Alarm System for a Small School

Hi Folks,

I work in a small school and want to upgrade our alarm system for events such as lockdowns, fire and other emergencies.
Currently it's an unlucky person ringing a manual bell (during lockdown) or calling out fire…
Quotes to get a wired system are a considerable portion of our budget.

There are 5 buildings that are reasonably close to one another, but all separate structures. The alert needs to be able to be activated from any of the buildings and ideally allow for room to room communication. I also need an external speaker for our outside playground area.

I was wondering if the simplest and easiest to manage solution might be a UHF style radio setup, with a radio (on a charging base) in each room. This would allow anyone in any room to raise an alarm while we are in class. However I would also need to have the message sent to an external speaker if an event was to occur during a lunch time.

I don't know much about radio frequency or whether what i am suggesting is even possible.
Appreciate your advice in advance.

Comments

  • +6 votes

    This definitely sounds like something that should be regulated by a government body and installed according to an Australian standard? I can't see how a fire alarm system is something you should DIY from forum suggestions.

    •  

      Don't get too excited Aoeueoa, in country Victoria schools in fire-prone towns had Gov't contractors install water tanks, diesel fire pump (electric start), and copper pipe lines to rooftop sprinklers.

      The tanks can only be refilled by sticking a garden hose in the top and the pipes on the roof were constructed so that water would sit in them over Winter and freeze, cracking said pipes and rendering the system useless.

      To top it off, the school is left to arrange ongoing maintenance as best as they can and the Dept of Ed makes the school pay for the maintenance out of the school's own budget.

  • +1 vote

    To clarify, it's not for the actual fire alarm system. We have a fully regulated and installed panel linked to a security monitoring service for fires which is inspected and checked on a regular basis to meet all governmental and regulatory requirements. If there was a fire, that would be activated and in the interim for 'fire drills' which we are required to undertake a 'manual bell ringing' is probably sufficient. Being that the system is monitored, we can't actually activate it for the drills, which would be the ideal situation, but this is not my concern.

    I guess I'm asking more for the situation of a lock-down. Ie, Angry uncle arrives at office to abduct child. Admin needs to be able to alert all rooms quickly. We have wireless phones in all rooms, however only one person can 'receive' a call at a time' and classroom teachers generally won't answer the phone as our policy is for Teacher-aides to answer, to avoid disruption of learning and sometimes they may be in another room away from class. This is why I was thinking a UHF setup where 'everyone gets the message' might work, but was just wondering if it was possible to connect an external speaker to such a network.

    •  

      Oh ok. That's totally different. I don't know your solution but I would think a UHF radio relies on a teacher being able to send the alert, and the receivers being able to hear the alert. Both of those might not be possible all the time (radio battery is dead, teacher is distracted, class is noisy etc).

      I thought a simple push button wired to every room with flashing light and siren would be simplest and best? Someone electronically minded can wire this up pretty easily?

      •  

        Yeah. That's a good point. I've not really used UHF before, hence why unsure. We have had quotes for wiring to every room and for three siren speakers situated around the school, but it's a major hit to the budget for a small school.

        Can you get multi-handset phone systems with inbuilt alarms or intercom features?

        •  

          You could do it with UHF radios. You could set up one channel for the classrooms and one channel for the PA system.

          The classroom systems could be set to scan both channels, where the PA system could be set to respond to one channel only.

          That way, with the PA only on only one channel, if the pissed off “auntie” comes to the school, the last thing she wants to hear over the grounds PA system is “pissed off Auntie on grounds, lock down now!” The other channel could be the discreet class intercom.

          You could even set each classroom as it’s own channel as well and have the radio scan three channels, PA, all classrooms, their classroom…

  •  

    Our school integrated the fire and evac buttons into the existing concept alarm system. Cheap as the infrastructure was there except a few extra horns so students could hear the alarms on the oval.

  •  

    Use a portable Klaxon

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