NFPA 72 2010 Basics

Chapter 26 of the NFPA 72 2010 standard helps define some of the acceptable communication methods for central station reporting. This is an important part of the POTS conversation because it specifies many of the alternative communication methods that can be used and are rapidly replacing POTS lines. It also clearly states that there is nothing in Chapter 26 of the 2010 standard that prohibits the use of alternative communications technology.

Here are some of the highlights of the standard:

  • NFPA 72 does allow for the use of alternate communications technology, including cellular or IP, for central station reporting.
  • The code requires that any alternate communication technology must provide a level of reliability and supervision consistent with the requirements listed in Chapter 10.
  • When using a single communication technology, the central station must annunciate a trouble within 5 minutes after loss of communication
  • When using multiple communication technologies, the central station must annunciate a trouble within 24 hours after loss of communication.

This is good news. NFPA 72 specifically allows for IP and/or cellular communication with central stations, and also ensures that our modern fire alarm systems still have the same level of reliability and supervision POTS has provided for four decades.

So what has changed for 2013?

The NFPA 72 code was updated in 2013  and impacts the use of POTS lines in a fire alarm installation as well as the supervision requirements for single or multiple path technologies.

The 2013 version of NFPA 72 code includes some changes that will impact the of primary and secondary POTS lines in an installation. If you have a primary POTS connection, and you’re under 2013 jurisdiction, you’re now required by the code to seek out alternative communication methods as a backup to the POTS Lines. This could be a one-way private radio alarm system, a two-way RF multiplex system or any transmission means that complies with NPFA 72 2013, such as IP and cellular. A secondary POTS line is not permitted for multi-path communications unless there is no cellular, IP or radio available in the area. In addition you will find that some of the supervision requirements have been changed in the 2013 edition of the code. Below you will find a summary of these changes.

  • When using a single communication technology, the central station must annunciate a trouble within 60 minutes after loss of communication
  • When using multiple communication technologies, the central station must annunciate a trouble within 6 hours after loss of communication.

Benefits to Fire Alarm Dealers

As the industry embraces IP and cellular technology, NFPA 72 is evolving with the future in mind. The 2013 code brings several benefits to fire alarm dealers in regard to single communication technology:

  • Fewer unnecessary service calls from cell tower maintenance. With the new 60-minute single path supervision requirements, dealers are less likely to have to roll a truck due to tower maintenance outages, which can sometimes last up to 20 minutes.
  • Reduced service calls resulting from random IP network outages with the new 60-minute single path supervision requirements. A normal fluctuation in IP signal previously may have required a service visit but usually would have resolved itself by the time the fire alarm dealer arrived.

As POTS slowly disappears, exciting changes are under way. Although these emerging technologies may take a little time to get used to, most dealers will find that they can save time and money by bidding farewell to POTS.

Check out our previous post for more about central station communications brought about by NFPA 72 2013.

 

About the Author
Ken Gentile is a Product Manager for Fire-Lite Alarms and Honeywell Power. Using his more than 15 years of marketing and engineering experience, Ken’s primary focus lies in the development of new products.

NFPA 72 2013 Brings Big Changes to Central Station Communications

One of the fire alarm industry’s more significant changes in recent years has been the updates to the NFPA 72 2013 code for central station communications. It is vital that fire alarm dealers understand the evolution of these requirements, which will have a significant impact on the entire industry in the coming years.

Changes in the Technology

The way fire panels communicate to a central station is undergoing significant changes in the future. For more than 40 years, plain old telephone systems (POTS) had been used for fire alarm communications. Today, analog POTS are becoming an obsolete technology and eventually will be phased out. Even the FCC says POTS is not sustainable, and AT&T agrees the technology is past its prime. The transition away from POTS technology to alternative communication methods impacts the use of the traditional digital alarm communicator transmitters (DACTs) that are widely used in most fire panels on the market today. Fire alarm dealers and installers should be aware of this shift, which will begin to impact the type of technology that can be used in new installations. It will also have an impact on existing fire alarm panel installations that currently communicate over POTS and will need to be retrofitted to an alternative form of communications.

What Code do I have to comply to?

If you have decided to move away from POTS lines and have been investigating using alternative communication for your Fire Alarm system, the best place to start is to check with your local Authority having jurisdiction to understand the local code requirements. Different jurisdictions might elect to adopt older versions of NFPA 72 while others might adopt the newest standards as soon as they are released. Understanding your local code requirements will help you select the correct technology to meet your local AHJ requirements and help you speed up the inspection process for your Fire installation. It will also help you better meet your customer’s needs while helping them save on costs by providing them with the best technology for their installations.

Later this week, we’ll take a closer look at the NFPA 72 codes that govern central station communication for Fire Alarm systems.

