Phoenix Pacific

Fire Alarm Monitoring: When Is It Required in a Building?

Guidance for Building Owners and Property Managers

Fire alarm monitoring services are an essential technology in calling first responders to fire incidents. As we covered in our previous fire alarm monitoring blog, this technology, in combination with fire alarm systems, allows for the prompt containment of fires and the protection of occupants and property from the devastating impact of fire emergencies. 

For this reason, fire alarm monitoring is required in many types of buildings across the country. But how can you know if your building is one of them? Keep reading our blog to find out when fire alarm monitoring becomes a mandatory requirement for buildings in Hawaii and Guam. 

SEE ALSO: The Top Trends in Commercial Fire Alarm Technology 

Guidance on answering this question comes from the International Building Code (IBC), and especially from NFPA 101 Section (which is often incorporated into local fire codes).  Through all of the regulatory terminology, the most important factor that emerges in determining whether a building requires fire alarm monitoring is the Occupancy Classification of the building.  There are several classifications and there is a difference between a new building and existing building as well.  Here are brief explanations for some of the more common occupancies:

Education Institutions: New educational institutions must always employ fire alarm monitoring.  Existing facilities may continue to call first responders on their own until it comes time for a fire alarm system replacement. From that point, the owner must install technology that includes monitoring capabilities.

Residential Buildings: If the building provides sleeping accommodations for more than 16 residents, then it must have fire alarm monitoring service regardless of whether the building is new or existing.

Storage or Industrial Occupancies: Generally speaking, if the facility is an unoccupied building, then monitoring service is not required.  However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t play it safe and protect your property along with its contents.

Healthcare Facilities: All facilities, new and existing, must have fire alarm monitoring service.

Assembly Buildings: If the occupant load exceeds 300 people, the building must have monitoring service.

Hotels and Dormitories: All facilities, new and existing, must have fire alarm monitoring service.

On another note, many insurance companies will require or provide a discount if fire alarm monitoring service is part of the building’s preventive maintenance plan. Considering the low cost of monthly monitoring this cost may be offset by the insurance company in the same cases.

Fire alarm monitoring is a critical safety feature for many buildings, required not just by the potential for property damage but by the invaluable protection it offers to human life. If you want to take a more proactive approach to your building’s safety measures, contact the team at Phoenix Pacific for a no-obligation consultation. 

We look forward to working with you!