When our customers get a fire alarm monitoring or sprinkler alarm monitoring system installed, they often don’t consider what else that system can do for them. Often, many people believe that the system is stand alone, and cannot be added to. Often, this is because in the past (more than 10 years ago) this was the case. Older, ULC-listed fire alarm monitoring equipment, like the SurGard DV4420, PC1664 or Secutron equipment was manufactured with only fire alarm or sprinkler alarm monitoring in mind and only had enough zones to accommodate fire alarm, trouble, and supervisory zones (or waterflow, low pressure and gate valve zones for their fire sprinkler monitoring counterparts).
Newer ULC-listed fire alarm monitoring panel can accommodate many more zones than this, and the DSC fire alarm monitoring equipment can usually accommodate up to 32 total zones on the system (which many require the addition of some zone expanders). This greatly increases the amount of things you can monitor on your fire alarm monitoring panel.
Here are some ideas of other items you can monitor on your ULC fire alarm monitoring equipment:
Commercial Intrusion Alarm Monitoring
As we covered in a recent blog post, you can definitely monitor your business security alarm system on the same panel as your fire alarm monitoring and fire sprinkler alarm monitoring system. The alarm monitoring system needs to be set up in a certain way (which is covered in more detail in that post), however this set up can help decrease total installation costs and lower your annual monitoring costs by having your site set-up as one system, rather than two.
One item that’s in most public buildings that few think to have monitored are defibrillators (or Automatic External Defibrillators – AEDs), but these can be added as zones on your fire alarm monitoring equipment. These important life safety devices can be connected to your fire monitoring set-up in such a way that if the device is put into use, a signal can be sent to your monitoring company which will call 9-1-1 on your behalf. Events that need a defibrillator are always stressful, so having the defribillator monitored will ensure that 9-1-1 is called every time it is used. Also, you’ll have the peace of mind that the AED is being monitored in the same robust way as a fire alarm or fire sprinkler system.
Water Level Monitoring
Extra zones on the ULC fire monitoring equipment can allow you to add water level monitoring to your building. This can come in many forms, such as a “water bug” device which senses water on the floor, a water level float which is installed in a sump well, or to relays no a sump pump system which alert the monitoring company when the sump pump is running. Often more than one of these devices is used at a time (for example, a sump float as an “early warning” with a water bug to tell you when water has spilled onto the floor). These system are easy to install, and can often save you thousands of dollars in water damages. An FMC customer in Western Ontario recently commented to us that installing water level monitoring was one of the best decisions they have made in their building.
Building Automation System Monitoring
Building Automation Systems (BAS) can also be tied into fire alarm monitoring systems. Often, BAS system will have relay outputs for each device they control, which gives the monitoring company the ability to monitor chillers and boilers, HVAC systems, fans or any other device in use in the building. This can help catch critical device failures before they become critical, all through the security of a ULC-listed communications system.
Temperature Level Monitoring
High and Low Temperature levels can be monitored through a ULC fire alarm and fire sprinkler system. This can be through simple low temperature signals in sprinkler rooms, to more complex temperature monitoring, such as in medicine fridges or IT rooms. Again, having this sort of monitoring can help prevent catastrophic events which can have major impacts on your business.
To make a long story short, as long as the device you want to have monitoring on has a dry contact, you can connect it to your ULC fire alarm monitoring equipment and have it monitored. The examples above are some of the more common items we see monitored, however if there’s a unique item or device you’d like monitored in your building, there’s often a way. Feel free to reach out and we can help you with getting the devices you need monitored all through your existing fire monitoring equipment.