Fire alarm monitoring is not a service that is top of mind with many building owners or managers, and they are sometimes caught off guard when they are notified by the fire department or insurance company that they need to have it installed. As a result, we are often asked, “Why do I need fire alarm monitoring?”. There are two main reasons why you may need or want to have fire alarm monitoring in your building.
1. Fire Code & Building Code Requirements
Code requirement is the most common reason that a building needs to have fire alarm monitoring.
The Fire Code and Building Code are the documents that determine what types of buildings need to have their fire alarm systems monitored by a third party. For example, in Ontario, the Building Code indicates that buildings such as schools and day cares, high-rise buildings, care facilities and hospitals, as well as buildings where a sprinkler system is installed all must have a fire alarm monitoring system.
This means that if your facility falls into one of these applicable categories, there is a requirement by law to have your fire alarm system monitored.
CAN/ULC-S561 is the standard for fire alarm monitoring. In order to indicate that your system adheres to this standard, your monitoring company should provide a certificate to attest that the fire alarm monitoring system was properly installed. The ULC certificate is the only physical proof that the monitoring on your premises conforms to the standard.
2. Sense of Security
There are some building types that may not require to have their fire alarm system monitored however, we always recommend adding this service to your building’s life safety infrastructure.
The fire alarm in your building is designed solely to identify that there a fire exists and prompt people to get out of the building, they do not automatically notify the fire department of the alarm. This means that if the fire alarm is activated, the fire department may not by notified until someone calls 9-1-1. However, when fire alarm monitoring is present, it ensures that the fire department is always dispatched upon alarm activation.
Fire alarm monitoring is a key component of ensuring a quick response. Fires can spread exponentially through a building within a short period of time. Having a monitored system assists in having the fire department arrive as fast as possible.