 

About the Author
Ken Gentile is a Product Manager for Fire-Lite Alarms and Honeywell Power. Using his more than 15 years of marketing and engineering experience, Ken’s primary focus lies in the development of new products.

Fire-Lite Alarms Training Update: SWIFT Wireless

With 2015 rapidly drawing to a close, I’ll take this opportunity to provide an update on our Fire-Lite Academies.

To date, many technicians have attended our 2-Day Fire-Lite Systems classes across the country. With the current number of registrations we’ve received for the remaining 2015 classes, we stand poised to see the total number of attendees increase by quite a bit!

Moving on to 2016, we have added 3 hours of training on our new SWIFT® Wireless System to the 2nd day of the Systems class. This session provides an overview of the system and its components and available software tool which can be instrumental in performing a Site Survey and configuring a SWIFT® Wireless system. The training culminates with a hands-on Site Survey and System Configuration lab.

Check out our NEW 2016 training schedule and look for a Fire-Lite Academy near you.

Have a wonderful and healthy holiday season. Hope to see you next year!

About the Author
Tom Rosa oversees all Fire-Lite Alarms training programs as a Training Supervisor for Honeywell Fire Systems. With more than a decade of experience as a Fire-Lite trainer and the support of a strong team of experienced, NICET-certified trainers, Tom guides the content and methods by which the company educates Fire-Lite users throughout the United States and Caribbean.

Answers to Your Fiber Optic Questions

Fiber-optic cable is used in many industries, like Telecommunications, Video, and Fire Alarm. In Fire, for example, connections are made between the fire alarm control panels via fiber to avoid the troubles associated with running copper underground between buildings.

As the use of fiber becomes more prevalent in the Fire Alarm industry, there are many questions about different fiber specifications, power budgeting, termination, and product listings. In July 2015, we answered many of those fiber questions during our webinar, Myth Busting Fiber – Part II. You may view the entire webinar by clicking here.

To learn more about fiber and solutions that utilize fiber, please visit www.firelite.com.

 

About the Author
Richard Conner is the Director of Marketing for Fire-Lite Alarms, Silent Knight and Honeywell Power. Richard joined Honeywell in 2002 and has over 15 years of experience in the fire alarm industry in Marketing, Engineering, and Product Support positions. Richard is responsible for developing brand strategy and marketing programs for all brands.

Help With the Blinkies! SWIFT Wireless LEDs Explained

SWIFT Wireless devices contain multi-colored LEDs the combination of color, blink pattern, and duration will give you the status of the device.  While these charts are included in the Gateway manual they are also included in the Help files of the SWIFT Tools software. These files can be accessed in one of two ways, from the main screen click “Learn More” or from any screen the “Help” icon.
SWIFT Wireless 1SWIFT Wireless 2

From the Help menu you can choose Gateway, Driver, or Device LEDs
SWIFT Wireless 3

Each page shows the LED pattern specific to the device the condition of the device and an action required if applicable.

SWIFT Wireless 4SWIFT Wireless 5

 

About the Author
George Goral is a NICET Level II Fire Products Application Specialist for Honeywell Fire Safety. He has 8 years of experience in technical support of fire alarm control panels including software support and the new SWIFT Wireless product line.

Wireless Technology Recognized in NFPA 72

A common question that arises regarding new technology in the fire industry is “Is it covered by NFPA 72”? In an industry that is highly regulated, there is always a concern about new technology. The quick answer for wireless fire alarm technology is YES! Wireless technology can solve installation challenges due to building construction, aesthetics, and hazardous materials. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) covers wireless in fire alarm technology in the 2007, 2010, and 2013 editions.

NFPA 72 2010 and 2013 cover wireless solutions for fire alarm in 9435s13Chapter 23.  Chapter 23.18 in the 2010 edition and Chapter 23.16 in the 2013 edition are titled “Special Requirements for Low-Power Radio (Wireless) Systems”. This chapter contains listing requirements, power supplies, alarm signals, and more; all specific for wireless systems. The Fire-Lite Alarms’ wireless solution, SWIFT Wireless, uses Class A mesh technology along with many other features for high reliability and to meet these standards.

For more information on regulatory approvals and how SWIFT Wireless complies, check out my previous blog post – “Is Wireless Held to a Higher Standard?”.

 

About the Author
Richard Conner is the Director of Marketing for Fire-Lite Alarms, Silent Knight and Honeywell Power. Richard joined Honeywell in 2002 and has over 15 years of experience in the fire alarm industry in Marketing, Engineering, and Product Support positions. Richard is responsible for developing brand strategy and marketing programs for all brands.

 

Sometimes you just can’t wait!

