Why do I need a fire alarm system for my building?

First and foremost, it is law or code for all new commercial buildings to have fire alarms. Beyond following local and national fire codes, having a properly functioning fire alarm saves lives! In the event of a fire, seconds save lives; for example if you are on the 5th floor of a building and the fire starts on the 1st floor, without being notified immediately by an alarm, it might be too late to escape safely by the time you are aware there is a fire. A fire alarm is something you never want to need, but always want to have.

What type of fire alarms exist?

There are several types of alarms, that cover various types of buildings and situations:


Local Fire Alarm - this type of alarm is typically found in older buildings, or in houses. When this alarm activates, sounding devices go off locally. Fire Companies and police are not notified unless someone near the building hears the alarm and calls. These types of alarms are divided in two categories

  • Conventional- this type of local fire alarm is either a 12 or 24 volt system with a zoned fire alarm control panel, this allows either a technician or the fire department to determine what area activated the alarm, or is causing trouble. In the event of a power outage, this alarm will continue to function on battery back-up for a period of time.
  • A/C Powered - this type of local fire alarm is connected as a 120 volt powered system. It does not have a panel, if the alarm is activated by either a pull station or other activating device, the bells or horns will sound and that is the end of its functionality. In the event of a power outage this system will no longer function, and for that reason is a liability.(Note that in the Town of Ocean City these alarms are no longer allowed to be installed, but if you currently have one they will allow you to keep it until it no longer functions, at which time you have to upgrade your entire system. We strongly encourage that you upgrade your A/C  powered system before it fails, it is simply a matter of safety.)

          

Central Fire Alarm - this type of alarm system is connected to a central station that monitors the alarm activity 27/7. When the alarm is activated, the fire department is notified within seconds, as well as other authorized parties (our company, you, maintenance etc.) Additionally, in the event of a  trouble signal, or if a daily communication test fails our company  and you are notified immediately, and the issues can be addressed right away. These types of alarms are divided in two categories:

  • Conventional - this type of central fire alarm is either a 12 or 24 volt system with a zoned fire alarm control, this allows either a technician or the fire department to determine what area activated the alarm, or is causing trouble. In the event of a power outage, this alarm will continue to function on battery back-up for a period of time.
  • Addressable - this type of central fire alarm is either a 12 or 24 volt system with an addressable fire alarm panel. Each device (pull station, horn, smoke detector etc.) has and "address" and communicates with the panel. In the even of an alarm or trouble, the central station is notified immediately and knows exactly where the signal originated (front lobby, room 101 etc.) This type of systems allows troubles to be tracked quickly, and in the event of a fire, alerts fire departments exactly were to go to find the origination of the fire, and put it out quickly. In the event of a power outage, this alarm will continue to function on battery back-up for a period of time.

What is monitoring and do I need it?

Fire alarm monitoring ensures that your alarm is being watched 24/7 by a central station. This 24/7 monitoring is additional protection, and will notify the fire department within seconds, even if the building in not occupied. Additionally, if there is a trouble signal, or the fire alarm fails to communicate a daily test, our company and you are notified immediately. Monitoring not only gives you peace of mind, but ensures that your system is up and running 24/7 and in the event of a fire notified all parties quickly. Do you need it? Depending on the size of your building determines if it is a requirement by local authorities. However, we highly recommend that all alarms be monitored, particularly for building that are unoccupied for portions of the year.


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FIRE ALARMS & MONITORING

  410-641-4411

11016 Grays Corner Road    Ber​lin, MD 21811