Engine Company, Fireground Safety, Hazmat, Truck Company

Smoke from the Fire Alarm Control Room: How Your Risk Assessment Must Change

Issue 1 and Volume 171.

By Chris Greene and Tim Frank The common practice of colocating fire alarm panels in electrical rooms of low- and mid-rise apartment buildings poses unique challenges to our members during fire conditions. Colocating the fire alarm panel has many advantages for the building owners (photo 1), such as the following: The electrical room has fire-rated walls and doors, generally one-hour minimum. The rooms are often located in utility spaces, such as a garage or a basement. The fire alarm panel is near the building’s incoming power, so less wiring is needed, and it is secure. The fire alarm panel is behind a secured door that is inaccessible to the public. However, for these types of buildings, a fire involving the electrical room will render the fire alarm panel inaccessible to the on-scene fire department members and may complicate the fire attack. In newer and larger occupancies, there is often a…

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