Area of Refuge two way communications

Two Way Communication Requirements and definitions:

Be sure to review the current CODES, this is a summary of such code and the information may be updated or changed in current code books, each state adopts the codes on different cycles so review the current codes that are locally adopted in your State. See IBC/IFC sections 403, 907 and 1009 also review the NFPA 101 which is life safety ADA code section 7.2.12 Also NFPA 72 section/chapter 24 in the older IBC code you can find information on this in section 1007

Requirements - See IBC 2015 and 2018 1009 and NFPA 72 and NFPA 101

Signage required: Each door providing access to an area of refuge from the adjacent floor shall be identified by a sign stating: AREA OF REFUGE. Must meet ADA and comply with tactile or braile as well. Where exit sign illumination is required the signs shall be illuminated. Instructions shall also be posted. See code for more detailed information. In the code it explains the height of the signage and where to mount them and what they need to have printed on them.

Must connect to a 24 hour monitored station or 911. Most fire marshals require the systems to connect to a 24 hour UL listed Central Station. Some fire marshals may require that the central station be a local central station.

Where: On each floor serving each elevator or bank of elevators except where the area of refuge is on the same floor, two way communication systems are not required on floors provided with ramps conforming with section 1012 of the IBC code. Two way communications are not required for service elevators and are not required at the landing serving a private residence elevator.

When: Area of refuge systems are required in all multistory buildings that are not sprinkled, multistory assisted living facilities, healthcare, hotels & motels, group I-2, group I-3 and group M buildings. Check current code because some jurisdictions do require AOR Area of Refuge systems on Multistory buildings that are sprinkled. Your Architect or PE Professional Engineer should be familiar with the current code in your state and jurisdiction.

What: There are several brands of product that meet code such as Cornell, Mircom, RATH and Talk a Phone. These systems also come in analog or IP systems. If I did not list your UL listed brand please let me know and I will include it.

1. Area of refuge or Areas of Rescue Assistance. These areas require a two way communication systems.

2. Fire Phones -These are also two way communication devices although long ago actual telephones were stored in a communications room and fire fighters could take them with them and communicate to the central location from jacks they could plug into on each floor. Now the two way communication devices are more advanced and can connect to a central point as well as connect to a UL listed Central Station. The two way communication devices are also hands free and do not require a telephone handset. The fire fighters also have communication devices inside their helmets.

3. Stairway communication system - two way communication connected to an approved constantly attended station shall be provided at not less than every fifth floor in eac stairway where the doors to the stairway are locked. See IBC section 403 This Stairway communication system will be installed in an AOR Area of Refuge or Areas of Rescue Assistance. In a fully sprinkled building the entire floor can be an area of refuge so normally the two way communication devices are mounted by the elevators instead of in the stairways.

Contact Larry Love at Peak Alarm with corrections or questions by calling (801) 428 1384 or by emailing

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