Can I use a PBX phone line for a DACT connection to the fire department?

With the impending discontinuation of the hard copper (POTS) phone lines, and in fact many municipalities already no longer have hard copper pairs from end user to the fire department dispatch center, is it a violation of NFPA 72 if the DACT connections to the fire department use PBX phone lines? Some fire alarm system [Read More]

Does a sprinkler in a LULA elevator pit mandate elevator recall?

I get this question on occasion when there is confusion over the relationship between elevators and sprinklers.  The short answer is probably not.  The base requirement of ASME 17.1 (2007) Sec., which calls for fireman’s service if a sprinkler head is in the hoistway, is exempted for electric Limited Use/Limited Access (LULA) elevators by [Read More]

Using Wireless Smoke Detectors With Fire Alarm Systems

The newest development coming out of the various fire alarm manufacturers is wireless smoke detectors and control/monitor devices.  These UL 268 and UL 864 approved devices can be programmed to act like a stand alone, battery powered smoke detector with the added benefit of being supervised for proper operation and without having to replace the batteries every [Read More]

Are Sprinklers Required Above False Ceilings?

We’re not a sprinkler contractor, but we frequently coordinate sprinker installations with fire alarm installations.  Many design professionals want a single point of contact to ask life safety questions, so I get asked a lot of questions regarding sprinkler requirements.  Here’s one that I researched the answer for: Q:  Are sprinklers required above false ceilings? I have read through [Read More]

Defining Generator Testing Frequency

I recently received a question regarding emergency generator testing in a medical facility that touched on testing frequency and what defines a method of off site monitoring.  Here’s the question: My local AHJ expects my Ambulatory Surgical Center (ASC) to run the generator weekly. They utilize NFPA 1 (2012) and NFPA 72 (2010).  Both NFPA 1 in [Read More]

Fire Alarm and Emergency Voice System Testing and Inspection

In our last post, we talked about why it’s important to use a third party to test a smoke detector’s sensitivity level.  In this post, we’ll cover another area of concern: verification of outputs.  In a simple system that just activates the horn/strobes, that may seem to be an easy task.  However, there is always more than [Read More]

Testing & Inspecting Fire Alarm & Emergency Voice Systems

A fire alarm system is required to be tested regularly, the results of which are reviewed by the fire department.  When scheduling a test of a facility’s fire alarm system, property managers have a vested interest in maintaining safety compliance and limiting their liability exposure while keeping an eye on operating costs.  Operating cost reduction might seem [Read More]

Smoke Detector Testing

At Affiliated Fire Systems, we often get asked about a smoke detector’s lifespan .  Specifically, when should a building manager replace smoke detectors?  There is no hard and fast lifespan for a commercial smoke detector.  To be clear, commercial smoke detectors are connected to a fire alarm panel, not the battery operated devices you can [Read More]

High Rise Fire Safety in Chicago, Part III

In our last post on the Chicago Life Safety Ordinance, commonly referred to as the Chicago High Rise Ordinance, we looked at some of the reasons a majority of residential high rises in Chicago are not compliant with the ordinance. Let’s now look at what the owners & managers of these buildings are up against [Read More]

Fire Alarm System Testing & Inspection, Part I

Commercial fire alarm systems are a lot like referees. You really shouldn’t notice them until they are needed. How does a property owner or manager keep it that way, plus know that it will work when needed? A proper test and inspection of the system is the answer. Most municipalities require an annual test and [Read More]