Remote fire alarm monitoring

March 2016 Fire & Safety

For a fire alarm system to give the maximum benefit, the fire brigade service needs to be summoned as quickly as possible on every alarm, unless, in order to avoid false alarms being passed to the fire brigade, appropriate filtering arrangements are put in place.

One method could include evaluation of the fire alarm condition by personnel on-site before the fire brigade is called or alternatively by an independent alarm receiving centre that can verify the alarm condition on-site, remotely.

The need for off-site or remote fire alarm monitoring in South Africa is critical because

• Installed fire alarm systems are generally not managed on site by trained and reliable personnel who often do not know what to do in the event of a fire alarm.

• Fire alarm system may be locked in a building after hours and is not easily accessible to verify a fire alarm condition.

In view of the above, Modular has implemented an alarm receiving centre as envisaged by the SANS regulation in order to communicate with remote sites automatically in the event of a fire alarm condition and to initiate the correct response from local fire and emergency personnel.

The reliability of the means for communicating the fire alarm signal to Modular’s control room always needs to be subject to consideration of the risk. Methods for automatic transmission of fire alarms to the control room falls into various categories from the remote site:

1. Via Modular’s GTX GSM communicator on a managed APN with dual SIMM service.

2. Via Telkom where sites are connected through an ADSL VPN.

3. Via an Internet connection.

4. Via a combination of two or more of the above communications methods which leverages communication redundancy as well as facilitation of computer graphics of the site layout at the remote alarm receiving centre.

Modular has constructed its control room based on the guidelines of the SAIDSA bylaw 6 as well as the requirements of SANS 10139 and BS 5979.

In addition to the remote monitoring of fire system, Modular’s control room can also monitor and report on fault conditions and manage a service contract to ensure faults are reported and repaired timeously. In addition modular can enforce and monitor on-site client routine testing in compliance with the SANS regulation.

With the GTX GSM remote communicator, it is also possible for Modular to monitor other critical services like:

• Status of server room gas extinguishing systems.

• Critical machine and production processes.

• Conventional and addressable third-party fire alarm systems.

• Remote radio tower systems.

• Wind turbine generators.

• Water tank levels, pump systems and flow switches for sprinkler systems.

• And many other application where monitoring is required for critical processes.

For more information contact Modular Communications SA, +27 (0)83 456 9542,,


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