Burglar Alarm Strobes Guide

By: Ari Erenthal, Published on Mar 31, 2017

Strobes provide visual notification of alarm incidents, as sirens are used to give audible notification. Using a strobe gives alarm users and alarm responders another way confirm alarms when they cannot hear the sirens. In this note, we examine how to specify and use strobes, including:

  • Conical strobes
  • Add on strobes
  • Siren strobes
  • Flash intensity
  • Strobe colors
  • Flash rate
  • Strobe power
  • Common applications
  • Mounting height
  • Synchronization

******* ******* ****** ************ ** ***** incidents, ** ****** *** **** ** give ******* ************. ***** * ****** gives alarm ***** *** ***** responders ******* *** ******* alarms **** **** ****** hear *** ******. ** this ****, ** ******* how ** ******* *** use *******, *********:

  • ******* *******
  • *** ** *******
  • ***** *******
  • ***** *********
  • ****** ******
  • ***** ****
  • ****** *****
  • ****** ************
  • ******** ******
  • ***************

[***************]

Strobe **** *******

***** *** ***** **** categories ** ******: ******* strobes, *** ** *******, and ***** *******.

  • ******* ******* *** **** to *** ** ***** strobe **** * ***** is *** *********.
  • *** ** ******* ****** an ********* ** ****** whether * ***** ******* needs * ****** ** not
  • ***** ******* *** ***** units **** **** **** the ****** ******* ********* and ***** **, ** the ********** **** ***** to ******* * ****** pair ** *****. 

******* ******* *** **** where * ***** ** not ********* *** ********. For *******, * ******** might ******* ***** ************ in * ***** *********** such ** * ******* floor ** ********. ******* impaired ********* *** **** strobes ********* ******* ** they *** *** **** an alarm *** **** *********.

***** ******* **** *** is ****** ****** ************, as ******* ** ****** which **** ******** ************. In ***** *****, ***** a ***** *** ** heard *** **** *** mounting ********, * ****** can **** ** **** in *** ******** ** which ** ** *******. Therefore, ** ********* ****** work ******* **** *** customer ** ********** **** where *** ****** ***** to ** **** ** order ** **** ****** coverage. 

*** ** ******* ***** installers ** **** ***** by ********** ******* **** when *********. **** ***** multiple ****** ** * job, ********** *** **** and ****** ***** ****** need ******* *** ***** do ***, *** **** order ******* *** ***** that **** **. *** example, *** *** ***** require *** ***** ** the ***** ** *** building *** *** ** a **** ****. ** installer ***** ****** ** add * ****** ** *** front *****, ** **** emergency ********** *** ******** identify *** ******** **** before **** *** ***** enough ** **** *** house *******, *** ***** the **** ****** *** as ***** ***********. **** way, *** ********** **** *** to ***** *** ***** to ******* * ****** model ** *****, *** the ********* **** ***** to *** *** ******* **** are ******** ******** ** the ***********.

**** ********** ****** ** use ******* *** ***** siren ** * ***. Siren *******, ***** *** sirens **** **** *****-** strobes ******* ******** *** wired, *** **** ** specify *** *******. *** installer **** *** **** to **** *** **** to ****** ***** ****** require ******* *** ***** do ***, *** * ****** device ** ****** ****** to **** ** **** two. 

***** ******* **** **** current **** ****** *****. One ** *** ****** will ** **** ****** the ****** ***** **** panels *** ******* **. However, **** ***** ******** sirens ** * ****** job, *** ******* **** will ******* *** **. Therefore, ********** *** ********** use **** ***** ******* should **** **** **** they *** ******* ****** their ******' ***** *******. 

Strobe *******

***** ** *** **** important ****** ** ******** when ******** * ******. While ******* *** ********* in **** ******, *** most ****** *** *****, red, ****, *** ***** (yellow). **** ************* ******* or ******** ******** ****** to ******** ************. *** example, ** *** ****** States, **** ****** *** other ***** ********** ***** to ******* ********** ** a ******** **** ** white ** ***** (***** gives * ***** **********). Some ***** ************* ******** **** or ***** ******. ********** should ****** ** ***** of *** ***** ** their *************. 

**** ********* *** ******** strobes ** ********* ****** in ***** ** ******** different **********.

*** ****** *** *** most easily **** ***** ****** the ***, ***** **** lights *** *** **** easily **** ** ***** or ** ****** *** areas. ***** ****** *** be **** **** **** in ***. **** ********* use ********* ****** ** indicate ********* ***** **********.

******* *** *****, *** most ********* ******* *** strobes ***

  • ***** *********
  • *******
  • *******
  • ***** ****

***** ********* ** * ******* of **********. ** ** measured ** *******, *** symbol *** ***** ** cd. **** ** ********** at * ******** ** 50 ****; ***** ** bright ****** ** **** a ******** ******. 

******* ** *** **** ** which *** *********** *****. Current ** ***** ********* ** ****, ***** **** *** symbol *. **** *** split **** ***********, ***** uses *** ****** **, or *********. **** ******* ******* a quarters ** ** *** or **** ** ***- that **, ***** ** so. 

