Why Are Fire Alarms So Loud?

When you hear the sound of a fire alarm, it is probably one of the loudest sounds you will ever hear. The shrillness and loudness are intended to startle everyone in the building into action. A faint fire alarm would be useless. In this blog post, we will explore why fire alarms are so loud.


How Loud are Fire Alarms?

NFPA 72 details the criteria for fire alarm notification appliances, which come in two varieties: audible and visual.

  • The horn and siren create an audible warning, which ranges from 65 to 120 decibels (dB) when placed 10 feet away.
  • Strobe lights alert you to danger with a visible signal that flashes once per second at 15 to 1,000 candelas.

There’s no doubt that exposure to loud noises can harm your hearing. According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), 85 decibels and above is the hearing loss threshold.


Fire Alarm Volumes are Not All the Same

The objective of a fire alarm is to ensure that everyone in the building knows to leave. NFPA rules state that fire alarm horns and sirens should be louder than surrounding noises.

The minimum acceptable level is 15 dB above the average noise level or 5 dB above the maximum ambient sound, whichever is greater. This implies fire alarm horns may be set to 75 dB for a restaurant or office environment, but an industrial facility with loud equipment may need to sound off closer to 120 dB for the sound to stand out from other noises.

The high-volume needs for fire alarms accounts for that sound losing its perceived loudness as it gets farther from the horn, and building materials absorb noise, especially when doors are shut between rooms. To ensure that the sound reaches every corner of the structure, generating a loud decibel level at the source is necessary.


Protecting Your Hearing

When the shrill sound of a fire alarm pierces your ears, your first impulse is to cover them. While you walk calmly toward the exit and out of the building, covering your ears effectively prevents hearing loss.

However, the most significant thing is establishing a fire evacuation strategy and regularly conducting fire drills. This way, your employees are more particular about what measures to take and where to flee in an emergency. You may reduce tension and exposure time by planning.

Finally, if you believe the decibel level of your fire alarm is too loud, get a professional to inspect your equipment and determine whether it’s safe and in compliance with NFPA 72. Your expert will ensure the volume is appropriate for safety and conformance with NFPA 72.


Where are Your Fire Alarms? 

You may now be more aware of how loud fire alarms can become and why they are so crucial for safety in your house, so you might want to look at the ones you already have.

Now is the time to replace fire alarms if you’re missing any. Please don’t put it off until later; be proactive! Check out our page to learn more about how we can assist you in keeping yourself and your family safe.


Are you missing fire extinguishers too? Contact Fire-Alert today to see how we can help!