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Emergency Communication Systems Best Practices for Installers

The main role of an emergency communication system (ECS) is to provide quick and efficient communication to people when a threatening event or emergency occurs. It’s especially important for commercial buildings to ensure that a seamless ECS is installed to prevent as much harm and damage from happening. That’s why it’s imperative as an installer to understand the design, installation and testing processes, so that there are no issues when your customers face emergency events. In this article, you’ll be able to learn about an ECS’ common features, key components, best practices for systems design and more.

The main functions of emergency communication systems

As mentioned above, an ECS is designed to alert people during emergencies such as severe weather, fires, active shooters, natural disasters and bomb threats. However, since the COVID-19 pandemic was declared a global health emergency in 2020, it has been more and more common for people to utilize emergency communication systems for non-life threatening events as well. The most common methods an ECS utilizes to relay important information include sending notifications through voice calls, text messages, emails, strobe horns, security strobe lights and social media. And some of the most common commercial facilities an ECS will need to be installed in include educational facilities, houses of worship, warehouses, offices, manufacturing facilities, healthcare facilities, areas with swimming pools, elevators and stairwells.

Key components of emergency communication systems

Three essential steps to take before you design an emergency communication system

  1. Consult with your customers about which threats the ECS is being installed for, issues the ECS needs to solve and how they’ll utilize the ECS. As an installer, it’s important to understand these three topics so you can install a system that best accommodates your customer’s needs. Keep in mind that frequent communication with your customers and updating them throughout the design and installation process will avoid miscommunication issues down the line.
  2. Before you design and install the system, refer to the NFPA National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code (NFPA 72) for an in-depth guide that gives technical information about the fundamentals of emergency communication systems and steps that installers should follow during the design, installation and maintenance processes. Be sure to also get a good understanding of the facility's infrastructure, so you have an idea of where each key component should go before you start designing the system.
  3. Conduct a risk analysis that will outline the ECS you’ll install in consideration for your customer’s situation. Your risk analysis should consider but are not limited to:
    • Any anticipated risks the ECS will be designed for
    • The maximum number of occupants in the facility
    • The facility’s infrastructure and operation
    • Any cybersecurity risks

Further considerations

When choosing which products to install for your customer, consider implementing a system that supports bi-directional messaging. With two-way communication, occupants will have the ability to directly respond to emergency messages delivered through communication devices. This will also allow emergency support services to easily prioritize who and what areas need assistance the most. You’ll also want to consider installing a system that offers a simple user interface so that it will be easier for your customers to train their employees on the new system.

An emergency communication system is a crucial component in a commercial facility’s security system. Whether your customers want to safeguard their employees and equipment from fires to active shooters and severe weather, it’s important as an installer to execute the right steps during the consulting, design and installation phases. If you’re interested in receiving recommendations and best practice knowledge for free, check out ADI’s Systems Design service. You’ll also be provided with integration tips, product recommendations and product comparisons. Contact us today to get started on your system design needs.

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