Shopping Centre fire alarms

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alexdodds

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29 Jul 2009
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Do shopping centres have a 2 phase fire alarm system.

Today in the MetroCentre while at work someone pressed the alarm downstairs from our shop and a warning message like inspector sands came over the tannoy It was played for around 2 minutes. This was in the red mall and so I don't know if it would of been played all over the centre.
 
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Jonfun

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Surely if you work there you should know how your fire alarm system works! :)

I'd imagine some do some don't, all depends on size etc. Afaik my local one (unless they've made alterations recently) just goes into evac - complete with fire shutters - on any alarm activation. Admittedly I've no way of verifying whether the ones I've seen were behind the scenes or done from a call point, so it could be that ones done in the latter manner does activate an initial "save us all, Inspector Sands!" style announcement. Not quite sure they'd appreciate me testing it though...
 

John Webb

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Most shopping centres have 'staged' fire alarms - the alarm will sound 'Evacuate' in the unit where it was activated and give a warning elsewhere. If the centre staff decide it is necessary they will then initiate a general evacuate. This is because the individual unit user is usually responsible for the fire alarm system in their unit but it has to be linked to the centre's alarm system.
There are degrees of sophistication - some unit systems will activate immediately on a smoke detector operation but put a delay in if a 'break-glass' unit is operated to allow unit staff to check for malicious operation.
Again depending on the set-up, smoke control systems in the Centre may be activated generally or just locally to the unit from which an alarm has come - it all depends what the centre operators have agreed with the local Fire Service and Building Control during the design and construction.
It's a very complex area of fire safety work - I used to work for the Fire Research Station on detection and sprinklers - and shopping centres were a major area of concern due to the large numbers of people that can be in them.
 
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