Although Fire-Lite strives to maintain a very short “hold” time sometimes you just can’t wait. Fire-Lite Tech Support offers a “Call Back Service” if you can’t stay on the phone waiting for a technician.

When you call Technical Support  and choose the appropriate queue to speak to a specialist on that product, you will be given the option of receiving a Call Back, while maintaining your place in the queue. When your number is up, you will automatically be called and connected with a qualified Technician ready to assist you.

You can reach Fire-Lite Technical Support Monday through Friday, 8 am to 7 pm Eastern,  at 800-627-3473.

 

About the Author
Jason Knowlton is a NICET Level II Technical Support Team Leader for Honeywell Fire Systems. He has over 12 years of experience in technical support of fire alarm systems and is the technical lead for all IP based Honeywell fire products and solutions.

 

FREE Application Support

Need help configuring your system or cross- referencing from another manufacturer, Fire-Lite Applications Support can help!

From your device count we can provide a Bill of Materials using the most common parts, providing alternatives where available, and add-ons when necessary.  We will determine how many NAC power supplies, or amplifiers are needed while maintaining the 80% load guideline, while also allowing for future expansion, and provide battery calculations.

Email your project to firelite.tech@honeywell.com and see how we can help you!

Have questions? You can reach Fire-Lite Technical Support Monday through Friday, 8 am to 7 pm Eastern,  at 800-627-3473

 

About the Author
George Goral is a NICET Level II Fire Products Application Specialist for Honeywell Fire Safety. He has 8 years of experience in technical support of fire alarm control panels including software support and the new SWIFT Wireless product line.

 

Spotlight on Software: Lite-Configurator Now Supports SWIFT™ Wireless

Lite-Configurator is an easy to use FREE program that allows you to configure a bill of materials for Fire-Lite’s addressable and conventional control panels. The Lite-Configurator tool Version 2.6.2 has been updated to include the new SWIFT™ Wireless addressable devices. In addition to SWIFT™ Wireless support, we have improved the support for low frequency by updating the B200SR-LF Low Frequency Sounder Base and the new ISO-6 Six Fault Isolator Module.

With the Lite-Configurator tool, you can:

  • Create a bill of material for addressable and conventional control panels
  • Select and edit parts from the parts catalog
  • Generate a formatted report with a customized header from your bill of materials
  • Export your bill of materials to MS Excel or MS Access
  • Create a full set of battery calculations based on your configuration
  • Print data sheets from the Bill of Materials screen.

To get started with the latest version of Lite-Configurator, click here to download the software.

Visit our website to learn more about Windows®-based software tools designed to assist Fire-Lite customers in the day-to-day business of selling and supporting fire alarm systems.

 

About the Author
George Goral is a NICET Level II Fire Products Application Specialist for Honeywell Fire Safety. He has 8 years of experience in technical support of fire alarm control panels including software support and the new SWIFT Wireless product line.

New Fiber Choice for Lite-Connect

The Fire-Lite Alarms’ Lite-Connect solution enables Fire-Lite fire alarm control panels in multiple buildings to consolidate central station communications by allowing a “main” panel to become the communicator for the complete system. The connections between the fire alarm control panels are made via fiber to avoid the troubles associated with running copper underground between buildings. To add to this innovative solution, Lite-Connect now supports 50/125um multi-mode fiber.

Now with the choice of 62.5/125um multi-mode fiber and 50/125um multi-mode fiber (LC connectors), you can meet your installation needs on top of the benefits of consolidating the central station communications to a single MS-9050UD fire alarm control panel. Lite-Connect offers:

  • Reduce Callbacks. Running wire underground to connect panels together in remote buildings is prone to ground faults and lighting strikes. Fiber-optic cable eliminates these potential issues.
  • Less Phone Lines. Save the end user money on additional phone lines, monitoring costs, and monitor modules. Whether you are monitoring individual buildings or consolidating communications with the Signaling Line Circuit (SLC) from a main panel.
  • Faster First Responder Response. If monitoring via SLC and monitor modules, Alarm, Trouble, and Supervisory are typically what is available. Lite-Connect offers zone and point information to help first responders pinpoint the location of the alarm and leads to a faster response.
  • Central Station Reporting. Easy to read Central Station reports that are generated based on the system programming for the specific project geared towards reducing installation time.

We are also pleased to share that Lite-Connect solution has earned a Campus Safety BEST Award in the Fire/Life Safety Category! For more information, feel free to view our short video or visit www.firelite.com.

 

 

About the Author
Richard Conner is the Director of Marketing for Fire-Lite Alarms, Silent Knight and Honeywell Power. Richard joined Honeywell in 2002 and has over 15 years of experience in the fire alarm industry in Marketing, Engineering, and Product Support positions. Richard is responsible for developing brand strategy and marketing programs for all brands.