Douglas Krantz - Technical Writer - Describing How It Works
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Does it Harm the Panel if There's Trouble Over a Weekend?

A fire alarm control panel that is showing trouble can have the trouble inside the box on the wall or somewhere in the rest of the building, or both


Question

Hi Douglas,

I have a question for you about Troubles, Supervisories, and Alarms. Does it harm the panel if the trouble occurs during a weekend and lasts 2 or 3 days? What if the panel goes in alarm and lasts 2 or 3 days?

Thank you, C V

The short answer to whether it harms the Fire Alarm Control Panel (FACP) panel to be in trouble for two or three days is "It Depends". This is because the word "trouble" is a whole cluster of things that could be wrong with the fire alarm system.

To start with, when the trouble shows up on the panel, the trouble could be inside the box-on-the-wall called the control panel, or the trouble could be outside the box - somewhere else in the whole building with any device or any of the wiring. Except with a loss of power (that is a trouble on the panel) where the batteries keep the system alive for only 24 hours, most troubles will not cause any further problems with the system once the system shows a trouble. (Don't count on it, the trouble may be progressing like when water slowly damages the system.)

The problem with a trouble being shown on the control panel is, if you personally don't know the absolute cause of a trouble on the panel, you personally don't know whether the trouble can be left over the weekend, or if the trouble prevents some fires from being detected or some people from being warned if there's a fire.

Many times, building owners or managers don't want to pay overtime for evening or weekend servicing on the fire alarm system. There are some times that the building isn't even accessible to be serviced. These are issues that are out of your control.

When you leave a fire alarm system in trouble, even just for a couple of days, make sure that you have documented very carefully who said you should not come, who said should go home for the weekend, or who wasn't available to let you in when the fire alarm system was not serviced. Also, indicate who you talked to about fire-walks.

Remember, with paperwork, no one reads your paperwork - unless something goes horribly wrong, like when the building burns down and no one is told about it or when someone is injured in a fire. When something goes horribly wrong, your paperwork explaining why you didn't fix the system and who you talked to about fire-walks had better be there, before anything has gone horribly wrong.

Douglas Krantz
Get help finding those Ground Faults - Buy the book "Make It Work - Hunting Ground Faults" by Douglas Krantz - Ground Fault Hunting becomes easier when you know what causes the ground fault and what is needed to "see" the ground fault.
Get help finding those Ground Faults - Buy the book "Make It Work - Hunting Ground Faults" by Douglas Krantz - Ground Fault Hunting becomes easier when you know what causes the ground fault and what is needed to "see" the ground fault.
Douglas Krantz -- Fire Alarm Engineering Technician, Electronic Designer, Electronic Technician, Writer

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Get the book Make It Work - Hunting Ground Faults
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Get the book Make It Work - Conventional Fire Alarms
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