You may have your fire alarm system or sprinkler system monitored with Fire Monitoring of Canada, or any other ULC-listed security monitoring company (but hopefully with us). As a monitoring company which is compliant with CAN/ULC-S561, when we receive alarms we’re required to dispatch them within a set of prescribed timelines.
From time to time, you may be required to call us and place your system “out of service”. This could be for many reasons:
- Doing a monthly fire alarm test, or;
- Performing a fire drill, or;
- Work on site which may cause a fire alarm, or;
- A fire service company on site to perform work on your fire alarm or sprinkler system, among others.
When systems are out of service with our Signals Receiving Centre (monitoring station), we will not react to alarms, and will not dispatch the fire department. Many people are often confused by what actually happens when a system is placed out of service, both in our monitoring station and on site. Here, we will try and make this process more clear so that there is no confusion.
What Happens at FMC?
When you call Fire Monitoring and place your system out of service with one of our CSAA Certified operators, Fire Monitoring will go into your account and place the account on test in our Alarm Monitoring Software. You may require a specific passcode or system number in order to place this call. We will then place the system offline for a specific period of time, which you can tell us, or we can advise you of. We will work with you to help you make the best decision. If you need the system to remain out of service past this point in time, a call must be made to extend the out of service time. Systems will automatically go back in service after the time that’s been input during your call; this is a function of monitoring software. If signals remain outstanding when the system goes back on-line automatically, they will be treated “as normal” and may result in a false dispatch, so it is important to ensure you call us back to review signals or extend the out of service time.
Once the system has been placed out of service, it will no longer bring any signals to our operator’s attention. This way, we are not inundated with signals that are known to be false, and we do not act on them. This being said, we do still receive all of the signals that your panel may send and they are logged into the history of your account. When you call to put the system back on-line, our operators will review all signals received and make sure that they are all clear.
What Happens in Your Building?
From FMC’s perspective, essentially nothing. The work we do in our Alarm Monitoring Software has no impact on the operation of your fire alarm system. It does not stop the bells from ringing in your building, nor can we do anything to reset your fire alarm panel (our monitoring transmitter only reports what the fire panel is telling us through a set of alarm contacts). As we are not reacting to signals that come to our monitoring station on your direction, any “real” alarms generated from your fire alarm or sprinkler system need to be dispatched to the local fire department from someone in the building by calling 9-1-1. This is what is known as having a building in “manual watch”. Only when you call us to place the system back “online” will we begin to dispatch alarms again.
We hope this clears up what happens when you place your fire alarm monitoring or sprinkler alarm monitoring system offline with our SRC. If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to Contact Us.