Troubles on your alarm system
I got a call yesterday from a customer who explained that a tenant is moving into half of the building and doing some remodeling. Apparently they took some of the motion detectors down because they will be using their own security system.
When they did this however they caused troubles on the main building system because they did not just move the detectors but changed the wiring. There is a resister on many of these systems on each zone and if you cut the wire the panel will go into trouble because it is supervising each point.
It is best to have a professional do this work so they can get the proper resisters put on the detectors, address the keypads properly and move the wires out of the way so construction people don't cause more issues with the system.
The week before we had a sheetrock employee begin sanding and since he did not tape off the smoke detectors with plastic bags and tape as instructed the system went into TROUBLE and sure enough as we said if the detectors get dirty they will go into trouble and if they are not cleaned they will go into alarm.
Normally after you clean the detectors and do a RESET the troubles will go away.
When you are going to have painting or remodeling work, tape off the smoke detectors with plastic and after the work is done have them professionally cleaned. Do not disable the smoke detectors without notification of the proper people. Always get them back in service before you leave the site. If they do not reset or come back to normal or out of trouble they may need to be replaced. Your local AHJ Fire Marshal will be able to give you the local guidelines for doing something like this.
When a fire alarm system is down you should have a fire watch. A fire watch is a person that has no other duties than to watch for fires. The Fire Alarm System should be installed after all the other work is done such as drywall, sanding, painting etc...if this is not the case the AHJ may require you to take all the smoke detectors down and install new ones.
The obscuration level of a smoke detector basically means how full it is of dirt and dust and if you have a new building and the smoke detectors start out dirty it will only cause you more problems later on. Many of the new fire panels will allow you to print a list of which detectors need to be cleaned and the obscuration level and sensitivity of each detector.