A Guide to Commercial Fire Alarm Systems | Security Alarm A Guide to Commercial Fire Alarm Systems | Security Alarm
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Commercial Fire Alarm Systems: What You Should Know Posted on November 20, 2019 by

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If you own a hotel, convenience store, restaurant, or some other commercial building, then at some point your business fire alarm has been activated whether intentionally or by accident. We all know that fire alarms are loud. They can even feel too loud. We also know that as soon as the alarm sounds, the police and fire department aren’t far behind.

But how does that entire process work? From the time the fire system’s alarm goes off to the time the police arrive, what occurs, and why is the timeline so important?

It’s important to recognize that a majority of fire damage occurs during night time hours when no one is onsite report it. According to the NFPA, fires after hours and on the weekends accounted for 19% of all fires and 31% of all property damage.  

This figure alone makes the presence of fire detection with monitor service as part of an overall business security system incredibly significant. But how does it all work?

How Do Commercial Fire Alarm Systems Work?

You probably know why fire protection in your commercial property is necessary, so let’s take a look at how exactly the sequence of events goes.  0

1. The fire alarm is tripped.

When the sirens begin sounding, it means that a fire alarm device has been activated. It could be any number of life safety devices connected to your fire alarm system. Perhaps someone intentionally pulled a manual pull station (the little red box by most doors), or maybe a smoke detector was set off, even a heat detector.

2. An alarm signal is sent via the phone lines.

If you are set up for phone line monitoring, then a telephone line is connected to your alarm system. When a fire alarm system is tripped, as described above, the control panel sends the signal through the telephone line where it is then received by the 24-hr monitoring center.

3. Authorities are notified. 

Once the monitoring center receives the alarm signal, they then call the authorities (police, fire, etc) to let them know that they have received an alarm at that address.

4. The customer is notified.

After the authorities have been notified, the monitoring center calls the location where the alarm originated to advise that they received the signal and police and fire have been dispatched.

Phone Line Monitoring

Commercial Fire Alarm System

Above is the sequence of events that occur from the time a fire alarm is tripped to when the authorities arrive at the premise. 

Step back to #2 above. If you have phone line monitoring, your panel sends signals through the phone line. Every commercial fire alarm system according to NFPA 72 must have a dedicated POTS (plain old telephone line) line to monitor it. Meaning, the phone line connected to the fire panel should be used SOLELY for monitoring purposes and it must be a POTS line. 

If you do not have a POTS line, your security provider can help you get up to NFPA 72 code.

Cellular Monitoring

Phone line monitoring is not the only option. 

Many customers are switching to cellular monitoring. Instead of needing to pay for a separate POTS line every month (which can get expensive), most fire alarms can be set up to transmit the alarm signals via the cellular towers instead of through the phone line. 

The sequence of events laid out above remains the same, with the only difference being how the signal is sent to the monitoring center.

Discover More About Commercial Fire Alarm Systems Today

As you assess fire safety at your commercial property, remember to make contact with your local fire authorities to ensure that you are up to fire codes and regulations. Check that you have the correct number of fire extinguishers in optimal locations and that your fire suppression systems and sprinkler system meet all requirements.

Security Alarm is always available to discuss fire safety and security options for your business. We would be happy to send a technician out to take a look at your location, free of charge. 

