NFPA 72 has initiated a code change to the 2010 edition that will require that new commercial sleeping areas utilize a low frequency sounder with a 520 Hz (+/- 10%) square wave. For those who would like more information from the source, this new regulation can be found in Section 18.4.5 that describes sleeping area requirements
Will these requirements also be present in the NFPA 72: 2013?
Yes, these regulations will also carry over into the NFPA 72: 2013 edition.
What is the compliance date for the installations of the sounders with the low frequency alarm signal?
It is January 1, 2014.
Why there was a need to alter the code?
The sleeping space occupants with mild to severe hearing loss will benefit from this low frequency tone. A few research studies funded by NFPA concluded that a low frequency tone (a fundamental frequency of 520Hz ± 10 percent), is more effective at waking sleeping individuals. This new requirement is based on a series of those studies and is designed to help the sleeping space occupants with mild-to-severe hearing loss.
Where are the applications of the code?
The requirement applies to new commercial sleeping spaces. The regulation has to be implemented in:
− Hotels & Motels
− Retirement Facilities & Assisted Living Homes
− College & University Dormitories
Does this requirement only apply to the rooms designated for the people with disabilities?
No, the installation of the low frequency sounders is going to be required in every commercial sleeping room. The 2013 verbiage was changed a little to clarify that low frequency appliances are only required in sleeping areas. For example, the low-frequency audible tone is not required to awaken patients in a hospital or in the hallway of a hotel. The low-frequency notification appliance would be required in the hotel guest rooms.
Are the low frequency sounders also required for renovations and refurbishments?
No retrofit applications are required. The code applies only to new buildings.
Do the hallways of the sleeping areas also require low frequency sounders?
No, according to the code the low frequency sounders are to only be installed in designated sleeping areas.
How can I meet this new requirement?
Some companies (System Sensor, Kidde) have already developed new products that provide the required low frequency sound.
Please follow you manufacturer instructions and your local building/code regulations for the use and installation of any audible visible notification devices