Why is Fire Alarm so loud?
Sounds silly asking questions about Fire Alarm? It’s okay. One needs to be silly to learn new things.
If you ever have been to any EDM Concerts, near the construction site, you must be aware of the damage that it would make to our ears; it can almost damage your ears.
This brings us to the question, why are fire alarms so loud?
The major reason for the alarm to be loud is to make people around a particular place aware of a sudden blast so they can help themselves and others to get to a safe place. Hence, the alarm sound is louder than the ambient noise around.
How Loud or what should be the alarming sound?
Since we spoke about the alarms should be louder than the ambient noises. The horns or alarms should create an awareness hit to people, it should be in the range of 60dB to 120dB (decibels).
According to NFPA 72, the audible fire alarm notification system used in any public mode should be of 15 dB (decibels) at minimum above average ambient sound levels. A typical office is between 50 and 60 decibels average ambient sound level.
No doubt, longer exposure to high-pitched sound can be dangerous as one may even lose his/her listening ability. And no one would purposefully like to get deaf. Also, once the fire alarm goes off no one is likely to stay in the area for a long time; nullifying the damage it will cause.
Now that we are talking about fire alarms, one can ask why the alarm volumes vary.
Obviously, you cannot go to everyone saying there’s a fire in this place please vacant it. Alarms are in places so that each and everyone in the area or campus is aware of the critical situation. Depending on the areas the volumes are set and the only reason the volumes vary.
The alarm sound should be 15dB above the average noise level of the area or 5db above the maximum ambient sound level; whichever is higher is always recommended. Depending on the place the volumes would be set accordingly.
For eg: a restaurant would need a low alarm volume as compared to a manufacturing unit because the manufacturing unit would consist of machines and other equipment which makes noise the fire alarm should be of a higher pitch or volume to make the employees aware of a potential hazard.
A good thumb rule
is that about 6 dB is lost when you double the distance from the speaker or the horn. The rating of audible notification appliances is rated at 10 feet from the appliance. So, if one rates a horn at 95dBA at 10 feet and another person measures the sound level at 20 feet it could be low as 89 dBA. Another factor in measuring the sound levels in any given location is factoring the loss of sound through doors.
If at any point the door is open, you’ll lose 4dB – 12dB. But if the doors are closed, the loss of sound can be increase to 10dB – 24dB; depending on if the door is the hollow core of a solid core. Covering or sealing the openings around the door would increase the loss of sound to 22dB – 34dB. Unfortunately, not all the rooms are equipped with an audible device, hence the area in which the device is located must be adjusted to accommodate the areas it serves.
How can one protect their ears from a Loud Fire Alarm?
When one hears the intrusive alarm sound, he/she can cover up their ears at that instance and continue to walk out of the premises. Also, one must not panic in this situation.
It is important to have an evacuation plan and proper sets of instructions to follow. And everyone on the premises is aware of what to do in that scenario. Plans should be kept in place so that each and everyone is taken at a safe place.
Last but not the least, if you think while conducting a fire drill the fire alarm is too loud you can always hire some fire protection services personnel to come and check it for you.
Where can you connect with the Fire Protection services?
There are many firms available that can provide you with firefighting equipment.
One such is BNH Traders LLP which provides the Fire Extinguisher Ball, which is best for ceasing the initial fire. Also, this ball can be used by anyone from the age of 5 to an elderly person.
Or else you can call on the toll-free FIRE number for any help.