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August 7, 2015

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Visual alarm devices – guideline issued

Euralarm, the association of European manufacturers, installers and service providers of the electronic Fire Safety and Security industry, has issued an application guideline on primary visual alarm devices and supplementary indicating devices.

Euralarm say the document provides information on the use and requirements of EN 54-23 compliant visual alarm devices and explains typical applications where a supplementary indicating device may be suitable.

According to Euralarm, since January 2014 visual alarm devices (VAD) used for warning building occupants of a fire emergency must comply with the requirements of EN 54-23 and suppliers/manufacturers of such devices must fulfil the requirements of the CPR [Construction Products Regulation] when placing such devices on the EU market. The document stresses that sounder beacon devices that don’t comply with these regulations can still be used, as long as they are only intended to be used as supplementary indication devices. The manufacturer or supplier should clearly state to which standard the device is tested and certified, and a fire risk assessment of a premise should indicate whether an EN 54-23 compliant VAD is required, adds the paper.

This norm became mandatory on the first of January 2014 and states that VAD are intended to signal a visual warning of fire to the occupants of a building in order that such persons can take appropriate measures such as evacuate the building, says Euralarm. The association goes on to point out that EN 54-23 does not apply to supplementary indication devices, although this does not imply that such devices are not permitted. In order to establish a distinction between visual alarm devices which comply with EN 54-23 and which are used to warn occupants of a fire, Euralarm recommends that devices intended for supplementary indication which are not compliant with EN 54 23 should be referred to as visual indicating devices, or VID.

The document additionally focusses attention on the mounting requirements and illumination coverage volume when selecting a VAD, says Euralarm, adding that they are divided into three categories; C, W, and O. The association goes on to not that application requirements for category O are not well defined in EN 54 23, because they rely purely on the application and installation data supplied by the manufacturers. The guidance document therefore gives advice on what information should be provided by the manufacturer or supplier to allow correct application of the device. Finally, Euralarm gives several examples from the UK and France on the use of VADs and VIDs.

The Application Guideline is available from Euralarm.

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