ECS, MNS: What's it mean?

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Wednesday, April 1, 2009

NORTHFORD, Conn.--In an effort to help decode codes having to do with mass notification, or as NFPA is now calling it, ECS or Emergency Communications Systems, Gamewell-FCI has expanded a series of free seminars.

“There’s been a lot of interest from AHJs, engineers and a lot of military people,” said Beth Welch, manager public relations for Honeywell Fire Systems. In February, seminars were held in Massachusetts and Connecticut. Between March and May, seminars were planned across the country, “from Virginia to California to Texas and Kansas,” Welch said. The seminars are located near military bases, many of which, because of DoD requirements, are in the process of updating or installing mass notification systems. (Visit www.gamewell-fci.com for more details.)The half-day seminars cover “the latest codes and government recommendations surrounding mass notification systems. All presentations and take-home materials are geared toward the needs of today’s architects, engineers, end users, AHJs and government personnel.” The seminar ncludes a demonstration of the Gamewell-FCI mass notification solution, but the majority of the seminar is dedicated to education about code requirements.

In terms of the terminology, ECS is what the NFPA is now calling mass notification systems. Only the military, which is governed by the DoD’s Unified Facilities Criteria (UFC) will continue to call the systems mass notification systems. The UFC says that combining mass notification systems and fire alarm/voice evacuation systems is the “simplest and most economical approach. It’s expected that the same recommendation will be included in the newest NFPA 2010 codes. While the military is governed by the UFC, the private sector is governed by NFPA codes.”

Private-sector applications of ECS are commonly used in corporate, health care, educations and industrial campuses.