Learn More About Commercial Fire Alarm Systems Button

What Our Customers Are Saying

Great Service, friendly people Larry and Josh were extremely knowledgeable about the products and services and answered all our questions. I highly recommend this business and the services that they provide.
Steve Sims
Steve Sims
13:18 25 Jun 20
I am a retired police officer and now professor of criminal justice. In my first career, I responded to multiple alarms throughout my career and learned how they worked and even some weaknesses in the systems. In my current career, I speak often in the classroom about alarm systems. I met Josh when our church was looking at purchasing a camera security system. I soon had him at my residence for a system. Josh or any employee did not attempt to up-sell me and addressed ideas on my camera numbers and location. When the COVID restrictions relaxed, our system was installed!The installation was very smooth, the cameras were very well placed and the inside monitor and DVR were also well placed to not be outstanding in case of a break-in. The installation guys did very well at any minor mess they made and ensured everything was clean and put back in place. The office calls and emails I have made were all answered in very polite and professional ways. The explanation of the system given was in a manner I could understand. All questions at the time were answered. I was recommended to contact the office if any questions came up in the future. The security of this camera system accompanied with my security alarm system is now a great comfort in keeping my family safe.The cellular phone viewing is also great for looking at our property when we are absent.I highly recommend this business! Great customer service. Great job!
Kenneth Ingersoll
Kenneth Ingersoll
12:07 19 Jun 20
Allendale CCSD 17 has had a terrific experience with Security Alarm in Salem, IL. We put in an Access Control System and absolutely love it. Even when we have had a few minor glitches, Security Alarm has shown up quickly to fix the problems. One of the best decisions I have made.Bob BowserSuperintendent
Bob Bowser
Bob Bowser
13:51 11 Jun 20
The technician was extremely efficient. We never have a problem with Security Alarm. If we call, they are ready to help us. Highly recommend!!
Martha Speers
Martha Speers
13:54 09 Jun 20
good service and sales they're there and helpful when you call
Wayne Pommer
Wayne Pommer
21:01 14 May 20
We have been customers of Security Alarm for 8 years at our current home. The peace of mind and ease of use are priceless. So much so that we are installing their system with some added features to our new home.We have always found every employee of this company to be helpful & straight forward.On the occasions that we have accidentally set off our alarm, it has been less than a minute before the monitoring center are calling to check in.If you are in the market for a security system, we highly recommend you give Security Alarm the opportunity to explain their system to you.
Diana Ing
Diana Ing
15:34 13 May 20
Tom Kelly offers an exceptional quality security system. The security system is very affordable. Quick and convenient installation - agreement set up on Thursday and the installation completed in one day the following Monday. Efficient Service. If you are looking for a Security System I definitely recommend contacting Tom Kelly.
Rose Ruholl
Rose Ruholl
18:19 08 May 20
Josh was very friendly and helpful. Congrats on hiring him He did a very good jobq
Dixie Graham
Dixie Graham
15:09 15 Apr 20
Security Alarm offers wonderful customer service and great technical assistance.
Emily McKinney
Emily McKinney
17:12 08 Apr 20
The Service Technician (Josh) yesterday at our church was excellent!! Also, your office lady, Dorenda, was Superb!I just recommended your service to another church here in town! Thank you again!Paul D. Gray
Paul Gray
Paul Gray
13:29 24 Mar 20
Our experience with Security Alarm has been excellent. Quick responses, attentive and competent installers and service staff. Sure makes us feel safer!
Terry Pearcy
Terry Pearcy
22:47 23 Mar 20
Each time I have had technicians out either to upgrade my system or to repair a piece of equipment they were on time, fixed the issues and were very courteous in asking if there was anything else they could do for us. I would highly recommend using Security Alarm. Thank you Aaron for doing such a thorough job yesterday!!
Greg Colombo
Greg Colombo
13:59 12 Mar 20
Tom Kelly is great.
Phill Webster
Phill Webster
03:13 07 Mar 20
The Marion office was very helpful in contacting someone for us when we were looking for information on Security Alarm systems. Larry was an easy person to talk to and seemed knowledgeable about the system. He even brought up points that we had not thought about. Larry was more than agreeable to coming back and going over what we had decided on in our previous meeting. The installation guys were respectful, clean and also very helpful. If we have any problems, everyone let us know that all we needed to do was call and someone would help us. We would definitely recommend Security Alarm as a company to consider for security services.
Richard Tretter
Richard Tretter
14:41 29 Feb 20
I work for Sharp-Hundley, P.C. and we use Security Alarm. They are very professional and their products are always efficient and of high quality. The staff is always helpful and supportive.
Debbie Stark
Debbie Stark
21:49 28 Feb 20
We had a security system installed in January of 2020. The guys that did the installation were very knowledgeable and even cleaned up where they did any drilling.I like this system because all equipment is mine and will stay with the house if it's sold. All the new owners will have to do is call for monthly monitoring.
Kelly Pierce
Kelly Pierce
