Warning if your alarm is going off, Call the FIRE DEPARTMENT FIRST!!!!
After and only after the fire department or a qualified person has verified that you do not actually have a life safety situation should you continue on this page.
DON’T PUSH RESET YET
First you need to stop the horns, and strobes if they are still going.
- Locate the switch or button inside the panel, or at your keypad that is labeled silence.
- Press or activate this button. (If your horns do not stop, go to the next step.) If they did stop click here.
- Check to see if your display is asking for a code, if so enter the appropriate code or find someone who has the code for the system.
- If your silence light is flashing, then you might need to locate a button labeled acknowledge, and press it as many times as necessary until the silence light quits flashing and goes solid.
- Press the silence button again and if this stops the horns click here, if it did not stop the horns, please call us and we will try to help you with your situation.
Identifying the alarm in the system.
- If your system has an LCD display (a miniature screen with words in it) continue. If your system has LED lights, (red, yellow, or green lights) then you need to click here.
- On your LCD display, read carefully what it says, because it will give you instruction telling you what you need to do to identify what is in alarm. Your display should look something like the one shown below.
3. Follow the instructions on the display, and this will help you find out what is in alarm. The description should give you the following information.
- Device Type. There are many different device types in an alarm system, here are the most common examples.
- Smoke Detector --- Self explanatory.
- MFA, or Pull Station --- These are the red boxes on the wall at exits of the building, at stairwell entrances, or elevator lobbies of upper floors that have in writing on them the words “Fire Push here Pull Here”
- Water Flow --- This means the building sprinkler system. If you see this message, there is a very strong possibility that water is pouring out of a building sprinkler head somewhere in the facility. No if one goes off they don’t all go off, that only happens in the movies.
- Duct Smoke Detector --- These are smoke detectors that are mounted in the air conditioning units of the building. These have a high tendency to false alarm especially if the buildings air conditioning systems filters are not changed or cleaned regularly.
- Heat Detector --- Device that looks like a smoke detector, but operates by detecting a certain level of heat, or a sudden rise in temperature. These are not considered life safety devices by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).
In your display it should tell you what the device type is and a location of the device that is in alarm. Note: Due to limited space for device locations some of the words might be abbreviated. For example you might see, elect. for electrical, or mech. for mechanical, etc.
Your display should read something like this:
Alarm: Man Pull
2nd Flr. by
Elect. Room 205
This would mean that a manual pull station has been activated on the second floor by electrical room with door label “electrical room 205”.
Now you should know what is in alarm, and approximately where the alarm that has activated is located. If it displays information you don’t understand, it may not have been programmed correctly. Call us and we will try to find a qualified alarm company in your area to help resolve your issue. Before you reset your alarm, you will need to remedy the problem that has caused the alarm. Follow the steps below to identify the device in alarm, and correct the problem before you reset the system.
Identifying, and Correcting Alarms:
- Smoke Detector/s in alarm. Smoke detectors are equipped with a red light that can be seen when standing under the smoke detector looking up at it. When a smoke detector is not in alarm this light should blink about every 15 to 30 seconds indicating that the smoke detector is operational. If the smoke detector is in alarm the light will be on steady “red”. After you have located the smoke detector that is in alarm, you need to try to determine what may have caused the device to go into alarm. Was anyone painting in the area? Was a cleaning crew sweeping, vacuuming, dusting, etc. in the area of the device? Does the ceiling around the device look as though there might be a water leak above it IE. stained ceiling or dripping water? Have you noticed if your building has an insect problem, are there sweets, sodas, or food stored in the vicinity of the device? Sugar ants are small enough to get into smoke detectors and affect the operational electronics of these devices. Is the device located near an entrance to the building? In your LCD display you might have an indicator as to the type of smoke detector --- smoke-photo, or smoke-ion. Ion smoke detectors see changes in particles, without getting to technical we have found that when these devices are placed near entrances of buildings if there is a rapid change in the weather condition outdoors, this can potentially cause false alarms in ION smoke detectors. If after eliminating all of the possible causes you can find no reason the device has been triggered, you can try the following to correct the alarm.
