In designing a Mass Notification and Emergency Communications (MNEC) system, the four critical elements are Reach, Clarity, Redundancy and Reporting.
Within the National Fire Protection Agency’s (NFPA) code 72, specific requirements for communication must be met. Specifically a Mass Notification system must provide for Acoustically Distinguishable Spaces (ADS) as well as meet the Sound Transmission Index for Public Address (STI-PA.) Together, these performance standards help to achieve “intelligibility” – another requirement within NFPA72.
To provide coverage to 100% of the intended audience, the overall space is reviewed and evaluated to consider each Acoustically Distinguishable Space (ADS) in order to define the appropriate zoning requirements for the client’s facilities. Identifying and understanding the local and global communication needs of the organization plays a vital role in the design strategy.
A variety of visual and audio delivery methods can be customized into the design and integrated to ensure that messages are seen and heard clearly. Audio coverage utilizes a variety of audible devices such as upward-firing, direct-fired and specialty speakers and horns for both overhead and loud speaker paging. Speaker design always considers and accounts for the necessary volume fluctuations the system must meet.
A well designed MNEC solution will ensure that all intended audiences are well informed and directed to safety through any and all means possible. Following are key criteria in the design of any MNEC system: