A question and also listing your schools/business coding

OK I’m wondering why most systems are coded in code 3. Is there a reason? Every school I have been at it’s been code 3.

This topic is also for talking about your Schools/Businesses coding for the panel.

In my town, everything’s continuous. Schools, town hall, etc.

They were all grandfathered, though- the town did a major alarm overhaul in 1995.

I believe everything is code 3 because it has become the standard evacuation pattern. Pretty much every system installed in the late 90’s-present will be coded to code 3, although I could be wrong.

When I went to elementary school, The fire alarms were Edwards 10" S.S. Adaptabels, coded to march time. The system was an Edwards 6500, a very familiar system in that time. The Ontario government started doing major assessments to all the schools in Ontario in 2003, reason being a huge chunk of these schools were not in too great conditions. Among those were fire alarm system assessments, and basically all the schools were recommend to replace the old fire alarm system. So, during the years of 2004-2006, most of the elementary schools replaced their system with the same system; Mircom FX-2000s with Select-A-Horn/Strobes. Others got Edwards systems with Genesis horn/strobes. The only school in the school board with an Edwards 6500 installed in it is my former high school, with the old Edwards 10" adaptabels. I did know of an elementary school that had an old Edwards system with red flush-mounted adaptahorns, but my guess is it’s been replaced.

Code 3 became, um, code, in 1996 as a standard evacuation signal for all fire alarm systems. At the time, buildings were using lots of different options such as continuous, march time, code 4-4, you name it.

Code 4-4 was actually the first attempt at making a standardized coding sequence, however it never took off and was replaced by Code 3.

Nearly all new systems will be doing Code 3 now, however there will be some exceptions here and there. I’ve seen a few projects where the specs wanted march time instead of code 3, AHJ allowed it…

In Canada, Code 3 was adopted by the National Building Code in 1995. It seems that all fire alarm systems in new buildings use this signal as the evacuation tone, but around here, some retrofits keep the signal coding of the previous system.

Kind of off-topic, but a study published in the early 2000s by the National Research Council of Canada concluded that only 6 % of all people surveyed identified Code 3 as being an evacuation signal; it was also perceived as being the least urgent of all sounds used in the study (3.97 on a scale of 1 to 10). Interestingly enough, the report recommends upgrading all fire alarm signals in elementary and high schools to improve the recognition of Code 3 as an evacuation tone. It would definitely be interesting to note to what extent perception of this signal has evolved over the years following this study.

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Thanks for the Info Guys! :smiley:

I wonder how many on here would change that number. lol

As mentioned, it’s required in the code now.

18.4.2 Distinctive Evacuation Signal.* To meet the requirements of Section 10.10, the

alarm audible signal pattern used to notify building occupants

of the need to evacuate (leave the building) or relocate (from

one area to another) shall be the standard alarm evacuation

signal consisting of a three-pulse temporal pattern. The pattern

shall be in accordance with Figure and shall consist

of the following in this order:

(1) “On” phase lasting 0.5 second ±10 percent

(2) “Off” phase lasting 0.5 second ±10 percent for three successive

“on” periods

(3) “Off” phase lasting 1.5 seconds ±10 percent

Exception: Where approved by the authority having jurisdiction, continued

use of the existing consistent evacuation signaling scheme shall

be permitted. A single-stroke bell or chime sounded at “on” intervals

lasting 1 second ±10 percent, with a 2-second ±10 percent

“off” interval after each third “on” stroke, shall be permitted.

It’s also used in voice systems, before the message is announced.