19:04 14 Feb 20
Wade from Security Alarm updated the cameras on my security system, and did a great job.
Wayne Holcomb
Wayne Holcomb
20:42 23 Jan 20
Larry Ohms was so helpful with changes that needed to be made after the death of my sister. He was very kind & professional. Joy G.
Joy Gaddis
Joy Gaddis
17:36 05 Dec 19
Great customer service in person and over the phone.
Brett Allen
Brett Allen
00:40 05 Dec 19
Very impressed with the timely service, curtesy and professionalism of the installers, and the concern for the safety and happiness of the customers.Highly recommend this company. Great service and great people!!
Angela Schaeffer Knapp
Angela Schaeffer Knapp
22:24 04 Dec 19
Work was completed within a reasonable amount of time and the technician was able to field any questions I had. The system works well.
Jason Ditto
Jason Ditto
02:18 27 Nov 19
From start to finish our experience with Security Alarm has been professional and comforting. Either dealing with the sales portion or installation any and all questions were explained and answered with great knowledge, not to mention a very courteous staff. Highly recommend this company and if you are on the fence between them and another brand, give them a call and just talking with them will be enough to realize they are the place to go.
Joseph Miklos
Joseph Miklos
17:33 25 Nov 19
Security Alarm is highly recommended. Great installers and professional staff. I am very pleased with the app's and service. Installers were very professional and explained everything well.
Ginger Perry
Ginger Perry
02:38 03 Nov 19
Great service on every encounter with Security Alarm of Salem, Illinois. The latest example occurred yesterday as service manager Erin listened to my explanation of our fire alarm problem and understood the urgent need of repair. Technician Joe Morrison quickly arrived at our Cila and demonstrated why the problem was some where other than the fire alarm equipment. He explained it in a manner this old man ( me ) would understand. Many THANKS to all involved, especially Erin and Joe.
Randall Griffith
Randall Griffith
02:24 23 Oct 19
We were very impress with Mr Ohms during initial inspectionand quote. Friendly easy to talk with, answered all questions eventhe ones we didn't ask..the service tech was knowledgeable & dedicatedto presenting reliable service
dblu long
dblu long
07:55 14 Oct 19
Always helpful, had a little problem today called in and there tech helped me over the phone fix the problem , have been a customer for years & wouldn't trust anyone else for my security systems. THANKS
Dan Rainbolt
Dan Rainbolt
20:51 09 Oct 19
Thank you for sending 2 great installers to our home they were very knowledgeable and very professional in there installation of our system Your company has always been very helpful in making sure our system meets our needs. Thank you.
Eddie Dean
Eddie Dean
12:32 05 Oct 19
I am completely satisfied with the service and response to any questions or concerns that I have had with my system. The sales person who came to check our system recently was very knowledgeable on the system and helped us with their her app to arm and disarm the system. Installed some new technology which our problem. I would recommend this company to anyone needing a security system
Vicki Baker
Vicki Baker
16:55 01 Oct 19
I have been a customer of Security Alarm for several years. They installed and have maintained a burglar alarm at our residence and farm buildings. In mid-August, 2019, we had inside, electronic damage due to a lightning strike. Even with the difficulties of diagnosing/repairing our burglar alarm after lightning damage, Security Alarm stayed with the job to see the project through. When repair difficulties arose, Security Alarm sent their most-experienced alarm technician at no charge to figure out what was still wrong. After a very long Friday, Jim found the problem, made the repair, programmed the main panel, and tested every component of the alarm system. Now, everything is working correctly. I really appreciated Security Alarm's fair handling of the repair and their honesty exemplified through not charging me for unproductive time when, for whatever reason, they were not able to correctly diagnose the problem (the problem was ultimately a defective new, out-of-the-box part that they replaced). They listened to my concerns and acted accordingly.
Jason Henry
Jason Henry
23:35 29 Sep 19
I would like to say something about the Security Alarm Corporation and their employees, the techs, the office personnel, the sales people. They have all been very helpful when I have had a question concerning my system, Someone is always there to answer my question and get me headed in the right direction to correct a problem which in almost all cases, it was me that created a problem, whether not entering the correct information or just not understanding the procedure to activate or deactivate my system. The system operates as it should and does so in seconds if alarm is activated.If you are looking for a good security system, Security Alarm Corporation is the place to go.
Steve Robbs
Steve Robbs
22:29 18 Sep 19
My system was outdated, and I called Security Alarm to up date it for me since I had boughten it from them in the past. Service was extrremely fast, professional job, they were extremely friendly and were very helpful employees. I wouldn''t use any other alarm company. They are A++ in my opinion.
Dennis Shelton
Dennis Shelton
18:28 06 Sep 19
Great service! The technician Aaron W was so helpful and took all the time I needed to talk me through re-programming my Sky Bell doorbell to the Wi-Fi router after I updated my Internet service. He (Aaron) said he wanted to save the cost of a service call and he could do that by talking me through the steps to re-program. My husband and I are both extremely happy with all of our monitoring and interactions with Security Alarm and recommend them to anyone looking for a security company.
