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December 1, 2002

                             ET NEWS
Issue No. 75                                           12-1-2002

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


I hope you all enjoyed a wonderful Thanksgiving break.

I'm off to Seattle this week.

Have fun!



ET Journal includes material that appears in my NICET Test
Preparation handbooks. For more information about these books and
where to purchase them, please visit my web site:

NICET Fire Alarm Systems Level II

34002 is a Level II Special Work element.

Understand the processing of alarm signals which originate in an
alarm initiating device and are processed at the control panel to
operate the alarm notification appliance. Understand the basic
schematic drawings of noncoded and coded fire alarm systems.
(Training Manual on Fire Alarm Systems, Fire Protection Handbook,
Fire Alarm Signaling Systems, manufacturers' data, and electrical
and electronic textbooks)

Training Manual on Fire Alarm Systems

Fire Protection Handbook

Fire Alarm Signaling Systems

Manufacturers' data

Electrical and electronic textbooks

"Understand the processing of alarm signals which originate in an
alarm initiating device and are processed at the control panel to
operate the alarm notification appliance. Understand the basic
schematic drawings of noncoded and coded fire alarm systems."

NEMA-1997 Box, Fire Alarm.
A. Noncoded. A manually operated device which, when operated,
closes or opens one or more sets of contacts and generally locks
the contacts in the operated position until the box is reset.

B. Coded. A manually operated device in which the act of pulling
a lever causes the transmission of not less than three rounds of
coded alarm signals. Similar to the noncoded type, except that
instead of a manually operated switch, a mechanism to rotate a
code wheel is utilized. Rotation of the code wheel, in turn,
causes an electrical circuit to be alternately opened and closed,
or closed and opened, thus transmitting a coded alarm signal
which identifies the location of the ox. The code wheel is cut
for the individual code to be transmitted by the device and can
operate by clockwork or an electric motor. Clockwork transmitters
can be pre-wound or can be wound by the pulling of the alarm
lever. Usually the box is designed to repeat its code four times
and automatically come to rest. Pre-wound transmitters must sound
a trouble signal when they require rewinding. Solid state,
electronic coding devices are also used in conjunction with the
fire alarm control unit to produce coded sounding of the system's
audible notification appliances.

NEMA-1997 2.3 NONCODED SYSTEM. A noncoded system is one in which
a continuous fire alarm signal is transmitted for a predetermined
period of time after which the alarm notification appliances may
be manually or automatically restored to normal.

NOTE: Restoring the system to normal, following a fire alarm, may
involve the resetting of detection devices and the control unit,
and is implied in all of the following descriptions.

NEMA-1997 2.4 ZONED NONCODED SYSTEM. A zoned noncoded system
provides for the continuous transmission of the fire alarm signal
as in a noncoded system, but also incorporates an annunciator or
display to indicate the exact area, or zone, of the building from
which the alarm originated.

Before continuing with the description of a variety of coded
system types, it should be recognized that coded systems use a
coding device, which may be electromechanical or electronic in
nature, to produce a predetermined, patterned, and distinctive
fire alarm signal. The coding mechanism may be integral to the
control unit, or it may be employed in a coded manual fire alarm
box, or it may be used in a code transmitter device to which are
connected noncoded manual and automatic fire detection devices.

NEMA-1997 2.5 CODED SYSTEM. A coded system is one in which not
less than three rounds of coded fire alarm signals are
transmitted after which the fire alarm system may be manually or
automatically restored to normal.
(Also see "selective coded system").

NEMA-1997 2.6 MASTER CODED SYSTEM. A master coded system is one
in which the coding mechanism provides for the transmission of
the same common-coded fire alarm signal in response to the
initiation of an alarm from any location in the building. Common
code (e.g. 4-4) should be selected to produce a distinctive
pulsing of the system’s alarm notification appliances so that
building occupants know unmistakably that a fire condition exists.

NEMA-1997 2.7 MARCH TIME CODED SYSTEM. A march time coded system
is actually a noncoded system that operates much like the master
coded system except that the coding mechanism is arranged to
produce a fire alarm signal at a march time rate of approximately
120 pulses per minute.

NEMA-1997 2.8 SELECTIVE CODED SYSTEM. A selective coded system is
one in which a number of code transmitters or remotely mounted
devices, or both, are used; the coding mechanism for each coded
unit is systematically selected and organized to produce its own
distinctive coded alarm signal identifying its location (floor or
zone) in the system. In this way, the sounding of a fire alarm
signal notifies the building occupants of an alarm of fire, and,
at the same time, tells key building personnel, such as an
in-house fire brigade, of the location from which the alarm was
initiated. Normally, four rounds of the selective code are

NEMA-1997 2.9 ZONED CODED SYSTEM. A zoned coded system also
alerts both the building occupants and key building personnel.
While the audible alarms in a zoned coded system function
identically to those in a selective coded system, zoned coded
systems generally are less specific about the origin of the
signal. As its name implies, the signal denotes only the general
area or zone from which one or more different detection devices
may have initiated the alarm.

