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Beacon Medaes Infinity Master Alarm

  • Monday, July 01, 2019 3:37 PM
    Message # 7724401

    I have a two part question.


    1.  Can the Beacon Medaes Total Alert Infinity Master Alarm Panel be considered a "Computer System" as defined in 5.1.9.2.2 (2018):


    5.1.9.2.2 A centralized computer system shall be permitted to be substituted for one of the master alarms required in 5.1.9.2.1 if the computer system complies with 5.1.9.3.


    2.  If yes, then is it code compliant to utilize a hard wired Infinity Master Alarm Panel as a "Alarm Initiating Device" to send through an hospitals Ethernet and "Mirror" the hardwired panel at another location via the ethernet?


    5.1.9.3 Master Alarms by Computer Systems. Computer systems used as substitute master alarms as required by 5.1.9.2.1(2) shall have the mechanical and electrical characteristics described in 5.1.9.3.1 and the programming characteristics described in 5.1.9.3.2.


    Background info:

    The facility has 2 properly functioning master alarm panels.  1 in engineering, 1 in PBX.  PBX is closing and moving offsite.  Options are relocate the PBX panel to the ER (24 hour location) or perhaps something more creative.....If you consider the Infinity a "Computer Notification" system, rather than a standard "Master Alarm Panel", the options seem to open up a bit.


    5.1.9.1 General - (12) Communication devices that do not use electrical wiring for signal transmission will be supervised such that failure of communication shall initiate an alarm.


    As I understand the Mirroring feature this setup would be code compliant.....Am I missing something?  Please let me know what y'all think.


    -Nick

  • Tuesday, July 02, 2019 12:06 PM
    Reply # 7729147 on 7724401
    Al Moon (Administrator)

    Could we just consider the alarm as a ( J Box ) ?

  • Tuesday, July 02, 2019 7:53 PM
    Reply # 7730816 on 7724401

    Unfortunately, No an alarm panel can not be considered a computer. 

    I applaud the "thinking out of the box", but BeaconMedaes does not consider is TotalAlert Infinity alarm panel a computer.

    Looking back at the discussions of the NFPA 99 technical committee, regarding this change, the allowance of the use of a computer as a replacement was geared toward building automation systems hoping that one of the BAS manufacturers would jump on board and develop an interface to meet the requirements.

    Sadly, non of them have considered this to date.

  • Sunday, July 18, 2021 10:01 PM
    Reply # 10760417 on 7724401

    We had this identical situation over three years ago.

    Two of the three master alarm panels (all infinity) were being abandoned locally in place. The third was to remain in Maintenance but none are monitored 24/7.


    The "fix" was to connect ALL THREE master alarm panels via the ethernet and they reside on a computor programmed to bring either one or all three panels up with audible and visual alarms in the Security Office over 10 miles away with a procedure to notify predesignated personnel to react immediately to any and all alarms.


    If one of the three panels fails the Ethernet connected Security computer is programmed to alert Security of the disconnect.


    It is my opinion the above scenario meets the "Intent" of the code for continuous surveillance and redundancy in the event of one of the master alarm panels.

  • Monday, July 19, 2021 7:21 AM
    Reply # 10761137 on 7724401
    Al Moon (Administrator)

    This Bold and Unlined statement is offend missed and per happens a review for a re-written in future codes.


    NFPA 99 - 2013 Edition Section # 5.1.9.2.1  

    The master alarm system shall consist of two or more alarm panels located in at least two separate locations, as follows: 

    (1) One master alarm panel shall be located in the office or work space of the on-site individual responsible for the maintenance of the medical gas and vacuum piping systems.

    (2) In order to ensure continuous surveillance of the medical gas and vacuum systems while the facility is in operation, the second master alarm panel shall be located in an area of continuous observation (e.g., the telephone switchboard, security office, or other continuously staffed location).


  • Monday, July 19, 2021 8:08 AM
    Reply # 10761200 on 7724401

    Nick, under a strict reading of the code, what you describe is possible albeit problematic.

    This is the change from "wiring" to "communication" that was put in primarily for wireless but also covers this (NFPA 99 21, 5.1.9.2.3.2 is the most cogent reference). (Ethernet is a form of "communication" in this sense).

    Like wireless, the difficulty is that intermediate devices are involved (transceivers and repeaters in wireless, hubs and network in ethernet) so neither is "clean" in the sense that wired alarms are.  On the other hand, the intranet in a modern hospital is so mission critical that if they had to choose between the gases and the intranet, they would probably fix the intranet first! (barely a joke at all...).  It is therefore a reasonable thing to rely on. 

    Beacon has always treated this option with caution for that reason.  But whether a facility wants to accept this as "good enough" therefore has to be up to them. 

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