Over the past few weeks, we have explained what fire alarm monitoring is and why you may need to have it. In this article, we will continue to delve into fire alarm monitoring by looking at how the system works in order to deliver your alarms to the fire department.
To recap, the fire alarm system within your building is only in place to notify building occupants that there is an emergency and they need to exit the building immediately. This means that if your fire alarm is activated and no one calls 9-1-1, then the fire department may not be notified until it is too late. Conversely, through fire alarm monitoring, you can be assured that if your fire alarm is activated, the appropriate fire department will be notified by your fire alarm monitoring provider.
Fire Alarm Monitoring
As a fire alarm monitoring provider, we install a fire alarm monitoring panel adjacent to your fire alarm panel, that will be used to transmit fire alarm signals to our ULC-Listed Signals Receiving Centre (SRC). The transmission of these signals will be achieved through any combination of cellular, IP, analog phone line, or other ULC approved method of signal transmission.
It is a common misconception that when the fire alarm is activated in your building, your fire alarm monitoring provider knows where in the building the alarm is coming from; this is not accurate. In actuality, the SRC will receive a general fire alarm signal to notify them that the alarm has been activated at the building. This occurs because the fire department knows where they are going to set up for each building they attend, which is primarily the fire panel or annunciator. It is these locations that will provide the fire department with the information they need to determine how they will set up.
Furthermore, to be able to pinpoint the location of each fire alarm in a building, an output contact would need to be added to each device, and connected back to your fire alarm monitoring panel. This is not a practical set up, even for smaller facilities.
Sprinkler System Monitoring
The monitoring of a building’s sprinkler system is set up in a similar fashion to the fire alarm system. A fire alarm monitoring panel will be installed, and the signals that are generated by the sprinkler system will be transmitted through a combination of IP, cellular, analog phone line, or other ULC approved method.
In scenarios where a monitoring provider is monitoring a building’s sprinkler system, they will receive specific information about riser waterflow, water pressure, and gate valves, however, they will not be able to identify where along the sprinkler riser the sprinkler has been activated.