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Dialer and Communicator Technology Changes: Off-Premise Signaling

Zach Nelson posted this on August 31, 2015

During the 2015 Seminar Series titled Trending Now! #FireProtection: Technologies Impacting the Future, Lee Kaiser spoke about Dialer and Communicator Technology changes. In the video excerpt below, you can watch as he explains how "Off-Premise Signaling" works. If you would like to register for the 2016 Seminar click here.


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Transcript

So, let's move on to dialer changes.  

Another feature, if we talked about detection and notification, well the notification piece that takes our emergency off premises is through the use of a dialer, and most buildings are arranged to have a dialer to send, a message to a continuously attended location and we're gonna call that a monitoring service a lot this morning but there's other names out there. Supervising station, central station, all those things are different terms for the same thing as a continuously attended location and in that continuously attended location there's someone there to see that transmission from your building and then take the appropriate action.  

Many times for an alarm that's going to be sent to send the fire department to your building, okay, and through the, the whole dispatching process.  The code says that you need to send to the monitoring service, all alarm signals, all trouble signals and supervisory signals and so when those signals are received by the monitoring service they log what time they happened, what information they have about it and then they, depending on the signal, what do they have to do, so alarms, they're gonna send the fire department but then trouble and supervisory now they're gonna look at their phone tree for that building and call, start calling people so that they can get a responsible person to know about the instance of the problem there, okay?  

You have an option to send more data than just alarm trouble and supervisory.  You can send in some systems like, hey it's the East Wing Zone, so that would be a conventional fire alarm system.  I can also, if I have an addressable fire alarm system, hey it's Conference Room A, you know,it's a smoke detector in Conference Room A or it's the 2nd floor water flow switch.  I can send all that information so that information can make it to the dispatcher of the fire department and therefore the fire department that's responding can know a little bit more about what they may be walking into,and get a better operating picture of, of what's going on in the building at that time and that's all allowed by code, but all you're really required is just alarm, to send is alarm trouble and supervisory, so that, that piece of off-premises signaling has changed inside the code and that's why we wanna talk about, it is a trend.

To send a signal off-site it takes these pieces, these three pieces.  It takes the transmitter at the building and so I've said dialer several times.  I'll say the word dact, D-A-C-T-, several times.  That's the piece inside the building and then the receiver is at the monitoring service or central station where, that's receiving signals from your building.  Those signals travel along the communications path and, now really important to know is there's two communications paths fully independent of each other that are required for every building and that's what the fire alarm code says, so from the fire alarm code, what's happened in the United States, we've all sort of standardized on POTS lines.

Who knows what a POTS line stands for?  Raise your hand?  Yep, plain old telephone service, okay?  Really creative acronym, right?  So that's become the defective, defacto standard for our buildings here in the U.S. just to have two POTS lines but everything that delivers the service over those POTS lines has changed in telecom and that's why, everything's changing for fire alarm systems, so because of those changes in 2010 and 2013 the Fire Alarm Code Making Committee made changes to the code to accommodate those things.  Now understand, it, the scope of this issue, in 2012 NFPA estimated that there was 40 million dialers using POTS line, in our buildings here in the U.S. so it's, it's a very big issue.  A lot of buildings, you know, almost all buildings with fire alarm systems are going to be affected by this.

 

This is part 1 of the Dialer and Communication Technology Changes series. Watch the other parts at the links below:

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