Fire alarms are essential elements in building safety; they are a building code requirement for detecting smoke and flames that can endanger the lives of occupants.

But while fire alarms detect fire danger, what processes are in place to monitor the fire alarms?

Fire alarm monitoring is an equally important element in protecting buildings and their occupants from fire danger. Some buildings may be heavily equipped to alert their occupants of a fire, but they don’t always have a system to monitor the alarms themselves, which can mean the difference between a fast and efficient resolution to a fire or a delayed response that causes damage and risk to human life.

What is fire alarm monitoring?

Fire monitoring involves a device that alerts key personnel, such as emergency services and building stakeholders, when a fire alarm is triggered.

While a fire alarm system alerts everyone in the building that a fire has been detected and to evacuate the building, it does not automatically notify emergency services. This means that someone in the building must call emergency services. If the building is unoccupied, it will take someone outside —such as a passer-by — to hear the alarm or witness smoke and flames before any action is taken.

Fire alarm monitoring equipment connects to a building’s fire alarms and is simultaneously activated when the alarm goes off, creating a proactive and automatic system that passes the message to all necessary parties. Once connected to a fire alarm, ADT’s purpose-made Alarm Signalling Equipment (ASE) device will immediately send a signal to the ADT Fire Monitoring Centre whenever the alarm is triggered. The alert is then automatically transmitted to fire and emergency services who are quickly dispatched to the premises.

Why fire monitoring is a vital aspect of safety

Speed is the key in a fire emergency. Buildings must be evacuated quickly, and emergency services must be contacted as soon as possible to mitigate the damage and danger. However, fire alarms are an internal notification, and no one truly knows how they will act in a real fire emergency, no matter how many times you review and rehearse the building’s fire safety procedures. In a situation where every second counts, there can be serious ramifications if everyone forgets to dial 000 or assumes someone else will do so. This presumption of responsibility or lack of accountability can also mean that issues may go undetected if no one checks the status of their fire alarm or sprinkler system.

Fire alarm monitoring takes all the guesswork and stress out of fire prevention and safety procedures. Systems like the ASE facilitate rapid dispatch and create peace of mind by immediately notifying ADT Fire Monitoring and emergency services whether someone is on the premises. An ASE will also automatically notify a building’s service agent when a fire alarm needs attendance.

ADT’s purpose-built ASE communicates with a dual path connection over the leading mobile networks, using dedicated secure links to our monitoring centres. Any fire, defect, or test signal from the fire system is immediately transmitted and received within seconds to ADT’s grade 1 monitoring centre, which is monitored 24/7 by a dedicated fire monitoring team. Fire activations seamlessly trigger the dispatch of fire trucks immediately, while an automated SMS, pager message, or email is sent to the nominated service company and site contacts to alert them.

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