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V215 Emergency Alarm Systems

V215.1 General. Where emergency alarm systems are provided to alert passengers, alarms shall comply with V215.

EXCEPTION: In alterations, compliance with V215 shall not be required except where an existing alarm system is upgraded or replaced, or a new alarm system is installed.

V215.2 Public Areas. Alarms in public areas shall comply with principles of best practice.

[2004 Draft: Permanently installed audible and visible alarms complying with NFPA 72, p 57-60 (2002).]

V215.3 Guest Rooms. Guest rooms required to comply with V224.4 shall provide alarms complying with principles of best practice.

[2004 Draft: Permanently installed audible and visible alarms complying with NFPA 72, p 57-60 (2002).]


V224.4 Communication Features. Guest rooms with communication features complying with V806.3 shall be provided in accordance with Table V224.4.

Table V224.4 Guest Rooms with Communication Features
Total Number of Guest Rooms ProvidedMinimum Number of Required Guest Rooms with Communication Features
2 to 25 2
26 to 50 4
51 to 75 7
76 to 100 9
101 to 150 12
151 to 200 14
201 to 300 17
301 to 400 20
401 to 500 22
501 to 1000 5 percent of total
1001 and over 50, plus 3 for each 100 over 1000

V806.3 Guest Rooms with Communication Features. Guest rooms required to provide communication features shall comply with V806.3.

V806.3.1 Alarms. Where emergency warning systems are provided, alarms complying with principles of best practice shall be provided.

[2004 Draft: Permanently installed audible and visible alarms complying with NFPA 72, p 57-60 (2002).]


Excerpt on Emergency Alarms from Supplementary Information
included with the US Access Board 2006 Draft Vessel Guidelines

V215 Emergency Alarms. This draft modifies V215 by requiring emergency alarm systems which are provided to alert passengers to comply with principles of best practice. This is similar to a provision in ADAAG for medical care facilities which permits fire alarm systems in medical care facilities to be provided in accordance with industry practice. The 2004 draft required emergency alarm systems (both audible and visible) to be permanently installed and to comply with NFPA 72.

Commenters [on the 2004 draft guidelines] primarily focused on the desire to allow portable systems with enhanced capabilities as an alternative to requiring permanently installed visible alarms in public areas and in guest rooms required by V224.4 to have communication features. Aside from problems in interfacing visible alarm systems with public address systems over which audible alarms operate, these commenters noted benefits in using portable systems. Portable systems would allow technological advances to be more rapidly adopted which could provide better information during emergencies than permanently installed visible alarms. Portable systems would also allow more guest rooms to be covered than the two percent proposed in the 2004 draft. The same portable systems could also be used to communicate more effectively other information about shipboard activities to people who are deaf or hard of hearing.

The Board is also aware of how employees on passenger vessels play an important role in providing directions and addressing passenger needs during emergencies. This heightened role is more analogous to how hospitals notify its patients and is completely different from most other facilities on land.

As technology in this area is rapidly changing, this draft proposes that alarm systems comply with principles of best practice to alert passengers. Alarm systems which are in accordance with principles of best practice may contain capabilities which are more than just flashing lights and better meet the emergency needs of persons who are deaf or hard of hearing.