Kendra Smith
Kendra Smith
20:52 05 Sep 19
I most definitely recommend Security Alarm over any security company available in the Marion, IL region! From Larry the sales rep---to the installers (Joe and Wade?)- everyone was very detailed in explaining the cost, contracts, available services (fire, floor, security and cameras that are always recording) I HIGHLY recommend this company!
Ramsey Roye
Ramsey Roye
15:18 04 Sep 19
The initial visit with Larry the sales rep- he went over everything in detail and walked throughout my house to point out what could be used where (glass breaking vs. window alarm) They scheduled install immediately (other local company took over 2 weeks to scheduled for my grandma's house) The installers were very professional and courteous (were even sweeping up what little mess they made) I am not easily impressed but they definitely have surpassed my expectations already! Thank you to the Security Alarm team!
Julie Roye
Julie Roye
15:14 04 Sep 19
We moved to Salem Il 2 1/2 years ago. We had heard nothing but good things about Security Alarm. They worked to build the kind of system I wanted in our home. They are professional and customer care is their long suit. From Larry who sold the alarm to Daniel and Aaron Dice who worked with me, we have a trouble fee unit. What impresses me the most is that we did have issues and Security Alarm stepped up without me asking, and redesigned and upgraded our system to a much different higher quality system that would work flawlessly for our needs. All of this was at their expense. This is something you just don't find anymore. They are proactive and in our particular case, there was a better solution and they handled it with smiles. They just completed a video installation the other day at our home. If you want the best security system and the most superior service do not think twice about calling Security Alarm.
Peter MEYERS
Peter MEYERS
21:17 02 Sep 19
Security Alarm has wonderful customer service and knowledgeable technicians. They are quick to respond to any problems we have and always available to answer our questions.
Leah Fiorina
Leah Fiorina
16:13 16 Jul 19
Always great, prompt and impeccable service. I would highly recommend!
Scott Walker
Scott Walker
14:07 10 Jul 19
Wonderful company! Super nice. Easy to do business with. Something for every budget. Decent people! Can’t say enough nice things.
Tracy Johnson
Tracy Johnson
21:26 01 Jul 19
Larry who gave the quote was very cost conscious and courteous. He took time to explain all the features of the system for my mom. Living in another state he went above and beyond. Curtis the installer was very friendly, professional, he took the time to show her the system and didn't leave until she felt comfortable operating the system. Great company, family owned and you aren't put on hold. Use them if you are getting an alarm system.
Tina Phelps
Tina Phelps
22:25 11 Jun 19
Security Alarm takes care of our School's needs in a timely and professional manner. We are very satisfied with their services.
Dana Waggoner
Dana Waggoner
18:28 30 May 19
Best fire & safety company I have worked with. They do what they say they are going to do. Great Follow up & techs are knowledgeable,
hr sheevam
hr sheevam
22:05 20 May 19
Great company that offers some amazing products
Schultheis Productions
Schultheis Productions
03:25 16 May 19
We had a great experience! Everything from the beginning sales call through the final set up was friendly and efficient.
Russell Tomblin
Russell Tomblin
12:02 02 May 19
This is a GREAT company! Friendly and knowledgeable staff. Fabulous product line. They are able to customize to individual needs and budgets. They excel at developing exactly what each customer needs or wants. No sales pressures. Awesome follow-up and service! Highly recommend this company on all levels! Top of their field!
Pam Smith
Pam Smith
16:34 26 Apr 19
We have been using Security Alarm for 10 years. Their service and equipment is the best in the industry
Alan Meyer
Alan Meyer
14:19 16 Apr 19
The technicians were very thorough and explained the system to me. I highly recommend this system to anyone
Randy Sherri Clark
Randy Sherri Clark
11:16 07 Apr 19
Security Alarm has been in our home for so many years, it feels as if we started the company. Every employee has been courteous, professional, and so willing to help. I cannot imagine placing my trust in a different security company the way I have Security Alarm. Even when I have accidentally set off my alarm, they remain courteous when following through on the alarm. Not once have I heard anyone say, “Not again!” Best security company...ever.
June James
June James
03:05 20 Feb 19
As our security needs have changed over the 20 years of home ownership, Security Alarm has ably kept pace~~sales staff, installers, office professionals, and the security team have helped us stay current and stay safe.
Susan Wilson
Susan Wilson
23:40 08 Feb 19
A priority of our school district is to keep our students and staff safe. Security Alarm has made this not only possible but very convenient for us. Their knowledge of the industry keeps us up to date on building security. We have been nothing but pleased with both the alarm system as well as the video surveillance system. They have always handled our questions not only in a timely manner but with great professionalism. Thank you Security Alarm.
Robin Brooks
Robin Brooks
15:43 25 Jan 19
I am very pleased with my Security Alarm system. Installation was quick and the installers were efficient and courteous. Very quick response when there was an alarm. I have been very please with my system and support.
