Fire Alarm items to address

Basic Fire Alarm information

Many people only think about Smoke Detectors, Pull Stations (Manual Pull Boxes) and Horn/Strobes when thinking about fire alarm systems.

1. Don't forget to have your dampers tied into the fire alarm system. 2. Magnetic door holders that hold doors open should also drop upon activation of fire alarm. 3. Magnetic locks should unlock upon fire alarm so people can get out of the building. 4. Duct Detectors installed on air handlers over 2000 cfm should be tied into the fire alarm and most fire marshals will allow them to be supervisory points meaning they won't dispatch the fire department when they activate but will send a trouble or supervisory signals so a maintenence person can be dispatched. 5. Tamper switches on your fire department keyboxes (lockboxes where a building key is kept and the fire department can access those boxes with a special master key) can be tied to the fire system with permission from the AHJ Fire Marshal or they can also be tied into the security system. 6. PIV valves, sprinkler tampers and sprinkler flow switches should be tied into the fire alarm system. 7. Code requires that at least one pull station be tied to the fire alarm system when the system is monitoring at least 20 sprinkler heads. This is the case even when another part of the code allow exclusion of pull stations. (Still need one) 8. Voice evacuation and mass notification systems have different code requirements and criteria although most of the time the two systems will be tied together. 9. Elevators should also be tied into the fire alarm for elevator recall. This normally functions so that the elevator goes to the first floor if there is smoke on any other floor or if there is smoke on the first floor then it may recall to the 2nd. Also keep in mind that if the first floor is underground the recall may be to the level of exit such as the 2nd floor so verify this with your AHJ Fire Marshal. 10. The Horn/Strobes (The noisy horns that have lights) draw a certain amount of current depending on their candela and sound level settings. Many of these appliances draw around 242mA or 1/4 of an amp. Many power supplies will have around 2amps per circuit so you could put 8 horn/strobes per circuit but if you have hallway horn/strobes that are set on 30cd or 15cd then you can put more of them per circuit. When you have ceiling mounted horn/strobes they draw more current so you will install less per circuit. 11. Keep in mind that on long wire runs there is a voltage drop so when you use thicker cable (Wire) such as 14g2c (14 Gauge) then you will be able to do longer runs than when you use smaller wire like 18g wire. There is a chart and calculator we use to determine the distances and a formula. 12. Plan out how your fire alarm panel will communicate. If you decide on phone line then you will need 2 analog phone lines and most of the time one of those lines will be dedicated. Many times these lines cost around $30 per line so there are other options to consider. 13. Using an AES Radio is another option and that only adds $15 per month to the monitoring bill. 14. Installing a high supervision cellular communicator will add $22 to the monthly charges and it sends a signal every 6 minutes or over 7000 times a month. When you have this or the Radio then you do not need the two phone lines nor do you need a backup since the backup is supposed to inform you when the primary fails and since you are sending regular signals out you will know of a failure quickly. 15. Internet monitoring is another form and it is becoming more popular although the equipment should have battery backup and in order to qualify the internet module or communicator needs to be tied to certain reputable companies not just any internet provider. There are concerns with this if your internet goes down often then you will get lots of trouble calls from your central station so the pole rate needs to be set up prudently. (801) 428 1384