Douglas Krantz - Technical Writer - Describing How It Works

Can the Building's Fire Alarm Panel Activate the Release Panel?

By Douglas Krantz | Suppression

Can the Building's Fire Alarm Panel Activate the Release Panel?


Can the Building's Fire Alarm Panel Activate the Release Panel?


Greetings Douglas

I have an addressable building fire alarm system. I would like to program a small number of heat detectors on the building's fire alarm panel to activate a relay, and tie that relay to an open zone on an existing release panel. This is for the purpose of sprinkler pre-action.

Is that allowed?

Thank You CP

The NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) doesn't list specific fire alarm and control panels to be usable with each other. Instead, the NFPA says that all equipment used in a fire alarm system has to be on the "List" of testing laboratories like UL, ULC, FM, CE, CCC, etc. as being usable for its intended purpose.

It's the testing laboratories that have tested the system and determine if the building's output relay can be used to activate the release panel.

To find out, the people to ask are the people that have paid for this "Listing": the manufacturer's technical support team for the building's fire alarm system.

Call the technical support team for the building's fire alarm system and explain what you want to do. Also, call the technical support team for the release panel. Both panels are listed for use, find out what is included in the "use" of the panels.

When you call them, make sure you can tell each of them them:
  • The exact model of the building's fire alarm system and the exact model of the release panel

  • How the output relay being used to activate the release panel will be programmed

You probably can get away with the interconnecting the panels, but you have to talk to technical support for both manufacturers to find out for sure.

You may also have to talk to the fire marshal. The fire marshal is an Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) and may have more stringent requirements that the testing laboratories or the NFPA. The fire marshal can impose more limits on what can be done.

Caution: The two panels will be interconnected, so if there's a problem with the building's fire alarm system, the release panel may be activated.

There's a possibility, also, that when the building's control panel is reprogrammed in the future, a momentary glitch at that time may activate the release panel. The glitch doesn't have to be longer than a quarter of a second to activate the release panel. I've seen this as a regular problem on a big addressable fire alarm system, so I know this kind of thing can happen. Between the mechanical action of the suppression system and the electrical signals of the fire alarm system, the alarm or supervisory switch assembly is an interface. If the ohmmeter says that the NC and Comm contacts on the switch are shorted together when the fire suppression system is in alarm or supervisory, it's the NC and Comm contacts that I land the wires on.





Douglas Krantz

facpdoug@douglaskrantz.com
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