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What is fire alarm monitoring?

| Fire Alarm Monitoring |
Fire alarm monitoring, at first glance, might appear to be a duplication of effort. Why monitor something which makes a loud noise? Surely that’s the point of the alarm? You’d be forgiven for falling into this trap and assuming that fire alarm monitoring is only for super – large, super – rich organisations with money to burn (excuse the pun).

Let’s take a look at the real value of fire alarm monitoring and why it might be perfect for your business.

Is a fire alarm alone enough to protect people and property?

Thousands of buildings across the UK have fire alarms installed. With people and valuable assets to protect as well as business continuity, a fire presents a serious and inconvenient headache. Your business will almost certainly grind to a halt while you deal with the fallout (and many businesses fail to restart following a fire). Should the unthinkable happen and there is loss of life, your problems will only intensify.
Certainly, a fire detection and alarm system is the ideal way to protect your building as long as someone is there to hear the alarm. During working hours, this means that when the alarm sounds, someone in the building is alerted to call the emergency services promptly and hopefully (if other fire protection systems are fully functional), the fire is contained and extinguished before too much damage is done.

But what happens outside of working hours? Or for premises which are routinely left empty during the day? Regardless of how well maintained that fire alarm system is, if it’s unmonitored, and your building is empty overnight and for longer periods at weekends and during holidays, you are potentially exposed.

What is fire alarm monitoring?

For a rapid response to fire, day or night, fire alarm monitoring should be your first choice. So, how does it work?

When you subscribe to a fire alarm monitoring service, we connect your existing fire detection system to an alarm receiving centre, also known as an ARC. At the ARC, a real – life operator is on standby, 24/7, to verify that any alarms are real (thus reducing the unnecessary expense of a false alarm). Once verified, the operator will call the emergency services – all within seconds of a heat or smoke detector triggering a sounder device.

For any building which is unattended at periods of the day or night, this could be the difference between complete ruination and a minor incident which requires a clean – up effort the following day.

Ten reasons why you should consider a fire alarm monitoring service

  1. Insurance companies love a fire alarm monitoring service!
  2. Peace of mind all year round, even when you’re on holiday
  3. Fast and easy to install
  4. Can be integrated with existing alarm systems
  5. Low-cost method of protecting valuable business assets
  6. Guarantees emergency services are called out-of-hours
  7. Less chance of business disruption following a fire
  8. Protect people on your premises 24/7
  9. Never need to rely on someone to raise the alarm
  10. Reduce costs of unnecessary call-outs

How much does fire alarm monitoring cost?

A more relevant question is, can you afford to rebuild your business after a fire?

Arson attacks, especially on unoccupied premises, are not uncommon and can be caused by something as innocuous as bored teens.

If your building is unoccupied when fire breaks out and you don’t have a monitoring service, what other defences do you have in position? Fire alarm monitoring is the only way to communicate with the emergency services and fully protect your premises and your business around the clock. When you consider what’s at stake, the cost of fire alarm monitoring is insignificant compared to the cost of losing your business.

Fire alarm monitoring services

We work with the UK’s largest supplier of independent monitoring, Southern Monitoring. The NSI, recognised as the leading certification body for the security and fire protection industries in the UK, has set its own standards for monitoring response times – and Southern Monitoring exceed them, time after time.

Their monitoring technology is scalable, making it ideal for businesses of all sizes. You can benefit from single alarm monitoring if you’re a small business, or from more complex integrated services combining several alarms and control panels if you’re a larger business.

In certain categories of building, you are advised to provide back-up fire alarm monitoring services. For example, if you’re responsible for a residential care home, BS 5839 states that ‘facilities should be provided for automatic transmission of alarm signals to an alarm receiving centre.’ BS 5839 also extends to buildings which aren’t continuously occupied (where a category P fire alarm system is installed) and non-domestic premises in multiple occupation(with a category L system).

In the event of a power failure, you needn’t worry. We use dual path monitoring systems which means the ARC is connected via two routes, usually a landline telephone and a mobile phone network (3G or 4G). If the landline is compromised by a power failure, the ARC is still notified of the alarm.

We think that fire alarm monitoring makes sense and we hope after reading this blog, so do you. To find out more about how we can tailor our services to your business, please get in touchtoday.

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