I found some videos of the rare Simplex 2001/2120 with voice evac!
Here are the videos:
Oh yeah, good find! Real slow whoop that system’s got…(I am a bit confused by the lack of a voice message though: heck why does it seem like most videos of 2001/2120 voice systems don’t feature a message?)
It’s Canada; I find here we don’t have many ‘voice evac’ systems. As there really is no code to have a mandatory auto evacuation message here. So most ‘voice’ fire systems are very basic. They are programmed with a generated tone, and then has manual paging for the building personnel or fire department to use.
I have yet to come across a real voice evacuation system.
Yeah, that’s right, though if you think about it that really defeats the point of a voice system in the first place. I’ve also been told that unlike their US counterparts Canadian voice systems apparently require government approval to be installed, which is as ridiculous as strobes not being required.
I’ve never heard of the government approval thing, and I work in the field. We go by code, which is more than 12 stories at the moment, but will be changed to more than 7 floors pretty soon. Also, strobes are now implemented more in new builds. The only time I don’t see it is in retrofits, but there is a whole other part of the code retaining to retrofits and what you can do.
That’s what a friend of mine who lives in Canada (Calgary specifically I think) has said: that fire alarm systems with voice capability apparently require approval from (I guess) the federal government to be installed (or perhaps he just means the government in his province. In any case though it’s stupid if it’s true).
Seems like going by what you say that Canada still mainly reserves voice systems for large buildings, as opposed to the US where they’re becoming commonplace no matter the building size. Also nice to hear that strobes are becoming more prevalent (though it wouldn’t surprise me if they’re still not mandated in Canada’s federal life safety regulations: has nobody overseeing said regulations ever thought about hearing-impaired people & to update the former? They’re the whole reason that ADA requires them).
While I’m not familiar with other Canadian jurisdictions’ requirements, it seems that the Ontario Building Code requires the use of prerecorded messages in certain circumstances. Articles 22.214.171.124 and 126.96.36.199 state the following (I’ve highlighted the relevant portions with bold text):
188.8.131.52. Two-Way Voice Communication Systems
(1) A voice communication system required by Subsection 3.2.6., Clause 184.108.40.206.(14)(f) or Sentence 220.127.116.11.(12) shall,
(a) consist of a two-way means of communication with the central alarm and control facility and with the mechanical control centre from each floor area, and
(b) be capable of broadcasting pre-recorded, synthesized or live messages from the central alarm and control facility that are audible and intelligible in all parts of the building, except in elevator cars.
(2) The voice communication system referred to in Sentence (1) shall include a means to silence the alarm signal in a single-stage fire alarm system while voice messages are being transmitted, but only after the alarm signal has initially sounded for not less than 30 s.
(3) The voice communication system referred to in Sentence (1) shall include a means to silence the alert signal and the alarm signal in a two-stage fire alarm system while voice messages are being transmitted, but only after the alert signal has initially sounded for not less than,
(a) 10 s in hospitals that have supervisory personnel on duty for twenty-four hours each day, or
(b) 30 s for all other occupancies.
(4) The voice communication system referred to in Sentence (1) shall be designed so that the alarm signal in a two-stage fire alarm system can be selectively transmitted to any zone or zones while maintaining an alert signal or selectively transmitting voice instructions to any other zone or zones in the building.
(5) The voice communication system referred to in Sentence (1) shall be designed so that visual signal devices are not interrupted while voice instructions are being transmitted.
(6) The voice communication system referred to in Sentence (1) shall be installed so that emergency communication devices are located in each floor area near exit stair shafts.
(7) A voice communication system referred to in Sentence (1) that is installed in a building that is not intended to be staffed, at times when the building will be occupied, with persons trained to provide instructions over the system shall include a pre-recorded message.
18.104.22.168. One-Way Voice Communication Systems
(1) Except for Group B, Division 1 and Group F, Division 1 major occupancies, a one-way voice communication system shall be installed in a building where,
(a) a fire alarm system is required under Subsection 3.2.4.,
(b) a two-stage fire alarm system is installed, and
(c) the occupant load of the building exceeds 1 000.
(2) The voice communication system required by Sentence (1) shall consist of loudspeakers that are,
(a) operated from the central alarm and control facility or, in the absence of a central alarm and control facility, from a designated area, and
(b) designed and located so that transmitted messages are audible and intelligible in all parts of the building, except in elevator cars.
