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Fig : Pfannenberg Signaling Products Installed throughout Wastewater Treatment Plant for Gas Detection Application

The safety manager of a wastewater treatment facility identified the need for an improved chlorine gas leak detection evacuation notification system to ensure the safety of both onsite personnel and the community. While already considering a prototype device that was essentially a mechanical vibrating horn and a strobe light - both mounted to a small enclosure, they discussed their need with one of their electrical service contractors. This contractor was also a signaling distributor for Pfannenberg's Signaling Products and recommend our complete line of signaling products for the notification application of their project. The distributor took photographs of the prototype device and determined that the PATROL series of flashing sounders would be a superior product designed to accomplish what they were trying to achieve. Demo units were brought to the facility and tested, the safety manager was impressed with the quality of construction, superior sound output level, and multiple tone capability. 

After initial y considering the purchase of 50 of the prototype units, discussion turned to coverage area capability and sizing of the PATROL units to meet the needs of the facility. Since the treatment plant is a combination of various buildings and walled spaces, determination of the proper sound output levels and number of PATROL units was not an easy task to

accomplish on paper. It was decided that the best technique for sizing units would be through actual testing. 

Pre-wired, AC-powered PATROL demo units of all four ranges were subsequently brought to the facility for mtesting. Facility managers then powered up units at the desired installation locations and walked or drove away to a distance that was deemed to be the limit of notification for the particular unit. By communicating back to the units' location by cell phone or two-way radio, the alarm effectiveness was either accepted or rejected and adjustments could be made to try stronger or weaker units in order to achieve effective alarm notification. After evaluating the entire facilityAla, it was determined that just 25 PATROL units of varying output sound levels would be needed to provide sufficient evacuation notification.

 Pfannenberg subsequently received the order for the 25 PATROL units. After their installation, the safety manager noted that they were very satisfied with the alarm notification coverage area capability of the units. In addition they were pleased with the overall cost savings achieved since fewer units were needed to be installed and wired up - a savings in both labor and materials.

In summary, an effective evacuation alarm notification system should start with an assessment of the notification appliances' ability to provide adequate warning to personnel, rather than a pursuit for the lowest cost devices. Loudness of audible alarms and brightness of visual alarms, as well as effective coverage area satisfied by the devices, are the measures to which safety of personnel should be gauged. Once this is understood, an economical valuation that includes equipment cost as well as installation cost will reveal the true price of the notification system. As encountered with this application, the more efficient system may prove to be the least costly.

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