Most people are familiar with smoke detectors and fire alarm systems—these make a sound loud enough to alert anyone in the building to the presence of a fire. These alerts give people time to exit the building and call the fire department if they can. Fire alarm monitoring automatically notifies the fire department of an alarm, trouble condition, or supervisory (“off-normal”) situation by sending a signal to an Underwriters Laboratory (UL) listed Central Station, which is a standard requirement.
What are the benefits?
Fire alarm monitoring automatically alerts a Central Station, a manned, 24-hour operation that notifies the fire department upon confirmation of one of the above conditions. This can be done through copper telephone lines, cellular service, or radio networks, although traditional copper telephone lines, known as “POTS” lines, are becoming obsolete. The most important benefit of monitoring is the time it saves if building occupants are unable to call 911.
Some buildings can be consumed by flames in a matter of minutes. Early notification of the fire department is vital for life safety and the protection of property, especially in residential occupancies.
For businesses and other commercial buildings, fire alarm monitoring is required by law and just makes sense. These facilities might have a lot of people inside, or their employees may not know what to do in the event of a fire. Panicked patrons and employees may have difficulty exiting safely. In these situations, it is common to assume someone has already called the fire department. Monitoring avoids the need for someone to call the fire department, so occupants can focus on exiting the building, although building occupants should always call 911 if they can do so safely.
Is it required by law?
Fire alarm monitoring is required by law in most jurisdictions, although there are older fire alarm systems that may not be monitored and are in compliance. That said, it’s a good idea to carefully weigh the benefits and consider it even if not required.
Who should have it?
While there are exceptions to monitoring requirements, fire alarm monitoring should be installed in every building, commercial or residential. Everyone can benefit from these systems and what they have to offer in terms of fire protection and life safety. The time they save can make the difference between a small fire and a major catastrophe, potentially saving lives.
Fire Protection Services from Fireline
Whether you need smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, or an automatic sprinkler system installed at your commercial property, Fireline has you covered. We have been protecting people and property from fire damage since 1947—and our experience shows in our excellent work! We are known for our superb customer service, our expertise, and our reliability. For more information on how we can help your residential or commercial property, visit us online or give us a call at (800) 553-3405. We are in Baltimore, MD, with a second office in Leesburg, VA. For more fire safety tips, be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.