Signalink's Fire-Link II alarm panel.
Signalink's fire alarm signaling system.
KELOWNA, Canada – September 29, 2009 – Residents of older apartment buildings can now gain the improved fire alarm safety standards mandated for new buildings without owners having to incur expensive, time-consuming and disruptive retrofits, thanks to a new fire alarm signalling system that can be simply and easily installed using a building’s existing electrical wiring.
Signalink Technologies (www.signalink.com), a company that has developed some of the world’s first commercial products based on power line networking technology, today launched its Fire-Link II, an Underwriters Laboratories (UL)-listed power line-networked system that activates audible and visible alarms inside apartments in buildings that do not have in-suite alarms. When the main fire alarm system is activated, a loud audible alarm and a bright LED visual warning light (strobe) are simultaneously activated on the in-suite Fire-Link alarm device.
Building and fire codes in most jurisdictions in the U.S. require in-suite alarms for new buildings. However, retrofitting the massive inventory of older buildings can be a costly and disruptive undertaking for building owners and managers, meaning that most still lack this critical life safety measure.
“Studies have shown that apartment building residents are often unable to hear a fire alarm from inside their apartments, and this resulted in a change to the fire code requiring in-suite alarms in newly constructed apartments,” said Rich Morris, international fire and life safety advocate. “The problem is that it is challenging and expensive to retrofit older apartment buildings, which means that many remain without in-suite alarms. It is in such buildings where Fire-Link can make a tremendous difference to the safety of occupants.”
At the core of Fire-Link is a communications platform and engine that is deployed across the electrical wiring infrastructure that already exists in any building as a ready-made network, eliminating the need for the additional wiring usually required when retrofitting apartments and condominiums. By installing a single panel, Signalink’s technology can send signals via the existing electrical wiring thereby eliminating the need to pull wiring in older buildings.
The Fire-Link system connects with a building’s existing fire-alarm system and brings alarm devices inside apartments where previously there were none. Designed to plug into any wall outlet, Fire-Link hugely reduces labor costs, allowing a typical 50-unit building to be retrofitted in a single day, versus the two man-months usually required when using a traditional retrofit approach. This provides an opportunity for fire-safety installers to take on jobs that previously could be managed only by larger firms with significant resources, including in-house electricians.
Signalink works with major organizations in the field of fire safety like Mircom Technologies, Troy Sprinkler, Vipond and G.E., and already has several hundred installations of Fire-Link in the United States and Canada.
“Fire-Link provides an obvious benefit to both alarm installers and building managers by allowing rapid and cost-effective retrofitting of apartment buildings,” said Pat McCoubrey, manager national accounts and total solutions, Edwards/Troy Sprinkler. “When you combine this with the benefits of improved fire safety and peace of mind for building occupants, then you have a compelling case for using Signalink’s technology.”
The Fire-Link II is UL-listed as a fire safety device and for connection to the AC power system, and consists of two key components:
• The In-Suite Device (ISD) is the individual alarm unit that can be plugged directly into any electrical outlet and firmly affixed to avoid accidental or intentional removal by occupants. The ISD features an audible alarm as well as the first UL-listed LED visual warning indicator (strobe) for the hearing impaired. The ISD’s loudness is rated at 90 decibels at three meters and meets the National Fire Alarm Code 75-decibel requirement when measured with an intervening bedroom door closed between the ISD and the occupant.
• The Network Monitoring Controller (NMC) is connected to the existing fire-alarm system control unit and is designed to manage all the ISDs in an apartment building. The controller is powered by an AC connection, which also provides access to the same network it uses to communicate with the remotely installed ISDs in each suite. The system software contains individual ISD identification numbers so that the NMC can continuously communicate with, and monitor the condition of, the remote devices.
“Fire-Link II provides an answer to all those who claim that doing nothing is a more attractive option than going through the pain and expense of a fire alarm system retrofit,” said Ed Alfke, CEO, Signalink. “We have developed a unique technology platform that makes rewiring a thing of the past and allows the added safety of in-suite fire alarms to be delivered to hundreds of thousands of older apartment buildings across North America.”
Fire-Link II is available now from Signalink and its distributors.