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TOPIC: Fire alarms?

Fire alarms? 22 Feb 2004 20:20 #7562

  • Mike
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Fire Marshall says to get a alarm system at 3500-7000.00. $%&@#!! Do you have one with pull-sensors-voice over-stops the sound of the movie-etc??

Michael Hurley
Michael Hurley
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Re: Fire alarms? 23 Feb 2004 11:04 #7563

We got a fire alarm system as well, Mike. It cost us close to $5,000 I believe. It has pull stations, smoke detectors, and beam detectors in the house. Our main house is large enough that standard smoke detectors won't work, they have to us an IR beam. We have horn annunciators, and strobes, but we did not connect the fire alarm system to shut down the projector or sound.
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Re: Fire alarms? 24 Feb 2004 10:40 #7564

  • jimor
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Some municipalities required at least an Emergency Phone to the booth, others required a switch at the entry to cut power to both the projectors and the fans. There are many stories of managers/personnel frantically trying to get the booth's attention as they tried to shoo the audience due to a fire while the image/sound were still there on the screen/speakers. In my area they require a "Panic Switch" for auditoriums over a certain size, and the switch cuts off the projectors (if any) and simultaneously turns on all the cleaning and emergency lights in the house. Some of such are in a small panel with a door on it that also contains a microphone to a special amplifier to speakers in the ceiling so management can advise of an emergency. Most municipalities I've read of do not require an alarm in the area of the auditorium in order to avoid panic, but nowadays, with no ushers, I guess the alarm may be the only way people in multiple cinemas are going to know before it is too late!

Yes, it is another expense for something that will probably never be used, and the potential for miscreants to pull the alarm boxes for fun is great, but think of how you would feel if a rapid fire trapped people to their death in your place, and it came out that you had no alarm system -- or an ineffective one since it didn't stop the projectors and the audience couldn't hear the alarms. NO one like to pay for safety, for, as Detroit says, "Safety doesn't sell" and you are in business to make money, not spend it. At least console yourself that it is not as much as a new roof which you must do every 20 years or so; an alarm system if properly installed, should last the life of your building, and adding the auto-turn-off feature to the projectors shouldn't cost that much more since they are usually low voltage controls that may only require a relay in a box on the wall. Some places require sprinkler systems, and they make the best alarm systems look 'dirt cheap'!!! Go for it, and save your conscience.
Jim R. (new E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ) member:
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Re: Fire alarms? 24 Feb 2004 13:25 #7565

  • mixerjv
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I got two quotes to upgrade our 4 screen cinema alarm: $15000 & $20,000!!! And they omitted some required things.

You should find out & buy the fire code for your district and do your own research. Most fire codes reference a certain edition (year published, (every thre years)) of NFPA 72. You'll want to take into consideration the likely hood of expansion in the building (you will probably have to bring the whole building up to code as far as "life safety" issues are) and the likelyhood of non-grandfathering legislation based on the RI night club fire (MA for example is probably going to require theatres to upgrade alarms within a couple of years) Hence you may not want to invest in a "half solution" but consider bringing the building up to code.

The requirements vary by edition but we are bringing ours into 2002's NFPA 72 and here is the some of the basics required:

On Alarm event (alarms can be triggered by detectors or sprinkler flow, if your building is sprinklered it will be cheaper to install an alarm because detectors aren't required):

Shut down the projectors (can't be by remotes, relay to shut projector down must be within 3 ft of projector)

Turn up house lights immediately, no delay allowed

Kill sound (including preshow music)

Kill HVAC systems.

NFPA 72 says you must have a fire hardened (2 hour fire rated cable with battery backup)PA system to make announcements for evacuation if your building holds more than 300 people (not only seats, but including Lobby & Rest Room, & Staff capacity) However, Massachusetts allows fire chiefs to allow a theatre to go with the simple alarms if he disires a total and immediate evacuation (actually much cheaper).

Srobes/arlarms in all public rooms

Pull stations at all exits.

Regards, John
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