Types of alarms

Two basic types of emergency alarm systems exist.

The first type is a one-stage alarm that sounds an evacuation signal as soon as a problem is detected. The second type is a two-stage alarm that produces two distinct signals.

To ensure that people with vision or hearing loss are alerted to an alarm, both auditory and visual signals should be used in an alarm system, regardless of whether it’s a single-stage or two-stage system.

Alarm systems should be designed in compliance with local building codes and installed in conformance with the National Canadian Fire Alarm Code and Standards – (CFAA).

In residential settings, installation of vibrating alarm-signalling devices should be implemented where residents who are both deaf and blind reside. Typically these systems are configured with a bed vibrator that activates if the building alarm system or a smoke alarm system within a dwelling unit is triggered. During waking hours, other warning systems should be provided.