Understanding the Two Types of Fire Safety Ratings for Fire Alarm Cable

If you’re looking into replacing or repairing sections of your fire alarm system, one of the most fundamental concepts to understand are the two fire safety classifications for a Fire Alarm Cable. What many people don’t know is that the type of cable chosen for different sections of your fire alarm system can not only be a matter of safety but legality as well. Fire safety codes designed by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) lay out two categorizations for fire alarm cables. This blog will explain each type and give you a basic understanding of where each type should be used.

Type 1: Plenum Cable
Plenum cable is designed for use in “plenum space,” which is any non-living/working section of a building between floors that allows for airflow from cooling and heating systems. Some examples of plenum space are ducts or vents, open space above ceiling panels, and open areas around heat and cooling system air intakes in non-working/living spaces. Plenum spaces are considered a higher risk area for cables in the case of a fire, and as a result, the NFPA has ruled that special types of cable must be used in these places. NFPA rules on plenum-rated cable were designed both to prevent fires and to prevent the failure of fire alarm systems in the case of a fire.

Plenum space is considered particularly risky primarily because of the fact that in the case of fire, heat and cooling systems will continually bring oxygen to flames that reach plenum space. Additionally, however, plenum space is considered dangerous because it is generally out of sight of those who may be working or living in the building.

If you’re rewiring sections of your fire alarm system and you are not sure if a space is plenum space or not, err on the side of caution and purchase plenum rated cables. Significant risk of non-plenum space unintentionally becoming plenum space has been noted by major fire safety authorities. Something as simple as a duct seal being breached can make non-plenum space take on the hazardous qualities of plenum space as a result of the introduction of oxygen flow. As a result, when in doubt, choose plenum rated fire alarm cable.

Type 2: Riser Cable
Riser cable is, predictably, cable that is designed for non-plenum areas between floors. This rating denotes cables that have flame-retardant insulation but not to the degree of plenum rated cables. As mentioned above, while plenum cable is perfectly viable for use in non-plenum spaces, it is not recommended to choose riser rated cable in areas that could be or could potentially become plenum space.

Riser cables are ideal for areas that are far removed from air circulation vents, well-sealed from other areas, and confirmed not to have fresh air circulation.

When buying fire alarm cables, regardless of rating, you should be aware that the special insulation used can severely reduce the flexibility of the cables. As a result, plan to run cables longer and with more leeway than you might usually expect. Overly flexing a plenum or riser rated cable can result in fire alarm cables that are split, cracked, or damaged internally. Understandably, this is a severe risk in the case that a fire does occur.

If you have further questions about alarm cables, our staff can help. Our store carries certified alarm cables of multiple types, both plenum rated and riser rated, and we are well-educated on their application. Come check out our store and find the information you need today at www.ewcswire.com!

For more information about Electric Wire Cable and Security Alarm Cables Please visit : Electric Wire & Cable Specialists (EWCS).

Investing in the Right Business Technology

It’s important to be cautious and make prudent decisions when adopting new technology for company use. The budgetary investment should be balanced against the technology’s long-term value as well as improvement over existing systems, using methods like the following.

Operate a lean business

Before upgrading the technology aspects of your company, review the budget to ensure you are running the company on the lean business model. This will help to ensure that extraneous expenses are curbed or have been eliminated, freeing up funds for new technology purchases. Look for ways to keep operations trim and light so that technology updates won’t strain the budget and cause shortfalls in other parts of the business. If taking out a business loan is still required in order to successfully upgrade technology, the aforementioned practices will give LendingClub.com and other popular lenders a better incentive to approve your application. Furthermore, look for new ways to increase savings, such as recycling or energy-saving equipment, that can render funds to be applied to technology investments. This shows lending institutions you plan on using the borrowed funds wisely.

Conduct a comprehensive evaluation

Have a company employee or a paid consultant evaluate the effectiveness of current technological processes within the company, as well as to identify potential gaps or opportunities to enhance speed and accuracy. Develop a long-range plan for adopting new technology that will produce speedy results or that can be reasonably expected to grow over the next few years. Avoid purchasing technical programs or equipment that appears to be useful if they will not directly begin to enhance company operations. Additionally, wait for the latest technology trends to settle into the market before deciding if it lives up to the hype. Review a two- or three-year company plan to determine the role that technology will play in growth and expansion.

Take it slow

Never invest more than you can afford to lose. The company budget should be balanced to cover all facets of operations, and technology is just one element, albeit an important one. Start by investing in low-priced apps or systems. For example, adding new features to the website, which can be reasonably priced when the work is done by a college student or local expert, may attract more visitors that lead to sales. Taking the company print newsletter online in digital format can actually save money in printing costs like ink and paper. Social media accounts are free and easy to utilize as long as someone in the company can post and respond quickly and consistently as part of the marketing effort.

Monitor results

Keep tabs on newly acquired technology to see if it performs as expected. For example, if you subscribe to a digital database with a monthly fee, be sure that an employee can be assigned to use the database for finding needed information. If the database goes unused, the subscription will be wasted and should be canceled. In building a customer base, check social media followers and posts to see if numbers are increasing. If not, employees assigned to the social media marketing task may need to be given different work that will advance company interests more directly. Implement technology that can be canceled, returned, or eliminated if it does not work out to avoid useless budgetary expenditures.

Tech upgrades for business are increasingly common and especially useful in the digital age of commerce. However, it is important to run a lean organization that will enable budget funding to be applied toward technological enhancements that can effectively improve company operations over current systems that are now in place.