Who Does Mass Notification Systems?

Anyone have experience designing mass notification systems?

It is a ambiguous term - mass notification - that could possibly encompass a handful of systems.

I am curious to get your take on the subject. From your experience, what did the system look like? How is it used? What features are important?

Who are you notifying, and of what?

Try Cooper Industries...Cooper Notification. They have both audio announcement systems and dial up mass notification. We have been working with them. Generally their systems are coresident at PSAP or at schools. They are triggered as part of emergency notification systems to activate on an event. The typical deployment links large audio systems on poles over ring down circuits or wireless back to central site. Typically a siren is also part of the system. They are pretty simple, and are moving from analog/serial to IP. These systems are heavily regulated and tested. Change comes slowly, as with change comes risk of failure.

I can give you some contacts at Coopers if you want to talk to them.

We had A/V scope on a race track project recently that had an Emergency Communication System. In that instance, the ECS would take over every speaker and video display everywhere. All of the PA speakers, paging ceiling speakers, telephone paging, etc. were all overridden with emergency voice announcements. Likewise, all of the large LED boards around the track, digital signage, way-finding, etc. were overridden with emergency text messages. For us doing A/V, it added a lot of difficulty in that NFPA 72 dictates very strict requirements for mass notification equipment in regard to reliability, robustness, survivability, audibility and intelligibility, etc. For a typical A/V install, you don't have to worry about how long the system will survive in a large fire or tornado. For this project we had to think about that and plan accordingly. We had to think about protecting the cabling as much as possible, providing redundant systems where possible and putting everything on emergency generator or battery UPS backup power. In regard to audibility, NFPA 72 dictates that audible alert tones be 15dB above the ambient average or 5dB above the maximum sound level, whichever is greater. As you can imagine, designing a sound system that can produce levels 5dB above the engine noise of 24 race cars is pretty much impossible.

The consultant that wrote the spec for the ECS for this project was Hughes Associates.

You might try reaching out to them to get some basic info on what a typical mass notification system looks like.

Also, it wasn't part of our project, but I know that Mass Notification for schools and universities can also encompass sending text or voice messages to phones of faculty, students, family members, etc. as well as sending email messages.

I have sold some smaller Mass Notification systems in the past as well as worked on several projects involving attributes such as intelligibility. I know that to a certain extent, you almost have to engage a sound engineer when dealing with intelligibility… Our application for intelligibility came with a GSA spec for a large Fire Alarm system in a Federal Building. Some attributes need to be known such as wall, floor and ceiling construction as a tile floor will have different acoustical properties as let’s say a carpet floor. It can get really hairy – especially when dealing with Big Voice and large outdoor speaker arrays (tornado siren type)…

Perhaps you could provide some additional context to your request…

If you are looking for a company that has experience, feel free to email me and I can get you connected.

I could write a novel of a response to this, as far as asking for clarification, but I'll avoid that. I've been part of a few MNS, which were all of the type that basically amount to supervised paging systems, basically a voice system inside and outside of buildings. We used two manufacturers:

  • With Notifier, we used DVC, FireVoice, and ONYXWorks. One or two were the full-blown MNS archetype: multi-colored speaker/strobes, giant voice outside, LED signs. You could also connect it to a third-party service which would do SMS/Email/voice alerts, but we never got aroudn to that.
  • We also did a couple of Wheelock SAFEPATH systems. They were generally simpler.
  • And we had a couple hospitals with networked paging systems which they used for mass notification, though we frowned upon calling them that, because they weren't truly supervised and meeting NFPA standards. We used Biamp Audia and Vocia (really feature-rich system) for that, and some networked Ashly amps.

So many, So Different, With many applications.

Ethan listed some of the great products out there. Notifier, Firelite, Silent Knight, System Sensor, Wheellock, Cooper , Simplex, Siemens, Monico, Edwards, etc.

Just to name a few, a life of its own, just certification, training, constant code enforcement and training.

If your in this field you know its a constant process to keep up with all the codes & compliancy regs & rulings.

Life Safety is a Complete Notification Process for safe,secure ,evacuation of occupants to a safe secure location.

Bump - a member just asked for mass notification software information so I am bumping this to the top.

Aiphones new IS System has mass notification ability and Door Intercom wrapped into one. I have been doing several demo's to Private Schools since Sandy Hook. The larger Ducane, Rawlings, and Bogan systems primarily go after the K-12 market place with a limited distribution channel. Aiphone is open to all integrators. It has four paging outputs and has the ability to send out multiple MP3 files for different events. (Lockdown, Code Red etc.)

We looked at it and it's really cool but outside our core services.