Security Business

MAR 2014

Find news and information for the executive corporate security director, CSO, facility manager and assets protection manager on issues of policy, products, incidents, risk management, threat assessments and preparedness.

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dvancements in fire alarm control panels have seemed to evolve slowly over time. Historically, in many instances, panel changes have been born out of codes and stan- dards changes; however, things like "the cloud" and intuitive touchscreens that have permeated our everyday lives have been incorporated into new panel designs. Loud calls for a reliable means of communicating with people in emer- gencies following tragedies involving terrorists, active shooters, tornadoes and other non-fire related incidents have led to the marriage of fire alarm and mass notification, fitting the capa- bilities of both into one box. Likewise, the integration of other former sidecar technologies are following suit. Intuitive Touchscreen Interface Bank teller machines, airport check-in kiosks, phones, computers and even your car radios now have sleek touchscreens, complete with almost idiot-proof menus to guide users to the next, logical step. Following many end-user interviews and onsite observations, manufactur- ers like Gamewell-FCI have found most end- users are uncomfortable with the thought of having to "touch" their fire alarm system. The "fear of fire alarm systems" becomes real when horns and strobes are blaring, while facility managers, building owners or security guards are standing at the panel wondering what to do, while fearing the push of one wrong button will summon the fire department, turn-on sprinklers or break the system altogether. Today, touchscreen interfaces are being incorporated into panels, which feature intui- tive menus to help novices navigate their way through the use of a fire alarm system without the fear. While helping them with common operations, such as temporarily disabling devic- es, silencing an alarm or determining who to A 76 | SD&I | March 2014 FIRE &LIFE SAFETY By Jeff Netland A look at new technologies and functionality in fire alarm control panels Panel Innovations Top: Combination fire alarm and voice evacuation panels are becom- ing much more common. Right: Software tools that tie into the panel can be used for testing, inspections and more. SDI_76-79_0314 Netland.indd 76 3/5/14 1:44 PM

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