Monitored automatic alarms

Automatic fire alarm systems usually play an important role in fire protection in case of fire. These systems can be as complicated as they are important. The main goal of an automatic fire alarm system is to detect a fire early enough to inform the building owners of an emergency and also inform the emergency services.

So Who can Isolate a Fire Panel in Victoria

So let’s answer this question before we have a look at the purpose and use of fire alarm systems in buildings.

The Fire Authority Acts were changed about a decade ago when firefighters found that occupant sometimes panicked or maliciously reset fire indicator panels prior to their arrival at an alarm.

Such actions were against the objectives of the Fire Authorities and  Australian Standard 3745 which was implemented to ensure occupants in facilities were provided a relatively safe environment in emergencies.

The following is the section from the Country Fire Authority Act. Other fire services acts within Victoria also reflect this offence:

It is now an offence in Victoria to reset a FIP, if the FIP detects a fire (or simulated condition) and sounds an alarm, unless you have the consent of the fire services or a reasonable excuse (Section 75B(4) MFB Act - Section 106A(4) CFA Act). You may be liable for a fine of up to 60 penalty units (In 2013/14 financial year - $8,661.60).

So to briefly describe the requirements. Once an alarm of fire has been transmitted to the Fire Authorities no person accept a firefighter, who is representing the respective Chief Officer, may reset or alter the Fire Indicator Panel.

Purpose of Fire Indicator panels

A monitored automatic alarm system refers to a fire alarm system that automatically transmits a signal to the fire department through a monitoring provider. A monitored automatic alarm system can be fully monitored or partially monitored. The sprinkler system is installed but the smoke alarm system is not connected.

A monitored system is not the same as a local fire alarm system which can trigger an audible alarm on-site and the alarm will be displayed on the local fire indicator panel though the alarm will not send signals to the fire department.

Why are you installed?

The main function of an automatic alarm is to notify the firefighters immediately so that they can carry out firefighting operations, including such as life protection and protecting environment and property, reducing the damage from fire and other dangerous materials, therefore, saving time, money and cost.

Most automatic alarms are part of the fundamental safety measures of a building and must be operational all the time as per the building’s usage permit or so that they can serve their purpose if there is no use permit.

How a typical system works

A building with automatic alarm systems must have some detectors which are activated under particular conditions. They are built in a manner that they can detect situations of fire or other dangers but are activated in similar circumstances. For example, a smoke detector is activated when dust or steam is present, and a false alarm is triggered.

The small detector groups are connected as separate circuits or zones in the fire panel. For more complex systems, other sprinklers or panels can be connected to the fire indicator panel. Every component is connected as a separate input to the alarm signalling equipment.

Maintenance of fire alarm systems.

Current fire alarm systems are complicated and must be maintained by a known fire protection company with relevant experience in this field. An automatic fire alarm system must be designed, installed and maintained following the requirements of relevant standards of Victoria. Additional maintenance is often required in some environments to avoid unwanted false alarms.

The system must be constantly monitored and the signal automatically sent to the fire department. The Local Alarm Signaling signals are routed to a monitoring company, which then forwards the message to the dispatch centre for action. All this process should take less than 20 seconds.

At activation time, the alarm signalling equipment will send a signal through the monitoring provider to the Emergency Services Telecommunications Authority as the dispatch centre, and firefighters will be dispatched in compliance with the requirements of the site for participation.

Knowing your fire alarm system is vital to the proper management of your property. All buildings with monitored automatic alarms must be managed by individuals who are conversant with the operation of the system and poses the knowledge to separate individual circuits. Your fire contractor can provide additional information about your system.


Fire alarm control panel

This is the center of the fire alarm system. The fire panel monitors the activation devices and then activates notification tools when an alarm signal is communicated. The size of these panels varies from a single area to several buildings.

Starting devices

The initiating devices detect an emergency and send signals to the fire alarm control panel. These can be activated manually and also automatically in case of smoke, heat or flames. When one of these activation devices is activated, the control panel changes to an alarm state.

Another initiating device is a sprinkler valve tamper. Instead of activating an alarm state, the control panel changes to a supervisory state when a sprinkler valve is in the off-normal state. This signal shows that an action is required within the system components rather than an instant fire emergency.

Notification devices

When the control panel gets a signal from the activation device and enters an alarm state, the control panel initiates output devices that show to the building users that an emergency situation exists. These include bells, speakers, horns, strobes, chimes and flashing lights that indicate acoustically or visually that it is an emergency fire.

Some other panel output includes the notification of rescue services. This is usually done by a signal to a central monitoring station. The monitoring centre calls the first responders, who in return send them to the emergency scene.

Finally, there are output devices that turn off equipment such as HVAC systems to avoid smoke spread, activate automatic suppression systems, such as pre-stage sprinkler systems.


Fire alarm monitoring

Monitoring fire alarms and maintenance are essential to protecting your employees and valuables. Whether you own an industrial or commercial site or a smaller business, we can customize a fire alarm monitoring solution for your facilities and locations that meets standards of Victoria.

1. Certified monitoring

Fire alarms must be connected via a certified automatic fire alarm service provider.

2. Protected for 24 hours

It is essential to inform emergency services within seconds of fire detection. Your automated fire detection system communicates to our modern monitoring centre, leaving you in peace around the clock.

3. Professional services

Our operators are well trained in fire detection procedures and customers can contact our fire department technicians if they have any questions. We can also keep you up to date via e-mail, SMS or phone and provide regular activity reports.

4. Intelligent information

Although the primary purpose of the Alarm Signaling Equipment is to send an alarm signal, the alarm signalling equipment can detect non-fire signal events associated with its fire panel and alert it to future problems, including:

• Power and / or battery failure

• Pump faults

• Low pressures of the system

• Tank levels

• Interference and isolation of the circuit/device.

• Manipulation of the system.

5. False alarm management

The state fire authorities have imposed heavy penalties on items that cause false alarms due to poor work practices or inadequate maintenance of the fire extinguisher system.


Monitored security systems are actively monitored by an expert home security firm. If the system detects fire or another emergency, it notifies the security department and the emergency responders.

Main Fire Warden Post – Click here.

By Ken Walker

Hi, I'm Ken. I am the owner and senior director of Syncretic training Group Pty Ltd. If you have any questions about the website content or require guidance please let us know we are always happy to help.

Leave a Reply