Did you know that there is a difference between a fire alarm system and fire alarm monitoring? There is a difference and it is important. A fire alarm system alerts everyone in the building that a fire has been detected and to evacuate the building. This usually involves local audible devices that go off when a fire is detected. However, that fire alarm system does NOT notify the fire department that there is a fire in the building. The alarms are “localized” to that building so someone in the building must call 9-1-1 in order to dispatch the fire department. Where does that leave you if that 9-1-1 call is not made? Potentially with a burned down building and possible liabilities.
You’ll often hear stories of a fire breaking out and damaging the building beyond repair or completely destroying the building. In some of these cases, the buildings only have a fire alarm system and not a fire alarm monitoring service in place. Residents or tenants of buildings have no way of knowing if the building system is monitored and the call to 9-1-1 can potentially be delayed, or even worse – never made. In the case of a fire, a matter of minutes could make the difference between a building being destroyed or saved.
Fire alarm monitoring is an additional service that must be set-up for the building. Your fire alarm system has a communication module that allows you to send signals to a Call Center when a fire occurs. When the fire alarm system goes off, the fire monitoring panel will immediately send a signal to the Call Center (sometimes called a monitoring station). An operator will then dispatch the appropriate Fire Department to the building.
Cities and municipalities require that any occupied commercial and multi-tenant residential buildings must have both a fire alarm system and fire alarm monitoring by a ULC-listed alarm company. Older buildings may be grandfathered in, not requiring them to have fire alarm monitoring. However, for the protection of the building and its residents, it is best to have a secured fire alarm monitoring service set in place. This will help save lives and protect the building.
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