The problem with noisy fire stations

Fire stations, first response teams and ambulance service centers are busy, excitable environments that conjure up a host of acoustical challenges, all of which are indisputably bound to clear and effective communication. Once called into action, alarms are activated, adrenalin rises, orders are given and the relative quiet turns into a cacophony of noise as teams get equipped, engines are fired up and sirens blare. The typical garage is enclosed by hard, reflective surfaces in the form of concrete walls, tile or concrete floors, metal ceilings and glass-laden steel doors.  These areas are so reflective and reverberant that intelligibility deteriorates to the point where the PA system no longer functions and communication becomes severely strained. Even simple verbal commands between members are no longer understood. Confusion sets in, anxiety levels elevate, mistakes are made and efficiency is reduced. Mission critical communication hubs and training rooms do not fare much better. They too are surrounded by highly reflective surfaces such as gypsum walls, tiled floors and glass windows. Conversation from other operators in the same room echoes off the hard surfaces causing disruption. Noise from the PA system blaring commands are intermixed with alarms and sirens. This travels through the plenum above the T-bar ceilings, forcing the operators to speak louder, exacerbating the problem.  The room reflections and echo interfere with essential communication, populating errors and misunderstanding in such a mission critical environment. Interpersonal discussion and conversation become taxing and difficult to comprehend. Fatigue sets in as the ear struggles to filter the clutter for the important information and instruction.

How can Primacoustic help you?

For the garage, applying between 10% to 20% wall coverage using 2” thick Broadway™ panels will immediately bring the reverberant field under control and improve intelligibility. The 2” thick Broadway panels are exceptionally absorptive in the voice range and right down into the lower frequencies where engine noise can often take over.  If wall space is limited, substituting the wall panels for Saturna™ baffles or Nimbus™ clouds is also very effective. As conference and training rooms are primarily concerned with sounds in the voice range, these spaces can be treated with thinner 1” Broadway wall panels covering between 15% to 25% of the wall surface. Should available wall surface space be limited, StratoTile™ T-Bar ceiling panels offer exemplary performance. These are retrofitted into standard T-Bar grid systems without the need for cutting or special tools. Primacoustic panels are made from high-density glass wool for superior sound absorption. Each panel features resin hardened edges and a micromesh coat to eliminate dusting. Panels are then finished with rugged polyester tweed fabric that will stand up and look good for years.  If security and privacy be a concern, Primacoustic ThunderTiles™ combine a heavy gypsum backing board with the high-density glass wool to both absorb energy and prohibit sound from traveling through the plenum above the T-Bar ceiling into adjacent spaces.

Executive Summary

  • Better speech intelligibility and a focused, calm listening environment
  • Provides clarity and reduces error in an excitable critical listening situation
  • Reduces fatigue and provides less stressful working conditions
  • Easy to install and needs no servicing or maintenance