clang-pause-clang- pause), hi-low (up-down-up-down) and fast
whoop (on-off-on-off) are best. Avoid continuous or reverberating
tones. Select a signal which has a sound characterized by three
or four clear tones without a great deal of "noise" in between. 

4.28.3* Visual Alarms. Visual alarm signal appliances shall be
integrated into the building or facility alarm system. If single
station audible alarms are provided then single station visual
alarm signals shall be provided. Visual alarm signals shall have
the following minimum photometric and location features: 

(1) The lamp shall be a xenon strobe type or equivalent. 

(2) The color shall be clear or nominal white (i.e., unfiltered
or clear filtered white light). 

(3) The maximum pulse duration shall be two-tenths of one second
(0.2 sec) with a maximum duty cycle of 40 percent. The pulse
duration is defined as the time interval between initial and
final points of 10 percent of maximum signal. 

(4) The intensity shall be a minimum of 75 candela. 

(5) The flash rate shall be a minimum of 1Hz and a maximum of 3Hz. 

(6) The appliance shall be placed 80 in (2030 mm) above the
highest floor level within the space or 6 in (152 mm) below the
ceiling, whichever is lower. 

(7) In general, no place in any room or space required to have a
visual signal appliance shall be more than 50 ft (15 m) from the
signal (in the horizontal plane). In large rooms and spaces
exceeding 100 ft (30 m) across, without obstructions 6 ft (2 m)
above the finish floor, such as auditoriums, devices may be
placed around the perimeter, spaced a maximum 100 ft (30 m)
apart, in lieu of suspending appliances from the ceiling. 

(8) No place in common corridors or hallways in which visual
alarm signaling appliances are required shall be more than 50 ft
(15 m) from the signal. 

A4.28.3 Visual Alarms. The specifications in this section do not
preclude the use of zoned or coded alarm systems. 

4.28.4* Auxiliary Alarms. Units and sleeping accommodations shall
have a visual alarm connected to the building emergency alarm
system or shall have a standard 110-volt electrical receptacle
into which such an alarm can be connected and a means by which a
signal from the building emergency alarm system can trigger such
an auxiliary alarm. When visual alarms are in place the signal
shall be visible in all areas of the unit or room. Instructions
for use of the auxiliary alarm or receptacle shall be provided. 

A4.28.4 Auxiliary Alarms. Locating visual emergency alarms in
rooms where persons who are deaf may work or reside alone can
ensure that they will always be warned when an emergency alarm
is activated. To be effective, such devices must be located and
oriented so that they will spread signals and reflections
throughout a space or raise the overall light level sharply.
However, visual alarms alone are not necessarily the best means
to alert sleepers. A study conducted by Underwriters Laboratory
(UL) concluded that a flashing light more than seven times
brighter was required (110 candela v. 15 candela, at the same
distance) to awaken sleepers as was needed to alert awake
subjects in a normal daytime illuminated room. 

For hotel and other rooms where people are likely to be asleep,
a signal-activated vibrator placed between mattress and box
spring or under a pillow was found by UL to be much more
effective in alerting sleepers. Many readily available devices
are sound- activated so that they could respond to an alarm clock,
clock radio, wake-up telephone call or room smoke detector.
Activation by a building alarm system can either be accomplished
by a separate circuit activating an auditory alarm which would,
in turn, trigger the vibrator or by a signal transmitted through
the ordinary 110-volt outlet. Transmission of signals through the
power line is relatively simple and is the basis of common,
inexpensive remote light control systems sold in many department
and electronic stores for home use. So-called "wireless" intercoms
operate on the same principal. 


NICET Test Preparation handbooks can be found here


From the NICET web site
"It is anticipated that the 2003 schedule will be very similar
to the 2002 schedule. The dates for the first test cycle of 2003
will be January 26, February 23 and March 23. The first
application postmark deadline will be December 1, 2002. This
postmark deadline must be used by all examinees testing in the
first test cycle of 2003 until such time as the schedule for
your preferred sessions is established."

PCC Sylvania, Portland;
Test 11/16/02. Postmark deadline 9/28/02.
Test TBA/03. Postmark deadline TBA/03.

Clackamas Community College, Oregon City;
Test 11/16/02. Postmark deadline 9/28/02.
Test TBA/03. Postmark deadline TBA/03.

Bates Technical College, Tacoma;
Test 12/14/02. Postmark deadline 10/26/02.
Test TBA/03. Postmark deadline TBA/03.

Walla Walla Community College;
Test TBA/03. Postmark deadline TBA/03.
Test TBA/03. Postmark deadline TBA/03.

Spokane Community College;
Test 11/16/02. Postmark deadline 9/28/02.
Test TBA/03. Postmark deadline TBA/03.

For a complete list of all test centers and test dates, visit


October 28-30, 2002 Brockton, MA - Sponsored by AFAA of New
Intermediate Fire Alarm Seminar 10/28-30

November 4-7, 2002 Anaheim, CA - Sponsored by CAFAA
Fire Alarm System Testing and Inspections Seminar 11/4
Intermediate Fire Alarm Seminar 11/5-7 SOLD OUT!

November 12-14, 2002 Anaheim, CA - Sponsored by CAFAA
Intermediate Fire Alarm Seminar

November 12-15, 2002 Richmond, VA - Sponsored by Virginia AFAA  
Fire Alarm System Testing and Inspections Seminar 11/12
Intermediate Fire Alarm Seminar 11/13-15  

November 13-14, 2002 Philadelphia, PA - Conducted by PA Regional AFAA
IMSA Interior Fire Alarm Technician Level 1 Seminar

November 19-21, 2002 Salt Lake City, UT
Intermediate Fire Alarm Seminar.

December 2-5, 2002 Orlando, FL  
Fire Alarm System Testing and Inspections Seminar 12/2
Intermediate Fire Alarm Seminar 12/3-5

December 3-5, 2002 Seattle, WA
Advanced Fire Alarm Seminar.

January 14-16, 2003 Denver, CO - Sponsored by the Rocky Mountain AFAA
Advanced Fire Alarm Seminar. More information will be available soon!

January 21-23, 2003 Oklahoma City, OK - Sponsored by OK AFAA
Intermediate Fire Alarm Seminar. More information will be available soon!

February 4-6, 2003 Orlando, FL
Advanced Fire Alarm Seminar.

February 19-21, 2003 Raleigh, NC 
Intermediate Fire Alarm Seminar. More information will be available soon!

April 7-9, 2003 New Orleans, LA - Sponsored by LA AFAA   
Advanced Fire Alarm Seminar.


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Step-by-Step guide to NICET Certification in Fire Alarm Systems  [requires Acrobat Reader]

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reprinted with permission from one or more of the following;
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Code(r), and NFPA 101(r) Life Safety Code(r), Copyright(c)
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on the referenced subject, which is represented only by the
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This reprinted material is not the complete and official position of the NFPA on the referenced subject, which is represented only by the standard in its entirety.