With more sophisticated telecommunications systems, traditional methods for transmitting fire alarm signals to local fire departments have changed. Additionally, fire alarm system technologies are influencing decisions in monitoring health care facilities.

According to the 2012 Life Safety Code®, Section 18/ for health care occupancies, and Section 20/ for ambulatory care occupancies, compliance with section 9.6.4 regarding fire department notification is required. Section requires that the fire alarm signal be sent to the local fire department through the auxiliary fire alarm system, central station fire alarm system, proprietary supervising station fire alarm system or remote supervising station fire alarm system. Two types of these supervising station systems are: 

  • A central station fire alarm system (NFPA 72-2010: is a system or group of systems in which the operations of circuits and devices are transmitted automatically to, recorded in, maintained by and supervised from a UL-listed (827) central station. Upon receipt of a signal, the components and experienced servers and operators take action required by the code. Such service is controlled and operated by an entity whose business is furnishing, maintaining or monitoring supervised fire alarm systems. Considerations include NFPA 72-2010:, and 
  • A proprietary supervising station fire alarm system (NFPA 72-2010: is a fire alarm system installation at contiguous and noncontiguous properties, under one owner, from a proprietary supervising station located at the property, or at one of multiple noncontiguous properties, where trained personnel are in constant attendance. This includes the proprietary supervising stations; power supplies; signal initiating devices; initiating device circuits; signal notification appliances; equipment for the visual recording of such signals; and equipment for initiating emergency building control services. Considerations include NFPA 72-2010: 26.4.1; and Joint Commission facilities look to LS.02.01.34, EP 1-7.

ASHE members can access a new tool for more information. 

Scott Mason, CHOP, HCC, director of business development at Facility Health Inc., Belmont, Mich.