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How Does My Fire Alarm Monitoring Panel Work?

how does my fire alarm monitoring panel work imageSome of the most common inquiries we receive at Fire Monitoring of Canada have to do how exactly your fire alarm monitoring panel works.  As we have discussed in other blog posts, a fire alarm monitoring panel connects to your fire alarm panel and communicates the signals produced to a third-party monitoring company.  This ensures that there will always be someone available to notify the fire department of a fire alarm regardless of whether you and your staff are on site.

Many people do not realize that the fire alarm system of a building is only built to notify the occupants that there is an emergency and they must evacuate.  This means that if your alarm goes off and there isn’t anyone who can hear and respond to the alarm and call 9-1-1, then the fire department will not be notified until it’s too late to save your property.  Conversely, when your fire alarm system is monitored, you can be assured that if your alarm is activated, the fire department will be dispatched by your fire monitoring service provider.

Fire Alarm Monitoring

It is widely believed that when a fire alarm activates in your building, your third-party monitoring company receives information about where the alarm is coming from; this is untrue.  In actuality, the monitoring company will receive a general fire alarm signal that solely notifies them that the alarm has been activated.  The same is true for trouble and supervisory signals.

Why Not?

The reason really comes down to the fact that the fire department knows exactly where they are going to set-up for each and every building out there. Typically, this is at the location of either the fire alarm panel itself, or the annunciator. It’s at these locations that the fire department will determine where best to set-up according to the detection points at that given time. The fire department does not necessarily have an intimate knowledge of each and every building, therefore responding to zone locations may not be possible, and it may even be detrimental to the speed and time at which they are best able to respond to a working fire.

Further to this, in order to identify the specific location of a fire alarm in your building, an alarm output contact would need to be connected for each specific device back to your fire alarm monitoring panel.  Even in smaller facilities, this not a practical set up, and because of this, your monitoring company will not be able to tell you where the alarm is coming from. There are situations in which the fire department will request a building to be divided into sections, which is definitely possible. However, for most scenarios to get more information on the alarm, you can check your fire alarm annunciator, and relay that information to staff and the fire department.  Fire alarm annunciators are used to pinpoint alarms, and help you and your staff make decisions in the event of an alarm.

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Sprinkler System Monitoring

Similar to your fire alarm system, if your monitoring company is monitoring your building’s sprinkler system, they will receive specific information about riser water flow, water pressure, and gate valves however, they will not know where along the sprinkler riser the sprinkler has been activated.

Fire Alarm Signal Transmission

Fire alarm signals are then transmitted by your monitoring panel to the monitoring station via various communication methods including IP, cellular, or phone line.  To learn more about this process, check out our great explainer video:

Learn More

If you have more questions about how fire alarm monitoring works in conjunction with your fire alarm panel, do not hesitate to contact us.

Fire Monitoring of Canada has been a leader in fire monitoring and security monitoring industry for over 30 years.  Trust the experts and give your property the protection it deserves.  Call us at 1 866 789 FIRE (3473), email fminfo@fire-monitoring.com, or fill out the contact form below for more information.

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We are proudly serving all of Ontario and monitoring throughout rest of Canada.

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