ULC-S561 is the standard for fire alarm monitoring and fire sprinkler monitoring in Canada. This standard covers all aspects of fire alarm monitoring and fire sprinkler monitoring, including the installation of fire monitoring equipment, the construction of the ULC monitoring station (Signals Receiving Centre), how the fire monitoring system communicates and more.
ULC-S561 also determines how alarms are handled when they are received at the ULC monitoring company. The standard says that, when received, fire alarms must be dispatched within 30 seconds without verification. It also says that electronic retransmission of alarms can be used to satisfy this time requirement.
So, what is electronic retransmission of alarms? OPEN ACCESS™ is one form of electronic retransmission which send signals from ULC monitoring companies directly to the computer systems of the appropriate fire department, and it is an improvement on “traditional” ULC fire alarm monitoring. We can say it’s an improvement for these three reasons:
- It Lowers Fire Department Response Times
- It Improves Dispatch Accuracy
- It Ensures Compliance with ULC S-561 on Every Fire Alarm Signal
We’ll go over each of these individually below:
OPEN ACCESS™ Lowers Fire Department Response Times
When an alarm is received at the ULC monitoring Signals Receiving Centre, it is automatically directed to the appropriate fire department dispatching computer system. This means that no matter how busy a ULC monitoring company is, this alarm will get sent immediately, with no interaction required from the monitoring company’s operators. This translates into reduced notification times to the fire department, and trucks getting to the site of the fire alarm faster. Independent studies have shown that OPEN ACCESS™ reduces fire department response times by 114.7 seconds – an amount of time which is huge when you consider a fire doubles in size every minute after the first four minutes.
OPEN ACCESS™ Improves Dispatch Accuracy
When accounts go online with OPEN ACCESS™ all monitoring company data is cross references with the fire department information, which ensures the data the fire department receives is accurate. As well, because the data is delivered electronically to the fire department’s dispatch system, the chance of operator error – either in a mis-typed address or a mis-heard address is significantly reduced. All of this combines to provide a fire alarm monitoring system which is much more secure and accurate.
OPEN ACCESS™ Ensures Compliance with the ULC-S561 Fire Monitoring Standard with Every Fire Alarm Signal
As mentioned above, ULC-S561 requires that fire alarm signals (which are not on-test) be reported to the fire department within 30 seconds without verification. OPEN ACCESS™ is a process which happens automatically without needing the intervention of an operator to send the fire alarm signal to the fire department. This means that this system complies with the dispatching requirement for ULC-S561 on every fire alarm signal, and removes the chance for an operator to make a mistake for these critical alarms.
These 3 reasons show why OPEN ACCESS™ is a superior form of ULC fire alarm monitoring. And when you consider that OPEN ACCESS™ will work with every piece of alarm equipment installed in every building today, meaning that there would be no capital cost to move to the service the reasons for using the service get even better.