Introduction to Fire Alarm Systems
If you have very little experience with it, designing fire alarm systems gets muddy quickly. Of course, you want your fire system to be compliant with local, state, and federal regulations, but how do you know which rules apply and which don’t? Do you have any wiggle room on any of it? Sometimes it feels like there are more questions than answers. To that end — let us provide some answers.
Do I have to have a fire alarm system at my place of business?
It depends. The State of Texas Fire Marshall’s office sets laws (requirements) that vary depending on the occupancy type and occupancy number of your building. These are variables that affect what life safety systems you are legally obligated to provide at your place of business.
What’s the point of having different laws for different occupancy types and numbers?
The short answer is that the laws are in place to protect people during a fire. The goal of a fire alarm is to evacuate a building with zero loss of life. To that end, the systems that work for one occupancy type may not be ideal for another occupancy type. This is why you can’t just have a one-size-fits-all law. Only after we know the occupancy type and occupancy number can we know which type of system will best protect the buildings’ occupants. The variable laws reflect this fact.
Some different occupancy types include assembly, educational, factory, high-hazard, and so on. It stands to reason that the rules that apply to churches (assembly) might be different from the rules that apply to fireworks stands (high-hazard).
Do I have to hire an engineer to design my fire alarm system?
You have the choice, here. You can either hire an engineer to design your fire alarm system, or you can let the engineers at Ener-Tel design your fire alarm system for you. Ener-Tel will have to lay out the system for submittal to the fire marshall’s office, anyway, so charging the engineering of the project to Ener-Tel really does streamline the process.
Ener-Tel currently has 55 employees with 25 fire alarm licenses and 7 NICET certifications. NICET stands for the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies. It is the governing body whose function is to evaluate the qualifications of those who apply for certification in engineering technology fields. Engineers of all types show technical mastery by earning certifications from NICET.
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