**** ***** *******, ** is **** ********* *** the ***** ***** ** supply *** ****** ******* at *** ***** ****** of ***** *******. **** is ******* * ****** *** circuitry ****** **** ******* the ******** ****, ******* to * *****. **** installing ******** ***** ** siren ******* *** ******* independently, *** ******* ****** be ***** ******** ** the **** *******, *** the ***** ******.

******* ** *** ******** at ***** *** *********** flows. ** ** ***** in*****, ***** **** *** symbol *. **** ******* are ***** ******* ** to ***.

***** **** ** *** many ***** *** ****** the ****** *****. ******* alarm ******* ***** ***** ** a **** ** **** per ******. **** ***** require * ****** ***** rate *** ********** **** alarms; *** ** ***** times *** ****** ** common. 

Strobe ************

*** **** ****** *********** for ******* ***** ******* is ******* ***** *** businesses, ** ***** ********** to ******** *** ******** from * ********.

*******, * ******** ********* can **** **** ************* to *** *******. 

********* ***** ****** ********* not ******* **** *** street, **** ** ********* and **** *********. ******** * strobe, ** **** **** one, *** ********* ********* and **** ** ********* for **** ** ****. This *** ***** **** to ***** ****** **** they ********, *** *** limit **** ********'* ****** in **** ** * break-in. 

********* **** **** ********* are * ************ ********* location *** ****** *** strobes, ** **** *** ***** and ***** ****** *** the ***** *****, ******* amplifying ***** ******. *** loud ***** ***** **** cause ****** ****** ****** to **** *** ****** repeatedly, ***** ****** **** more ********* **** ** unverified ******* ******* ****** alone. *** ***** *** light *** ***** ********* **** ******* without ****** ********. **** install * ****** ***** in ** ********; ******** more ** ********. *******, multiple ******* ******* *** be ***** **** * single **** ****, ******** an ********* ** **** one ***** *** ******* unsynchronized strobes. 

********** ******** **** **** in *********** **** ******* ***** buttons ******, ******** ****** ******* inside ** **** *** help. ******** * ****** directly ******* *** ******* can **** ********** ** identify ***** ******* ** is. **** ******** * strobe ******* * ****-**, do *** ******* * siren, ** *** ****** trapped *** ** *** of ****** **** **** the ***** *** *** have ***** ******* *******. 

***** **** ***** ***** should **** ******** ******* and ****** ******* ********** the ****, ***** **** help disoriented *** ******* *********. Panic ***** ****** **** two ***** *******, *** with *** ******* ** trigger ******* *** ****** and *** **** ***** a ****** ******. * good *** ** *********** the *** ** ** tape * *** ** foam ******** ** *** panic ****** **** ******** audible *** ******* ************. Multiple **** ** **** earplugs ****** ** **** in *** ***** ****, at ***** *** *** every ****** *** ***** room ** ******** ** accommodate.

Mounting ******

**** ***** * ****** indoors, ***** **** *" (15cm) **** *** ******* or **" (*****) **** the *****, ********* ** lower, *** ******* **********. When ***** ******* ********, ***** them ** ****** **** 30' (~**).

***************

**** ******** ******* *** used ** *** **** area, **** **** ** synchronized. *********, **** ***** trigger * ******* ** people **** ************** ********. ******* not ****** ****** ***** of **** ***** ** not **** ** ** synced. **** ********** **** alarm ****** **** *** ability ** **** *******, but **** ******* ***** panels ** ***. *********, if ******** ******* ** the **** ****** **** is ********, ********** ****** use * *********** ********** fire *** ******* ***** panel, *** ** **** that ** ** ******* of ****** ***************.

Comments (4)

In areas with a shortage of law enforcement response to commercial intrusion alarms the use of indoor high candela, rapid cyclic rate strobes coupled with very loud sirens can create a disorienting & disabling impact on intruders. Installed in otherwise darkened facilities to combat afterhours smash & grab burglaries I've watched video of fleeing intruders colliding with display fixtures and even floor support columns while attempting to escape the building after the system activated.  

The very real hazard lies in the impact such defensive configurations have on persons responding to the intrusion alarm. The alarm keypad must be located close to the entry door to disarm the system prior to law enforcement's entry.

Good points, Jack. In fact, you'll notice I mentioned the disabling affects of strobes, especially unsynced strobes. 

As for timeouts, UL recommends the following minimums:

  • Residential Burglary: 4 minutes
  • Residential Fire: Until manual reset
  • Commercial Burglary: 15 minutes if panel automatically resets, 30 minutes otherwise
  • Commercial Fire: until manual reset unless otherwise allowed by AHJ

Of course, some jurisdictions have noise ordinances that address sirens, so always follow those. 

Good piece.

You (and commenters) spoke about coupling sirens with strobes for burglar alarms.... I'm curious how often recorded audio voice commands are coupled with strobes vs sirens coupled with strobes.

Do you use recorded audio voice commands in specific environments vs sirens when using strobes?

Do you ever use all three? (strobes, sirens and recorded audio voice commands) 

Which combinations can be more effective when deployed in certain environments and why?

thanks for a great article. For security strobes we use the same strobes that are found on the top of school buses - they are 1.2 million candela. Bright even on the sunniest day!!! We use different lens for different alarms... seems to work well for us.

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