FASS-94 Chapter 5, Signal Processing
Processing is the dynamic link between signal input and system
response. Signal processing is an interpretive function,
governing the response of a unit or an entire fire alarm
signaling system to the various inputs, which are received by
that unit, or system. A control panel will typically receive
numerous, varied signal inputs; outputs may vary as widely
depending on the application of the alarm system.

Manual Fire Alarm Signals
Manual fire alarm signals in a protective system are typically
initiated from manual fire alarm boxes located throughout the
protected facility. Signals may also be initiated outside the
protective system, for example, from a municipal fire alarm box
(as described in NFPA 1221). Processed outputs for manual signals
will vary according to the type of protective system.

Some of the differences among manual responses are outlined
below. (a) An auxiliary system does not normally use a coded
alarm signal. The rationale for this is that auxiliary systems
have historically been simple noncoded latching circuits, which
did not transmit signals in a serial method to a public fire
department. (b) Manual signal initiation is not part of household
fire warning equipment. Since most fires occur while the
occupants of the household are sleeping, initiation and detection
are the only necessary functions of household fire warning
equipment. (c) It is assumed in NFPA 72F and NFPA 1221 that other
system units or interfaces have processed manual signals prior to
retransmission. Noncoded manual alarm inputs are processed in a
manner similar to that for automatic alarm inputs.

Automatic Alarm Signals
Automatic alarms are typically initiated by smoke and heat
detectors, both of which can be installed and maintained in all
the protective signaling systems according to NFPA 72, National
Fire Alarm Code. The NFPA signaling system standards refer to
special connections for use of integral trouble contacts located
on the automatic signal initiating devices. These normally closed
contacts should be connected electrically at the end of the
initiating circuit to prevent disconnection of initiating

Guard’s Tour Supervisory Service
In guard’s tour service, a supervisory service signal is
typically initiated through mechanical key operated tour
stations. These signals may also be generated electronically or
optically for encoding and decoding. “Encoding” can be defined as
processing of a signal such as that initiated by a switch contact
and subsequent transfer of the signal into information, which can
be interpreted by a machine. “Decoding” is the translation of
this information back into signals understandable by human

Sprinkler System Waterflow Alarm and Supervisory Signal Service
In general, a sprinkler system waterflow alarm and supervisory
signal service in any protective signaling system must be able to
interpret the type of system signal and the particular element,
which has operated. Additionally, the supervisory service must
identify restoration of the element to the normal position.

Waterflow alarm supervisory signals consist of one or more of the
following: gate valve supervision, pressure supervision, water
level supervision, water temperature supervision, and pump
supervision. The waterflow alarm signals are the only supervisory
signals that can be transmitted and processed by auxiliary
systems. If additional supervisory services are desired, another
type of protective system should be specified.

Trouble Signals
To varying degrees, all systems interpret factors
(i.e., "trouble signals") which inhibit alarm transmission or
annunciation. Many functions and/or circuits are supervised
against loss of capability, depending on the nature of the system
and the complexity of the information processed by that system.
In some cases, automatic or manual control of various system
functions permits emergency operation under faults that could
debilitate the entire system.



OR1 PCC Sylvania, Portland;
Test 1/25/03. Postmark deadline 12/7/03.
Test 4/26/03. Postmark deadline 3/8/03.

OR2 Clackamas Community College, Oregon City;
Test 3/15/03. Postmark deadline 2/1/03.
Test 6/21/03. Postmark deadline 5/3/03.

WA1 Bates Technical College, Tacoma;
Test 12/14/02. Postmark deadline 10/26/02.
Test 2/22/03. Postmark deadline 1/4/03.

WA2 Walla Walla Community College;
Test 2/22/03. Postmark deadline 1/4/03.
Test 5/17/03. Postmark deadline 3/29/03.

WA3 Spokane Community College;
Test 2/22/03. Postmark deadline 1/4/03.
Test 5/17/03. Postmark deadline 3/29/03.

These dates are from the NICET web site.
For a complete list of all test centers and test dates, visit


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.

January 21-23, 2003 Oklahoma City, OK - Sponsored by OK AFAA
Intermediate Fire Alarm Seminar.

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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reprinted material is not the complete and official position of
the National Fire Protection Association on the referenced
subject, which is represented only by the standard in its
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Some information may be found within this web site that is reprinted with permission from one or more of the following: NFPA 70 National Electrical Code®,NFPA 72® National Fire Alarm Code®, & NFPA 101® Life Safety Code®, Copyright© NFPA, Quincy, MA 02269.

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.