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Wal Mart using Fire Alarm System for Paging? Smart money saving idea?

Wal Mart using Fire Alarm System for Paging? Smart money saving idea?

(OP)
Anyone ever see this setup before?

I was in a brand new Wal-Mart Supercenter in Indiana, that still pages and plays music (most have banned music and paging to compete with Target's silence motto). I was walking around trying to find the source of the music and paging and I found it's actually coming from a fire alarm speaker/strobe assembly every 20 feet or so in the store, mounted to the bottom of the roof trusses. Anyone ever seen anything like this before? Obviously this meets code, but in all states?

I heard a click after each page, so it's obviously some type of analog trunking providing the connection with the Cisco 7900 telephones. One Click after an IP Phone hangs up and Two Clicks after an analog phone is hung over over the PA. (analog device disconnect and the paging disconnect 2 clicks and IP device is a digital release that just makes one click over the PA).

I would have to say this is a smart move since the speakers for the fire alarm are already there, why not bridge the paging system into it. I've just never seen anything like this before and wonder if anyone else has.

Joseph Sus Jr. Nortel Enthusiast
www.joetheucxguy.com

RE: Wal Mart using Fire Alarm System for Paging? Smart money saving idea?

I don't work on fire alarm systems, but, that doesn't strike me as being legal, but I just don't know.

I love2 "FEATURE 00"
http://dexman.webs.com/

RE: Wal Mart using Fire Alarm System for Paging? Smart money saving idea?

>fire alarm systems

Being really pedantic, it isn't a fire alarm system; its a voice evacuation system. IANAL, but I don't see why adding a paging input would violate regulations; as long as it is on a lower priority port i.e. any evacuation announcement would override a paging announcement.

I did a course on these systems (years ago) and I recall they are fairly robust for example all components have to be capable of withstanding fire and flame for a set period of time etc.

Take Care

Matt
I have always wished that my computer would be as easy to use as my telephone.
My wish has come true. I no longer know how to use my telephone.

RE: Wal Mart using Fire Alarm System for Paging? Smart money saving idea?

We have both the traditional overhead paging system and the ability to page through the fire alarm annunciators that have speakers in them. They go back and forth between the two so they can say they are doing regular testing of the fire alarm system. When Simplex comes in and tests they do exactly that - connect a music source to the system and then run around checking speakers and volume levels. I can't see why that couldn't continue indefinitely, with the allowance for the prementioned priority settings for pre-recorded alarm messages and voice instructions. it won't continue in the hospital because it irritates people, but .... clown

Don Bruechert, Voice Comm Analyst II
CareTech Solutions @ Holy Family Memorial
Manitowoc, WI, USA

RE: Wal Mart using Fire Alarm System for Paging? Smart money saving idea?

Here is an article to read:
http://magazine.sfpe.org/fire-detection-and-alarm/...

It makes total sense because we are running out of ceiling tiles we can lift up...lol.

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www.curlycord.com


Toronto Canada
www.telcopc.ca

RE: Wal Mart using Fire Alarm System for Paging? Smart money saving idea?

(OP)
Hey Curly and Don,

Thanks for the feedback, that's very interesting to read. Wal Mart truly is innovative....in addition to paging through the fire strobes, they are also using LED lighting on dimmers throughout the store that adjust due to light coming in from the skylights.

Now the quality of the paging is a bit tinny compared to that of a direct telephone connection to a true paging amplifier. There is an obvious analog connection bridge between the phone system and EVAC system, as when a page is released from a Cisco IP Phone you a typical switchook disconnect click or pop as the page is completed and the music comes immediately back on.

Meijer, one of Wal-Mart's competitors (whom Wal-Mart copied for their Supercenters) went the opposite route.... for years they were using an Avaya Definity (don't know if it was IP Office or the PBX Aura) styled switch with analog connections to the paging system, which consists of a dedicated paging amplifier, and it sounded pretty clear. Fast forward to this year, they have upgraded to using Open Sourced Polycom sets with a SNOM PA-1 for paging. It sounds like you are in a sports arena in there now.....

Man, I love this stuff....lol!

Joseph Sus Jr. Nortel Enthusiast
www.joetheucxguy.com

RE: Wal Mart using Fire Alarm System for Paging? Smart money saving idea?

Oh you can definitely tell when they are using the fire system to announce - I doubt there are any frequencies sent out of those things much below 800 - 1000 Hz. The traditional 70V overhead paging speakers are at least 8", possibly 10", and I actually have to cut the low end back a bit so they don't sound like you're talking through a gag or something. They page through the fire system using a hand-held microphone, and most of them have not mastered the unwritten rule that you need to wait 2 or 3 seconds after keying the mic to speak, and you have to not let go until a second or two after you are done speaking. Some of them are quite effective at cutting off the first word of every page!

The regular overhead pages go through the PBX to a Gordon Kapes MZ-4, which automatically puts a delay fade at the end of your page to suppess the clunk or pop when you hang up. The MZ-4 is also kind of cool because I can use it to open doors and stuff with the dry contacts to a low-voltage relay or trigger connection.

Don Bruechert, Voice Comm Analyst II
CareTech Solutions @ Holy Family Memorial
Manitowoc, WI, USA

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