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How fire alarm monitoring works

Fire Alarm Systems Buyer's Guide

When one or more of your fire alarm system devices sends a warning message to the fire alarm control panel (FACP), the panel reacts by transmitting a signal via a dedicated phone line to the alarm receiving centre (ARC). The ARC notes the signals unique reference number (see Fire alarm system regulations) and contacts the Fire and Rescue Service. The ARC also keeps a record of the incident for any subsequent review.

Consequently, your ARC must be reliable and responsive at all times. When you contact a range of fire alarm system suppliers, ask whether the suppliers use their own ARCs or contract the service to a third party. If they use a third party, request contact details and ask the ARC for their response statistics. Suppliers who use their own ARCs should give you their statistics as a matter of course.

Whoever runs the ARC, check for certification. This gives you confidence that the ARC meets the highest professional standards.

Finally, check that your phone connection from the FACP to the ARC will be backed up with something like a VOIP (voice over Internet protocol) line.

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