Several of the new NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) codes and standards regarding emergency communications have caused some confusion in the building management marketplace. Building owners and managers may wonder whether the new guidelines apply to some or all of their facilities, and if they do, what actions need to be taken? This blog is intended to provide a brief overview of the new NFPA guidance and suggestions for your next steps.
As a professional in the security, life safety or AV installation channel, you know that your reputation depends on satisfied customers. When systems are unreliable, or experience downtime, it doesn’t matter what the cause – your customers look to you for answers, and for relief.
Savvy system designers and installers know that power surges have a damaging effect on sensitive electronic systems. Not only are security systems at risk, POS and lottery terminals, fuel pumps, access control and smart home systems, among many others, can also be compromised. To prevent these systems from surge-related damage and shortened service lives, they routinely include surge protection and make sure their customers understand the critical value of these devices.
It’s a fact that electronic systems live longer and are more reliable when they’re protected against power surges and spikes. As an integrator, if you fail to include Surge Protection Devices on new system installs, you could be failing your customers by not providing them with your best quality of service.
If any of the four reasons listed below sounds like something you might say, you need to keep reading. For each one, we are adding some useful information that will help you provide the best guidance and service possible – and keep your customers coming back to you and recommending you to others.
HVAC installation and maintenance businesses are demanding – and in a highly competitive market – so simply providing the basics of competent and efficient work may not be enough to be successful anymore. Customers today can post public feedback faster and more visibly than ever before, rewarding professionals that go beyond the basics to deliver both high quality installations and high customer satisfaction. Building a lasting and respected business may well depend on consistently delighting customers – and few things deflate customer satisfaction more than callbacks for malfunctioning or nonfunctioning systems.
One of the largest K-12 school districts in the Southeast USA recently spent more than two million dollars repairing and replacing fire alarm systems that were damaged or destroyed by transient power surges. A very tiny fraction of that cost, properly invested in surge protection devices, would likely have prevented this situation.
There is no doubt that the recent focus on improving safety and security in schools is a good thing – our children need, and deserve, a safe place to focus on their learning and personal development. School districts are investing significant resources in security, access control, and fire protection systems with that goal in mind. However, neglecting to include proper surge protection, either by a lack of understanding, or by cutting a small corner, can lead to costly system damage and downtime. Make sure that all electronic system installations are complete by protecting the systems that protect our schools!
It is coming up on two decades since the horrific events of 9/11, and the impact of those events is still affecting how we prepare for, and respond to, emergencies. One devastating aspect of those events was the fact that more than 300 firefighters, and many others, lost their lives – at least in part – due to a failure of first responders’ radio communications. While the reasons for this failure are complex, regulators across the country – led by the NFPA – took a lesson from it and initiated legislation, legal mandates, and updates to building and fire codes that are all designed to prevent these devastating events from happening again.
State and local municipal governments are where the rubber meets the road in terms of public policy, basic education, court systems, transit and a wide range of protective services including fire departments, police, and social services. It would be difficult to overstate the importance of these activities in maintaining a functional and civil society; yet in many areas, municipal governments remain in an endless process of prioritizing and reprioritizing purchases and services to address their objectives while never quite having enough resources to cover all the activities they would like to provide.
This difficult situation is only made worse when electronic equipment doesn’t last as long as it should, or when a key system is knocked offline or out of service by an unexpected equipment failure. Unplanned equipment expenses are bad enough, but the downtime and extra costs incurred until these systems are restored can place municipalities at risk; especially if video surveillance, access control and fire alarm systems, or emergency call centers are out of service.
Our increasingly connected economy, supported by a wide-ranging system of networked data and communications access, has had a broad impact on many elements of our personal and working lives. For example, remote offices can now remain tightly linked to headquarters, sharing IT resources and operating as if they were in the same building, even though they may actually be located thousands of miles apart. Credit card transactions are reviewed and approved in real time, reducing retail fraud and losses. Support functions such as data backups and broadcast audio processing, can easily be done by service teams via the cloud; and a wide range of useful networked equipment, from POS systems to security surveillance cameras, can quickly and easily be deployed to support the business and security objectives for installations of all sizes.
Each day, millions of workers in office buildings around the world use a wide range of electronic equipment to perform their jobs, including laptops, desktop computers, phones, printers, alarm systems, scanners, projectors, and more.
Technology has created many benefits for today’s businesses, including faster communication between devices, integrated usage and optimized operations. It allows us to accomplish everyday office functions efficiently and effectively, while keeping staff connected to suppliers, customers and their sales team. However, with these benefits come new dangers to your operations.
While electrical outlets provide power, they are also susceptible to lighting strikes – and there are more than 20 million cloud-to-ground lightning strikes in the U.S. each year. More common, however, are power surges and spikes that go mostly unnoticed every day. These temporary and instantaneous events exceed “normal” electrical line voltage, and can cause serious damage to anything plugged into those outlets, including sensitive office equipment.
No matter what kind of business you have, it almost certainly depends on electrical power. Every organization depends on lighting, computers and telephone systems. Manufacturing and automation rely on electronic programming, sensors, motors, and controls. Design teams count on servers and workstations to run their modeling and layout software. Retail stores use purchasing, inventory management, and point-of-sale equipment and software. Because every one of these systems is connected to electrical power, they are all subject to a range of disruptions.