LOW-COST AUTOMATIC LIGHTING FOR FIRE STATIONS
Our priority of safety led us to search for an affordable signal-activated lighting system for each of our 12 stations. The system was to provide a light in each bunk room and other dark areas whenever an alarm was sent to the station. We chose a system that used easy-to-purchase, plug-in modules, was compatible with existing electrical wiring, and did not involve building codes or permits. Firefighters installed the system.
The “sending” module, which interfaces with our station’s radio through the use of a two-minute timer circuit, plugs into the wall receptacle somewhere near the station radio. [Tie module requires either a contact closure or a low voltage (6 to 18 volts) as an input, which should be obtained from the source that activates the fire station’s alarm-signaling device. If the input is instantaneous, a timer must be installed between the radio and the sending module to hold the signal for a predetermined period. Our timers hold for about two minutes, which is enough time to exit the station. If a timer circuit is needed, technical assistance may be necessary to connect the sending module to the radio decoder.
“Receiving” modules in each room turn on wall-mounted plastic spotlight lamps, which have six-foot plugin cords. The lamps are plugged into the module, which then is plugged into the wall receptacle. The receptacle should not he controlled by a switch.
J he cost of the modules, which may be purchased locally or directly from the manufacturer, are S14 for each receiving unit and S20 for each sending module. The lamps cost S10 each. Maintenance consists primarily of changing a light bulb occasionally. The “test” and “all lights out” buttons on the sending module make it easy to isolate the problem when troubleshooting the system. 1 he lights will go on while the test button is held in.
Among the other benefits of this system arc the following: The locations of the lights and receiving modules can be changed at any time; bulb wattage can be selected for optimum results; and the light acts as a secondary alarm that stays on, eliminating any doubt that the alarm was sent.