I’ve had my head into door alarms lately, ever since the State Fire Marshal threw the (Code) Book at one of my favorite accounts.
Door alarms can serve several functions.
A door alarm can generate a local alarm at the door. The local alarm can be audible or visual or both.
The alarm can send a signal back to a central monitoring location or panel. In some cases, the client will want to be able to unlock the door from a central location as well.
The alarm can monitor the door’s position and locked status. If the door has a maglock but the maglock does not have a bond-sense (which confirms that the armature is bonding to the electromagnetic lock, and therefore the door is secure), a separate DPS sensor is required.
Frequently the client will want to know if the door has been propped open.
For this application, we had to approach the project from several angles to meet the client’s requirements and satisfy code requirements.
The state fire code said that for a facility of this type, instead of the maglocks that were already installed at every opening, delayed egress would be required. This would involve replacing 20 maglocks with delayed egress. Although the existing maglocks were tied into the premises fire alarm, and all the stairwells had keypad control from the hall to the stairwell, and motion and REX buttons for off the stairwell onto a hall, this did not meet the Fire Marshals’ approval.
This is a three-story brick construction healthcare facility fully sprinklered with fire alarms. There are panic bars on every stairwell door. The third and second floors have three stairwell doors. The ground floor has three stairwell doors and several exits. One exit services the center stairwell. Each of the other stairwells leads to a hallway and directly across from these two stairwells are emergency exits into a fenced courtyard.
My client expressed concern about a situation where all the doors would unlock, enabling patients to exit the building and wander off because the night staff would not be able to cover all the exits.
The first component of our proposal was for delayed egress and centralized monitoring from the nurse’s stations on each floor. We were quoting Securitron iMXDa Delayed Egress Maglocks which we could remotely unlock and also monitor for locked status as well as door position.
Securitron has two different door monitoring control panels - The ZAP which monitors only and the LCAP which enables monitoring and individual control of each door.
Management decided to contest the Fire Marshal’s requirement, and suggest as an alternate that we provide a button at each nurse’s station which, when pressed, will immediately unlock the stairwell doors on the respective floor, as well as the ground floor exits into the courtyard. They say that this will prevent an unnecessary and unmanageable situation described above with all doors unlocked and patients escaping and getting injured.
Of course the fire alarm will always release all doors in an emergency.
To upgrade our monitoring, we incorporate the existing maglocks. Since we are not concerned with individual door control, but only the locked/unlocked status on a per door basis, we will need to provide interfaces at each door, DPS (Door Position Sensors) at each door, and will need to monitor the door position and that power is being applied to each maglock.
At each nurse’s station, we will suggest using another Securitron product, ZLP which will provide an easy to see visual status of each opening.
For the emergency button we are recommending the Securitron PB5 with the PB2-LK LED illuminator.
Our nerve center will be built around the Altronix AL3000ULx power supply with integral MOM-5 power limited voltage distribution board.
Features of the Securitron Zone Light Panels (ZLPs) include:
- 24 VDC or 12 VDC field selectable
- Stainless steel plates
- ISO 9001 certified
- Limited lifetime warranty covering malfunction and abuse.
- 1/2 inch LEDs to indicate door or alarm status; one RED and one GREEN light emitting diode.
In the security industry, we use the term “Black Box” to describe a specialized device which performs a unique or custom process. You would resort to a black box when no one manufactures what...