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Mass Notification Systems for Firehouses and the Surrounding Community

Alerting Thousands of Fire Stations and Millions of Firefighters

In the United States, there are over 27,000 registered fire departments, comprising over 51,000 fire stations and staffed by over 1.2 million firefighters.  

Each of these stations must be equipped to notify not only the on-duty firefighters of an emergency but also the greater community.

What is the Purpose of a Mass Notification System in a Firehouse?

It’s absolutely no secret that fires are incredibly dangerous. Due to the synthetic materials used in construction, the average amount of time that a person has to safely escape a burning building has decreased from 17 minutes in the 1980s to just 3 minutes today. Additionally, temperatures can rise so rapidly during a blaze that a flashover – when the room ignites all at once during the heat – can occur in as little as 5 minutes. 

That means that firefighters must be faster than ever before to arrive and attempt to quell the blaze and rescue anyone who may be trapped inside (made easier in large tenant complexes with quality public safety DAS installations). 

A Mass Notification System allows firefighters to be made aware of the situation the second the call comes through dispatch. With interior components positioned across both the interior and exterior of the firehouse, all of the on-duty firefighters will be made aware. At the same time, pedestrian and vehicular traffic outside of the station will be put on notice as well.

Mass Notification System Use Cases

Within a firehouse, there may be long periods of inactivity, but when a crisis arises, the entire crew must be ready at a moment’s notice. Due to the 24/7 necessity of staffing a fire station, and the fact that many house fires happen at night, it’s possible that the firefighters on duty will be sleeping when they are called into action. 

Whether they’re awake or sleeping, firefighters must be notified immediately that they are needed. A Mass Notification System will alert the crew to attend to their required stations. 

Once on the road, a fire engine has the benefit of sirens and lights to notify other vehicles that they are en route and to make way. However, as they’re pulling out of the station, the traffic on the main road – as well as any pedestrians or crew members not traveling with the engine – need to be made aware that the truck is moving. Therefore, a Mass Notification System outside of the station is also crucial to ensuring the speed of operations and the safety of both the crew and the public.

As a proud partner of Whelen Engineering, MCA is able to offer fire and rescue departments the quality notification systems they need.

Components of a Firehouse Mass Notification System

Omni-Directional Siren Models

  • FHS1 – One Speaker Cell 
  • FHS2 – Two Speaker Cells 
  • FHS3 – Three Speaker Cells
  • FHS4 – Four Speaker Cells

Siren Activation Controls

Firehouse Sirens can be activated in a number of ways: such as via Landline, VHF High and UHF Narrow-Band frequencies, MOSCAD/ACE, FSK, and Two-tone sequential. 

Our VHF High and UHF siren activation control packages include the following:

  • Radio and Radio interface
  • Tone or digital Squelch
  • 3-5dB Gain Omni-Directional antenna with bracket
  • 35’ (10.67m) of RG58 antenna cable
  • Polyphaser

Other features are dependent upon one or two-way controls. Whelen equipment can be interfaced with many different types of two-way radio communications products and systems. 

One-Way Controls

  • FAUXIN – Auxiliary board for contact closure activation (included)
  • FD2030LL – 10 digit DTMF landline activation
  • FD230NV – 10 digit DTMF VHF high band / 138-174 MHz
  • FD230NU – 10 digit DTMF UHF / 450-470 MHz
  • FTT – Two-tone sequential option

Two-Way Controls

  • FAUXCS – Two-way contact closure activation and status board
  • FC2030LL – Two-way landline activation
  • FC230NV – 10 digit DTMF VHF high band / 138-174 MHz
  • FC230NU – 10 digit DTMF UHF / 450-470 MHz


  • FSTATUS – Cabinet window LED status indicator
  • FPGINT1 – Interface Whelen tones with existing paging systems
  • FINTRU – Intrusion alarm (available with two-way only)

Siren Features

  • Two-compartment (Type I) natural finish aluminum cabinet
  • Includes 1-4 high efficiency 400 Watt EZ-PULL™ speaker drivers (depending on model)
  • Pole top mounting bracket included 50’ (15.24m) cable included
  • Battery powered. Minimum of 15 minutes of full power output with batteries of our recommendation
  • AC temperature compensated 5 Amp battery charger
  • Local or remote controls
  • 1-4 power ampli ers (depending on model)
  • Electronic siren controller
  • Tone generator timer
  • Local control push-buttons
  • SI TEST®
  • Low battery alarm
  • AUXIN included for contact closure activation
  • Battery tray
  • Lightning arrestor
  • Six standard public warning tones – Wail,
  • Whoop, Attack, Hi-Lo, Alert, Airhorn
  • Solar option – 2 each 80 watt panels, with brackets and solar regulator (with optional roof mount)
  • • L31H*F4 – 24VDC LED beacon
  • • VALERT* – 360° LED visual warning lights
  • Specify color by replacing * symbol in model
  • number with letter indicating color desired:
  • A = Amber; B = Blue; C = Clear/White; R = Red

Contact Us

For over 30 years, MCA has provided expertly tailored communications solutions to our nations first responders in need of two-way radios, notification and alerting systems, fixed and mobile networking devices, and more. Our team provides top-tier support for every aspect of your mission-critical communications projects from start to finish. Our engineers assess your needs, design custom solutions, and install systems that fit your organization’s exacting requirements.

Click to Learn More About Firehouse Alerting Systems Available from Whelen and MCA.

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