I was just hanging back to see all the replies before offering up my opinion. As Guardian Equipment distributors, my company sells their entire line of eyewashes, safety showers etc. and that includes the alarms and strobes if you want them.
With respect to question 1, I am not aware of any standards or regulations that require these, although I suppose it is possible some local or state codes may eventually incorporate them. They are, however, Good Ideas for many instances, the most important of which is in a laboratory where someone is working alone. Working alone needn=E2=80™t necessarily be something that happens at night, and saying that certain lab occupants would never work at night or alone might be true now, but that space could be occupied by a different research group with different hazards two years from now. In addition, there is definitely a vandalism and/or accidental activation issue that an alarm provides. Water traveling down through a modern building, particularly those without floor drains, can do tremendous damage to instrumentation, records, and more.
Alarms come in two different flavors. There are those that activate a horn/siren (which has an adjustable volume control) mounted on or near the unit (and/or a strobe light which is great for noisy environments or for ADA considerations of hearing-impaired persons), and those that can alternatively or also trigger a remote sensor or control panel. Your choice of these would depend on how your building/campus is set up and whether anyone would be around to hear a local alarm.
As to question 2, strobes and alarms need not be in the ceiling or physically attached to the unit. For example, Guardian's units can have the alarms and strobes wall-mounted wherever the user finds convenient. See, for example the pictures here: http://www.safetyemporium.com/gbf2150
So it's not so much as relocating as it is just simply deciding where you want to install them.
The flow switches, alarms, strobes and whatnot are also available separately for adding onto additional systems and are even available in configurations suitable for potentially explosive environments etc: http://www.safetyemporium.com/showers-eyewashes/alarms/
The power draw of these is maybe one amp, so you could tap an existing circuit to power them unless the commercial code calls for a dedicated circuit; you'd need to check on that. I know, for example, that residential smoke alarms are given their own circuits but that has more to do with how they're wired and stray signals I suppose rather than overloads which could trip a breaker and defeat the protection.
Insofar as the questions that have come up on the list about silencing alarms for testing, my question would be "Why?" If you purchased an alarm, you should be testing that it will perform as you expect it to in an emergency. You would not want a user-accessible switch or mute button that a prankster could use to defeat the purpose. That said, the output sound adjustment on the alarms is adjustable from 0 to 100 dB at 10 feet. One could also imagine using a homemade piece of foam to muffle an alarm which would probably knock 15 dB off the sound during testing.
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During a recent lab renovation, the contractor presented to us wall mounted shower/eyewash stations that have both an audible alarm and visible strobe when activated. The unit also has the ability to communicate back tot he BMS system upon activation.
While this all sounds fine and dandy, it has raised a few questions on my end.
1. Is this a new standard being used for installations? I definitely see some practical purposes for this in order to alert others that an emergency has occurred, but I have not come across this before.
2. This raises some design dilemmas on our end.
A. We are installing these as flush mounted systems, so the units strobe and audible alarms would be above the drop ceiling (or we would have to relocate the alarm indicators).
B. For obvious reasons, the contractor was originally spec-ing out installation on walls without electrical just for cost and ease of plumbing. If alarms are necessary, power must be ran to
the units, thus increasing scope and cost.
In general, I was just curious as to what kind of new installs other universities were currently putting in place.
Brandon S. Chance, M.S., CCHO
Associate Director of Environmental Health and Safety
Office of Risk Management
Southern Methodist University
PO Box 750231 | Dallas, TX 75275-0231
T) 214.768.2430 | M) 469-978-8664
"- our job in safety is to make the task happen, SAFELY; not to interfere with the work-" Neal Langerman
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