fire alarm speakers used as PA speakers.

Have you seen this? A Walmart in my area that was built in 2008 has Wheelock speaker/strobes that are used for PA announcements and music.

Using an voice fire alarm system for auxiliary audio functions is not unusual and is allowed. Voice fire alarm system are now used as part of mass notification systems. We had stock emergency messages available for many years for tornado or severe weather warnings.

In the past we had a large manufacturing plant with a 4100 voice FA system that interfaced to the telephone system with a multi-channel paging adapter. The interface had multiple contact outputs that we monitored with utility type points. Dialing a code on the phone system could choose a particular department or plant wide all call. The FA system turned on the speakers depending on the point input and picked up the audio from the phone system interface.

A university in our area has some voice systems. They have their radio system vendor install a receiver at those FA systems. We then program the system to turn the speakers on and switch to the audio input from a contact output on the receiver. Campus safety can make emergency announcements through the FA system from their two way radio.

i’m not a fan of the background music thing, but it’s allowed. you can’t supervise the circuit while audio is constantly going out on it, and people complain if it’s too loud so the speaker’s get turned down… great until there’s a fire.

Honestly I didn’t know that fire alarm speakers could be used as PA speakers until I saw twoplyboy do it on a system in one of his videos on his channel and even then I thought it was only a Canadian thing until I took a closer look at the panels at my college when they replaced the 4051 horns son 4050-80s there with SpectraAlert speaker/strobes and they had a microphone attached to the panel. Though the college has its own PA system that it uses for announcements and they don’t use the microphone in the panel.

In Canada, We actually aren’t allowed to play music on a fire alarm system (or use the FA speakers for anything non-FA related). Its either in one of the ULC books, or I believe the Ontario Building code.

I know that. I meant that I never heard of anybody using speaker/strobes as a PA system and not to play music.

The company I work for just did a fairly large FA/PA system in a large expo hall. We used regular ceiling mount speakers and speaker strobes in the service areas, lobby, restrooms, and kitchen area. They were all system sensor SPSCW and SPCW. Originally, we had installed EV (ElectroVoice) speakers in the expo hall because that is what the engineer/owner wanted (not sure why the AHJ was not more involved in the design due to it being a hybrid FA/Audio sys). Prior to this I hadn’t worked on this type of set up so our crew went along with the plans. Come to find out the speakers were not listed for FA use and did not even work when we powered them up to test them. After much head scratching on the engineers part we changed the speakers (55 of them). We went with TOA speakers that were listed for FA use. We tapped all of them at 30 watts each. The system is a Notifier NFS2-640 with a DVC. We used 20 100 watt amplifiers spread out over seven electrical closets for the expo floor. They have since used the center for shows and we have not had any issues as far as PA/intercom use goes. They have the ability to play music over different zones, and page different zones using a Notifier RPU. We are still slated to provide a separate mixer interface to tie into the DVC so that they don’t have to use the RPU for regular use. IE it would be like having a paging system but using the FA for amplification only. The ability to control the volume would be done on the external feed before it hits the panel, and if the fire alarm is activated, it cuts that audio off and plays the fire message at full volume.


Yeah I think it in the Building Code.