Most people are familiar with standard smoke and fire alarms—these make a sound loud enough to alert anyone in the building to the presence of a fire. This alert gives people a signal to begin the next steps: exit the building and call the local fire department. These systems have been standard for many years but have been upgraded more recently to include fire alarm monitoring for a more comprehensive system.
Fire alarm monitoring is often available with modern fire alarm systems. It sends a signal to an Underwriters Laboratory (UL) listed Central Station in order to speed up the response by local firefighters.
What are the benefits?
Since fire alarm monitoring automatically alerts a Central Station that notifies your local fire department upon confirmation of a fire requiring intervention, its most important benefit is the time it saves.
Some buildings, especially modern homes, can be consumed by flames in a matter of minutes. For most modern homes, anyone inside only has two minutes to escape before the fire spreads significantly and traps them inside. Saving every second possible will potentially save your home and possibly even your life.
For businesses and other commercial buildings, fire alarm monitoring just makes sense. These facilities might have a lot of people inside, or their employees may not know the proper procedure during a fire. Panicked patrons and employees will struggle to egress safely, and in these situations, it is common for large groups to assume someone has already called the authorities. When this happens, it often results in no one calling, making it take even longer for the local fire department to arrive, put out the fire, and help anyone who has become trapped in the building.
Is it required by law?
Fire alarm monitoring is not required by law, so choosing not to install it won’t get you in legal trouble. That said, it’s a good idea to carefully weigh the benefits and consider whether they’re worth it for you. It may not be required, but it’s a significant step up from a standard fire alarm without monitoring.
Who should have it?
It would be great if fire alarm monitoring were installed in as many buildings as possible, whether commercial or residential. Everyone can benefit from these systems and what they have to offer in terms of fire safety. The time they save can make a huge difference in how destructive the fire is, potentially saving both property and human lives.
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