Manual Pull Station in alarm. These devices are designed so that when activated you need a tool or a key to reset the device. When activated the handle that says pull will be in the down position making it visually obvious that the device has been activated. Sometimes the device actually looks broken when activated. To reset these devices do the following:
- Purchase or locate electronics dusting spray. Do not use types that are aerosol as this may damage the smoke detector. Make sure it says for all types of electronics. Do not use portable air compressors because they may introduce moisture into the device. Keep the spray can upright, and about 12 to 15 inches from the device, and irrigate the device with the air thoroughly to remove any dust or debris from the device. Another method is to use a vacuum cleaner with a hose and extensions and go around the device to remove any dust or debris that might have contaminated it.
- After you feel you have cleaned the device thoroughly, you can now proceed to the main fire control panel and activate the system reset button or switch. Stand near the panel for several minutes because the alarm may return. If the alarm returns contact us and we will locate a qualified alarm company in your area to help resolve your issue.
Water Flow Alarm. This is a device that monitors the buildings sprinkler system. If you see this alarm in your display you have a serious problem and possibly water pouring out into the building somewhere. The fire department will most likely turn off the buildings sprinkler system if there is not an actual fire, and you will have some serious cleanup to perform. If your sprinkler system has not actually gone off, call us and we will locate a qualified alarm company in your area to help solve your issue. Freezing temperatures can sometimes cause the sprinkler pipes to burst in which case you would need a fire sprinkler contractor to make necessary repairs to your sprinkler system.
Duct Smoke Detector alarm. These devices are typically located in areas that are very difficult to access and will require an alarm technician to clean or replace the device. Contact us and we will locate a qualified alarm company in your area to help resolve your issue.
Heat Detector Alarm. First you need to locate the device that has gone into alarm. Once this has been done check the device to see if it has a red indicator light that is on solid. If it does, good news this one can be reset. If the fire department has determined that there is not a viable fire danger in the building then all you have to to is return to the main control panel and activate the system reset button or switch. Stand near the panel for several minutes because the alarm may return. If the device does not have a red light on it then it is probably what we call a one shot device. This means that once the device has activated it will need to be replaced. Contact us and we will locate a qualified alarm company in your area to help resolve your issue.
- Look at the Top front and or sides of the device, and you will notice a spot for a key, or a hole. If the device requires a key, you can try the key in the door of the fire control panel most times this one is the same, if not, look in the bottom of the main control panel around the batteries, or on top of the panel for extra keys. You can also look in these places for the reset tool it will normally be an alan wrench.
- If your device takes a key, insert the key and open the device, and push the handle back to its normal position, some brands will automatically pop back into place when opened. Now close the device, relock, and remove the key.
- If your device takes a tool then you will need to insert the tool and turn it counter clockwise (to the left until the device pops open). Once open push the handle back into position if it does not go back into position automatically. Now close the device and insert the tool and turn to the right. Warning do not over tighten the device this can create unseen damage that may require device replacement.
- Check other pull stations in the building that have not been activated to see how they look in their normal state, then verify that the one you have reset looks as the others do in their normal position. Now your can return to the main control panel and activate the system reset button or switch. Stand near the panel for several minutes because the alarm may return. If the alarm returns check the device again to see if it was reset properly, or contact us and we will locate a qualified alarm company in your area to help resolve your issue.
Conventional Fire Alarm Systems.
These systems use older technology, and are more difficult to determine what device is in alarm. Use these instructions to help determine what is causing your system to go into alarm.
- First use the silence switch to stop the horns if you haven’t already. Do not activate the reset switch yet.
- Inside your panel, you should have a series of boards with lights on the front of them. Some have red lights, some have yellow lights, some have both. If your alarm horns went off then there should be at least one board with a red light on.
- Locate the board with the red light that is lit, and look on that board and there should be a label, that indicates what that board is associated with. IE: 2nd Flr West Smokes, or 3rd Flr pull station. This label will get you into the vicinity of the device that is in alarm. Note: Sometimes systems of this type will have numerous devices on a single “zone”. This means you could have 18 smoke detectors on the west end of the 3rd floor on that particular board.
- After locating the board in alarm, you should have an idea of the device type that is in alarm, and you can continue with the device correction section of this page. Just remember you may have to look at many devices before you find the one that is activated. Now click here.
If you have not found a resolution to your problem here, please don’t hesitate to contact us and we will do everything in our power to help you with these or any other issues you may be experiencing concerning your buildings fire alarm system.