The Alarming Facts About Fire Station Speaker SystemsDid you know that significant auditory nerve damage due to loud, continuous noise in and around fire stations is one of the most common health issues for station personnel and staff? In fact, the problem is on the rise. Research conducted by the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention indicates that ambulance and other emergency sirens generate an alarming 120 decibels of sound, and are second only to firecrackers and other loud explosions in their potential to cause serious hearing loss. Advances in sonic technology have led to major improvements in the design and performance of fire station apparatus bay speaker systems that generate such noise levels. So great are the improvements, in fact, that it really pays to do some research on the pros and cons of the wide array of systems available on the market today.
Three Factors to Consider Before Selecting a Fire Station Speaker SystemThe National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) is the leading authority on fire, electrical and building safety. The organization’s NFPA 1500 standard specifies the minimum requirements for an occupational safety and health program for fire departments and organizations like them. From the NFPA’s documentation, here are the three major factors you should consider when evaluating sound and noise levels, which ought to be on the top of your list of speaker system considerations:
1. Gauge the Intensity of Sound (Loudness and Softness). A speaker system’s performance at loud and soft levels are major indicators of its quality. Listen to speakers at both level extremes, and test their sound performance.
2. Measure the Sound Frequency Levels. Measured in decibels (dB), with zero assigned as the weakest sound that a person can hear and 140 being at the threshold of pain, with the instantaneous possibility of permanent hearing loss.
3. Calculate the Duration of Sound. As the NFPA’s noise level research reflects, the length of time a loud siren or alarm sounds is another factor that needs to be considered when evaluating fire station noise levels.