Mary Naegele
Mary Naegele
16:05 16 Jan 19
We had the system put in after a break in and we love it. It makes us feel so much safer knowing that we have this system. If you are going back and forth wondering if you should get something, do it! Don't wait until something happens! This will give you the security that you need. I highly recommend this business! The boys were on time and were very friendly. They even cleaned up after themselves! Dont wait, get the system that you are comfortable with!
Wendy Carlton
Wendy Carlton
22:08 15 Jan 19
We moved to Salem Il 2 1/2 years ago. We had heard nothing but good things about Security Alarm. They worked to build the kind of system I wanted in our home. They are professional and customer care is their long suit. From Larry who sold the alarm to Daniel and Aaron Dice who worked with me, we have a trouble fee unit. What impresses me the most is that we did have issues and Security Alarm stepped up without me asking, and redesigned and upgraded our system to a much different higher quality system that would work flawlessly for our needs. All of this was at their expense. This is something you just don't find anymore. They are proactive and in our particular case, there was a better solution and they handled it with smiles. They just completed a video installation the other day at our home. If you want the best security system and the most superior service do not think twice about calling Security Alarm.
Peter Meyers
Peter Meyers
16:48 30 Nov 18
We got broke into the Monday after Thanksgiving in 2015. After this my family and I did not have peace of mind until we had the security alarm installed. I priced three different companies and Security Alarm was definitely the best product and presentation. The knowledge and know how was leaps and bounds above the rest. Security Alarm then came and installed our alarm system on the day and time they said they would. The system has worked flawlessly for three years now. I would definitely recommend them for any security alarm needs. I am 100% satisfied.
Brian Van Horn
Brian Van Horn
00:02 28 Nov 18
I have multiple businesses and having security system from Security Alarm Company made my life lot easier to monitor all my employee opening and closing the stores. Added benefit was that they remotely take care of issues which reduces my service call cost. Good services and good people to work with.
Chandrakant Patel
Chandrakant Patel
12:36 17 Nov 18
We have used Security Alarm for several years and have been happy with our choice!
Mike Bottiaux
Mike Bottiaux
01:30 06 Aug 18
I love their radio ads, the guy who sounds like Kermit the frog makes me chuckle!!!
Jamey South
Jamey South
17:34 09 Jun 18
We have been using Security Alarm since we opened our first business in 1987. They have always provided outstanding service! The response time is very fast. Nice to know that they are looking out for us at our Quick Cash locations!
We utilize Security Alarm for all of our locations. I have always felt they put the customer first. Any issues that may arise they are always there to find a resolution quickly. I trust this company with our healthcare business and would recommend them for anyone looking for security or alarm services. Chris Frost VP Information TechnologyHeartland Women's Healthcare
chris frost
chris frost
17:00 20 Mar 18
Security Alarm Corporation has done an excellent job monitoring my business and parents home for nearly 30 years! I recently had them equip my home and their service is second to none! They always provide excellent and speedy customer service. I would highly recommend them!
Michael Neal
Michael Neal
14:30 08 Dec 17
I have been using Security Alarm at my home and businesses for several years. The service is always top notch. I just called and requested a certificate of installation. They sent it within 5 minutes. I love dealing and doing business locally and they make it easy to do business with them. Dorinda was who handled the certificate and I appreciate her efforts!
Wes Monken
Wes Monken
19:49 09 Aug 17
Great people to work with. Sales guys are knowledgeable about systems. I have worked on commercial projects and decided to use them for my home system. Installation went very smooth. Installation guys are detail oriented and did a great job with installation at my house. Walked me through system set up and everything works great! I would highly recommend them if you are looking for a home system installation.
Chip Fox
Chip Fox
21:56 19 May 17
We've been using security alarm for our home and business for over 15 years!!!! Need I say more???
Lynn Nicole
Lynn Nicole
06:13 30 Apr 17
Was nice to have a scheduled appointment and the company actually show up right on time, unlike many other companies! Installation was really fast and professional, they even cleaned up their mess while they were installing. Once setup was complete, walk through on how to use the system was thorough and i felt very comfortable on how to use the system. Great teamwork also! Thanks Security Alarm for all your hard work!
Talon Anderson
Talon Anderson
18:47 11 Apr 17
I have had Security Alarm for almost fifteen years and have never had a problem with them. I called to pay my bill and Dorinda provided me with a pleasant experience. I have found the entire staff to be courteous and professional at all times.
Sara Fike
Sara Fike
01:23 05 Apr 17
Accidentally set our alarm off. Got a call less than a minute later. I was very impressed with the quick response. The lady was extremely nice, helpful and understanding. It is great to know if we ever do have a real emergency we'll have help fast. Thank you Security Alarm!
Mike David Slover
Mike David Slover
23:15 14 Mar 17
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