Fire Alarm Design Requirements in Education

Fire Alarm Design Requirements in Education
Anthony Conte
Latest posts by Anthony Conte (see all)

For those tasked with providing fire alarm design in schools, it is critical to know the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) fire alarm design requirements for educational occupancies. Fire alarms for the education sector are unique, in that they are intended to protect minors, some of them occupying government property (public school campuses), on a daily basis.

Definition of Educational Occupancy Buildings

According to the NFPA 101 code, any facility where six or more people up to grade 12 receive instruction for four or more hours per day is regarded as an educational occupancy. This definition applies to both public and private schools. Meanwhile, day care facilities are required to have a fire alarm system in accordance with Section 907. The only exception is when the occupancy of a day care facility is limited to one room.

Components of Educational Occupancy Fire Alarms

Fire alarms on educational properties may have components including, but not limited to, the following.

Pull Stations

NFPA code states that fire alarms in educational occupancies should initiate by manual fire alarm boxes, which are more commonly referred to as pull stations. However, the code allows for the exclusion of manual boxes in some spaces (such as laboratories and cafeterias) if they are serviced by an automatic sprinkler system or another approved detection device. Likewise, NFPA 101 allows manual pull boxes to be excluded if a provision is made to activate the fire alarm system at a central point.

Fire Sprinklers

In an educational occupancy, activating the fire alarm system at a central point can happen by way of automatic fire sprinklers. Having automatic fire sprinklers installed is one condition under which manual pull boxes may be excluded from an educational property.

NFPA code states that when an automatic sprinkler system is installed, it also must activate the fire alarm system when fire is detected.

PA Systems

When a two-way public address (PA) system is installed in a classroom, educational occupancies may also forgo manual alarm boxes in those classrooms. The purpose of a PA system is to notify an on-site, constantly supervised location on campus when there is a fire. This should be a location where staff is prepared to contact emergency services. However, this exception does not apply to new educational occupancy facilities.

Learn More About Fire Alarm Design for Educational Occupancy

It’s important to note that every authority having jurisdiction, including states, counties and cities, will determine the specific fire alarm design requirements of educational occupancies. FireCAD™ is fire alarm design software that can support engineers, architects and contractors tasked with designing fire alarm systems for educational occupancies. To learn more about our pricing and plans, contact our sales department today.

About Cadgen Software

Cadgen makes using AutoCAD easier and faster with user-friendly FireCAD fire alarm design software. Our FireCAD product has saved countless contractors time on project completion, and it can do the same for you. Contact our sales department at (855) 206-1480 Ext. 1. Our knowledgeable team will be glad to answer your questions.

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