Crisp-LaDew, fire alarms, fire alarm monitoring in Dallas Fort Worth.
Q: I put my system on test but the panel is still beeping or the alarm continues to go off?
A: By putting a system on “test” at the monitoring station, you have let the monitoring station know the system is either being tested or serviced, and they can ignore the signals they are receiving. The signals will still continue to transmit and everything is still logged, the only thing that has changed is how they respond to them. I.E. while receiving a smoke alarm, they will not call the fire department since it has been placed on test mode until the test period is over. Also it does not effect the local fire panel either, do not mistake placing the system on test at the central station with bypassing and disabling the horns & strobes on the panel. The central station does not control the panel remotely they simply just monitor the signals via the phone lines.
Q: I followed my disabling instructions for the Fire Alarm panel, but the Fire Dept still showed up during testing.
A: By bypassing the horns & strobes and other auxiliary functions, disables your local alarms but does not put the system on test with the monitoring station. You must also call and place on test with your monitoring station for the period of time you will be testing.
Q: Why is my panel always beeping into trouble?
A: When a Fire Alarm panel has a trouble condition it does not mean it is always the same issue. There are multiple components to a Fire Alarm system any of which can be the culprit. FACP (fire alarm control panel) Initiating devices (smoke detectors, duct smoke detectors, pull station boxes, Heat detectors, etc), Indicating devices (Horns, sounders, speakers, strobes,etc) Wiring infrastructure, and DACT’s(Digital Alarm Communicator/Transmitter) are your main components. Your Fire Alarm System is regulated by many standards and codes including requirements that enable the system to monitor itself to ensure operation during an emergency. When it senses there is something wrong it notifies you at the panel, it is essential you have a qualified trained technician trouble shoot and correct the problem immediately as the system may have an operational deficiency during an emergency resulting in loss of property and maybe even life.
Q: What is a supervisory? What is a trouble? What is a Pre-Alarm? What is a Fire Alarm condition?
A: Most modern alarm panels have four main Signals of notification. Fire Alarm, Supervisory Alarm, Trouble Condition, and Pre-Alarm. Fire Alarm signals are caused by actual Fire and/or manual activation of a pull station, and/or a water flow signal from a fire sprinkler protection system. A supervisory Alarm, is caused by something being monitored that is now in a off normal condition. Typically used to monitor sprinkler valves and Duct smoke sensors. For example if a valve is normally open but is closed during servicing, the tamper switch on the valve will activate a supervisory signal on the fire panel letting you know that it is off its normal position. This ensures the valve is not accidentally left closed and forgotten. Supervisory signals are not notified to the fire department via the central station, if the system is not placed on test then they do notify the owners of the signal received. A trouble condition is letting you know the system has a fault and needs immediate attention from a qualified technician. A Pre-Alarm signal is notification that system is about to go into Full “Fire Alarm Mode”. When a smoke detector begins to detect the smoke or a heat detector begins to sense a rise in heat, it will go into pre-alarm mode. Depending on the sensitivity of the detector it will then go into Fire Alarm after its verification process allowing you to have some time to put the system on test or disabling if it were to be a false alarm due to burnt popcorn or hot work being done in the facility.
Q:What is a Ground Fault?
A: A ground fault on a fire alarm system can be caused by a variety of reasons and there are different types of ground faults. Intermittent grounds (aka Ghost ground faults) is a ground fault that pops in and out intermittently and is very random, thus making it very difficult to trouble shoot. A hard ground, is a ground fault that has activated and stays active. Typically these ground faults are either internal (inside the panel circuit boards)or external (in the wiring). Ground faults can cause many interruptions on the system including false alarms, false troubles, and even causing damage to other fire alarm devices and components.
Q: My Alarm is going off but I can not silence the panel?
A: There are a variety of different fire alarm panel systems and each one is slightly different, but they all generally work the same. Typically in order to silence or reset an alarm you must have access to a higher user level. This is achieved by either logging into the system with user code or turning a key that gives you access. Some AHJ’s (authority having Jurisdiction) will require certain Alarms to be non-silence-able such as a water flow. If this is the case the alarm must be cleared (water must stop flowing) in order to reset the panel resulting in silencing the alarms. It is important to understand the difference between silencing the panel and resetting the alarm. If you simply reset an alarm due to a smoke detector and there is still smoke in the detector area then it will just go back into alarm, you must first silence the panel (only after you have determined there is no fire)clear out the cause of the alarm then reset the panel to avoid going right back into alarm.
Q: I have a comm line 1 or 2 fault, what is that?
A: That’s a trouble condition stemming from the DACT. If the DACT senses loss of dial tone from it’s phone lines or is unable to reach the central station it will give you this trouble on what ever line is having the problem. The phone lines need to be checked immediately and this issue needs to resolved urgently as there is a communication fault to the central station leaving the facility vulnerable when unoccupied and delaying response time of the fire department.