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]

Do fire alarm strobes always have to be synchronized?

I was recently asked a question about whether two strobes had to be synchronized if they were the only two in a field of view .  The facility’s fire alarm vendor told him that if a field of vision had just two strobes in it, they did not need to be synchronized.  When he tried [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. 2.27.3.2.1(c), 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]

What Version of NFPA 72 Record of Completion is IDPH Using?

Since we service many hospitals and long term care facilities, we run into a number of different opinions on which version of the NFPA 72 Record of Completion (ROC) the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) is requiring as part of its closeout documentation.  You’ll get different answers, depending on the general contractor. Since the [Read More]

Can I Use VoIP to Replace My Fire Alarm Telephone Lines?

Utilizing the internet to send fire alarm signals to a monitoring station is a subject that confuses end users, designers and installers alike.  Many installers will just say ‘You can’t’ regardless of the equipment currently used, even though that’s usually not the case.  While it’s true that older, existing equipment probably can’t use VoIP, there are options [Read More]

New Two Hour Fire Alarm Cable Update

UPDATE: 2/19/16  I received notification from a reader regarding a new UL 2196 rated CIC cable available from Radix .  This is an 18 AWG cable that features two Oxygen-Free Bare Copper (OFBC) conductors insulated with ceramifiable silicone rubber, an aluminum/aramid shield, a 22 AWG solid TC drain wire and low smoke zero halogen FRPE red [Read More]

Are Fire Alarm Strobes Required in the City of Chicago?

The Chicago Building Code (CBC) defines which buildings are required to have fire alarm systems and is specific about how these systems are to be put together.  What comes to a surprise to those that design and/or install these systems is, among other things, what is included and not included regarding notification of an alarm [Read More]

Elevator Recall Integration with Fire Alarm Systems

What is elevator recall? When is it required? When should it be integrated with a fire alarm system? How is that accomplished? These are a few of the many questions both elevator and electrical contractors have when elevator work is performed. With the constantly changing technologies and capabilities of elevator control and fire alarm systems, [Read More]

What is Fire Alarm Audibility?

  The biggest obstacle to getting occupancy of a completed construction project is getting approval from the fire department.  Of all the items checked by the fire department inspector, the biggest concern and hardest to rectify if not compliant is the level of occupant notification in event of a fire alarm activation.  If occupants can’t [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]