College Planning & Management

JUN 2012

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INSPECTING FIRE & LIFE SAFETY SYSTEMS THE HEART OF THE MATTER. The nerve center of a fi re alarm system is the fi re alarm control panel. The control panel enables building personnel and emergency responders to locate the source of an alarm, pinpoint trouble or supervisory conditions, silence alarms, and reset the system. The control panel should be located where it can be responded to as necessary, around the clock. Ideally, it should be positioned in a fairly central location because if the system goes into alarm, someone will need to access its location and verify fi re status before the alarm is silenced. and take steps to evacuate. The components we tie to the fi re alarm system can include smoke control systems, door closers, and voice evacuation and emergency messaging systems. These systems may also be tied into critical emer- EXPERT RESOURCES Ask the Professionals The Joint Commission The Joint Commission (www.jointcommission.org) is an independent, not-for-profi t organization that accredits and certifi es more than 19,000 health care organizations and programs in the United States. Joint Commission accreditation and certifi cation is recognized nationwide as a symbol of quality that refl ects an organization's commitment to meeting certain performance standards. National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) The mission of the international, nonprofi t NFPA (www.nfpa.org), established in 1896, is to reduce the worldwide burden of fi re and other hazards on the quality of life by providing and advocating consensus codes and standards, research, training, and education. The world's leading advocate of fi re prevention and an authoritative source on public safety, NFPA develops, publishes, and disseminates more than 300 consensus codes and standards intended to minimize the possibil- ity and effects of fi re and other risks. 52 COLLEGE PLANNING & MANAGEMENT / JUNE 2012 gency power generators or backup battery supplies, which also require a testing main- tenance and repair schedule. Our campus classrooms, research facilities, assembly buildings, residen- tial facilities, and medical and support structures rely primarily on the fi re alarm control panel and attached devices as the fi rst line of detection and notifi cation. The purpose of this is twofold: First, the system can summon emergency services — such as the fi re department — as well as notify occupants of the building immediately to the existence of a fi re. Audible, visual, and other alarms give occupants an opportu- nity to escape before fi re and/or toxic prod- ucts of combustion become too intense for survival. These warning devices dramati- cally decrease the risk of death or injury. Additionally, the fi re alarm control panel constantly monitors all devices and the WWW.PLANNING4EDUCATION.COM ISTOCKPHOTO / NSJ-IMAGES

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