Fire Alarm System Monitoring: When Is It Needed?

Fire Alarm System Monitoring, or Central Station Monitoring, is an essential and mission-critical part of any comprehensive fire protection system. When a fire alarm goes off in your building or home, a sufficient monitoring system ensures that this alarm signal is not a false alarm and is subsequently transmitted to first responders within minutes (local police, local fire department, etc.). Even if your building is unoccupied, Central Station will still contact emergency services, potentially saving tens of thousands of dollars in property damage.

The most important consideration in determining whether your building or home requires a fire alarm system monitoring is entirely dependent on the Occupancy Classification of your building. There are many national codes and laws that determine this, such as the International Building Code, your state’s Fire Code, the National Fire Protection (NFPA) 72 and 101, and most importantly, your local Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ). Luckily, Section of the NFPA-101 has all of the definitions and information that we would need, as it states that: fire alarm system required for any occupancy [shall] be equipped to transmit notification of a fire alarm or other emergency automatically…Any of the following means may be used if acceptable to the AHJ:

– Central Supervising Station

– Remote Supervising Station

– Proprietary Supervising Station

– Auxiliary System

Now, requirements may differ between new and existing, older occupancies, but the rules are essentially the same, as most AHJ’s require having a means of monitoring as a bare minimum. Below are generally the specifics from the NFPA-101 on what types of occupancies require monitoring or not:

Type of Occupancy Required Not Required Notes
Assembly Occupancy   AHJ Restrictions
Business & Mercantile Occupancy   Only requires after new installation
Educational Facility   Only requires after new installation
Daycare Facility  
Health Care Facility  
Ambulatory Health Care Facility  
Residential Board & Care Facility  
Industrial & Storage Occupancy   Only if building is occupied
Detention & Correctional Facility   Depends on security in-place
Hotels & Dormitories   Existing only require emergency phones
Lodging & Rooming Houses  –  – Not addressed
Apartment Buildings  
One/Two Family Dwellings  –  – Not addressed

As you can see, most if not all occupancies will require some form of Fire Alarm System Monitoring as it is a mission critical function of a fire alarm system in order for a fire alarm system to be most effective. There are other types of monitoring and notification services, but we’ll dive into those in another blog. For now, it’s important for you to know that can help you in any which-way to get you what you need, no matter what. Whatever help or assistance you may need regarding Central Station Monitoring, can assist you every step of the way. Simply email us at [email protected] to get started today. Until next time!’s Staff Writer

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