Fire Alarm Monitoring

Fire Alarm Monitoring in Sacramento

All of the requirements for fire alarm installation, signaling, inspection and monitoring have been well defined by the NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) in NFPA 72 Fire Alarm Code. The NFPA is not actually the enforcing agency behind the code. The AHJ (Authority Having Jurisdiction) will adopt the NFPA 72 code for their jurisdiction to adhere to. It is important that you have a local fire alarm company that knows all of the codes that you are responsible for within your building.


Fire Alarm Panel Monitoring Requirements

Until 2010 building owners were required to have at least one dedicated phone line for the monitoring of the fire alarm system and a second redundant line that could be a dedicated POTS line or a cellular phone line. Even though this redundancy was in place to save lives and property it could be an expensive proposition. These dedicated phone lines could cost up to $100 per month through your local phone company and then there were additional charges for the Central Station Monitoring.


VOIP Phone Lines for Fire Alarm Monitoring

As VOIP phone lines become more of the normal for businesses the standard phone lines are not typically installed. The cable companies that are the typical providers of the VOIP phone lines are disconnecting the fire alarm panel monitoring without their knowledge disabling the communication from the Fire Alarm Panel. In many cases the companies may not realize that the fire panel is not communicating. The new VOIP phone line does not work with the fire alarm panels.

Introducing Cellular Fire Alarm Monitoring

The revisions in the fire alarm code have allowed for all of the fire alarm monitoring being the sole form of communication for your fire alarm monitoring. This means that the expensive dedicated phone lines can be cancelled with a substantial monthly savings. There is an initial cost for the GSM Communicator but it does not take long to realize the savings after switching over.

The original purpose of the redundant phone lines was to increase the likelihood that if one phone line was disconnected the fire alarm could still send in an alarm signal. This was back in a time where the phone lines entered the building from different locations. This did provide for redundancy and a higher level of protection. Nowadays the phone lines enter the building at the same location so if one gets damages they will most likely both get damages so true redundancy does not exist.

The other issue with standard phone line monitoring is that the POTS lines are only automatically checked once per day while the Cellular technology is checked every few minutes so the Central Station is notified almost immediately if there is a failure.


Upgrading Fire Alarm Monitoring to GSM Communicators

Many panels can be upgraded to work with the new GSM technology but the older panels may need to have a onetime upgrade. It is best to consult with a Fire Alarm professional to see what it will take to upgrade to GSM technology.

When you consider the increase in safety for your property and personnel the GSM technology should be considered. The cost savings alone is well worth the change.