(3) A voice communication system required by Sentence (1) that is installed in a building that is not intended to be staffed, at times when the building will be occupied, with persons trained to provide instructions over loudspeakers described in Sentence (2) shall include a pre-recorded message.
(4) The voice communication system required by Sentence (1) shall meet the silencing and transmission requirements of Sentences 22.214.171.124.(2) to (5).
I regularly see voice systems in low-rise buildings in my area, and I’m starting to see voice systems in smaller installations such as event/assembly halls more frequently (this has been particularly noticeable in the last 10 years); I know of a tiny two-storey public library, for instance, that has a Mircom voice system with L-Series speaker/strobes. My personal experience with voice systems is fairly limited; I’ve only ever heard two such systems in action, and one of these used prerecorded messages.
As for federal regulations pertaining to strobes, the National Building Code of Canada acts as a model code for provinces and territories (its current requirements for visual signalling are found at article 126.96.36.199). Perhaps that provision will be updated in the future, but it will remain that individual jurisdictions will be able to make their own decisions in this regard. Its preface states the following:
The National Building Code of Canada 2020 (NBC), together with the National Plumbing Code of Canada 2020 (NPC), the National Fire Code of Canada 2020 (NFC) and the National Energy Code of Canada for Buildings 2020 (NECB), has been developed by the Canadian Commission on Building and Fire Codes (CCBFC) as an objective-based national model code that can be adopted by provincial and territorial governments.
In Canada, provincial and territorial governments have the authority to enact legislation that regulates building design and construction within their jurisdictions. This may involve the adoption of the NBC without change or with modifications to suit local needs, and the enactment of other laws and regulations regarding building design and construction, including requirements for professional involvement.
The NBC is a model code in the sense that it helps promote consistency among provincial and territorial building codes. Persons involved in the design or construction of a building should consult the provincial or territorial jurisdiction concerned to find out which building code is applicable.
Regarding the videos above, I find it interesting that both the first- and second-stage signals can be heard at the same time in the third video. I wonder why that is.
Odd considering that almost no Canadian voice systems seem to have messages, only tones (which as I have said pretty much defeats the purpose of installing a voice-capable system in the first place).
You know, funny you should say that: a public library I used to visit had a voice system despite it being tiny (it was only one story!).
I sure hope it’s updated at some point (hopefully before a hearing-impaired person dies or is seriously injured due to not knowing of a fire).
So like AHJs in the US? (since for some reason consistent implementation of federal standards is apparently not seen as important despite it being life safety, meaning people could die if something’s not right)
Really? Huh. Who knows why honestly.
While I suspect that systems with prerecorded messages are indeed less common here than in the States, I don’t think they’re as rare as they may seem (particularly in certain types of buildings). In response to this discussion, I thought it would be interesting to compile some clips of some Canadian voice systems with messages; I’ve posted the compilation in this thread.
It could be a three channel system (well all voice systems are installed with 3 channels). When it comes to 2 stage voice evacuation, in high rises it is usually set up so that the 2nd stage is heard in the zone that was initiated first, as well as the floor above and below, and then the rest of the building is supposed to be 1st stage. That could be why you hear 1st and 2nd stage signals.
I remember the rarest 2 stage voice evac I ever heard, it was one of those old Mirtone 790s in a hotel by the boarder. The 1st stage was literally a little ‘BEEP’ every 10 seconds. The second stage was slow whoop, you could hear it down the stairwell. Other than that I have come across a 1st stage Mirtone system in the field, which has been replaced.
I actually just ran across my first auto voice evac system! It was in a 14 story highrise, of all places. The system was a brand new Mircom FX-4000 with voice evac, replacing an older 6500 with 6700 voice evac. It makes sense, as in this building, there is no management on site past 4:30. The other 2 buildings also have voice evacuation, but don’t have pre recorded messages, as there is management that lives in the other 2 buildings. One is a Notifier 5000 with voice control, the other a Mircom FA-1000 with voice.
It’s always super wierd to see voice evacuation on a Mircom FA-1000, But I mean technically Mircom’s AMP Panels make it easy to turn any Mircom conventional panel into a voice control system. All the programming for tones and speaker ccts are on the AMP panel, so all the FACP is for is control and contacts. This system didn’t even have a selective paging option, just an all call at the annunciator.