Visual Alarm Device (VAD)

A Visual Alarm Device ("VAD") is defined in Australian Standard AS 1670.1 as a device to indicate an alarm condition or in certain circumstances the loss of mains power causing the operation (closing sequence) of a sliding fire door or shutter.
Russ Porteous
CEO, Firewize
Visual Alarm Device (VAD)

An external wall mounted Visual Alarm Device ("VAD") shall be located on the front façade of the building or the façade on which the DBEP is present. The VAD should be installed as close as practicable to the designated building entry point ("DEBP") and shall be not more than 10 m from the DBEP.

There are certain criteria for a Visual Alarm Device that is prescribed in Australian Standard AS 1670.1:2018 as follows;

The VAD shall —

  1. be active when the FDCIE is in the fire alarm condition;
  2. flash red and be visible from the fire appliance approaching from at least two directions;
  3. have a minimum rating of W3–7.5; and
  4. be mounted with a sign with the words “FIRE” in white capital letters on a red background. The lettering height shall not be less than 50 mm using a bold sans-serif font. The colour and material of the sign shall be weather and fade resistant.

There are also other locations where a Visual Alarm Device is required;

  1. VADs shall also be activated in SOU designated for the hearing impaired. Clause 3.2.3(c)
  2. either side of a sliding fire door and shutter Clause 3.19.2(c)
  3. areas designated for persons with hearing impairment, shall be provided with VAD to indicate a
    fire alarm condition. Clause 3.22.4(a)

Any installed Visual Alarm Device is required to have transmission path monitoring between itself and the Fire Detection Control & Indicating Equipment ("FDCIE").

There are also requirements for visual alarm signals (Clause 3.22.4) that includes synchronisation of VAD's where more than one VAD is visible.

Where a Visual Alarm Device is used as an external alarm it shall include the lettering "FIRE" and the lettering shall be not less than 50mm in height (Appendix K)