Latest technologies, installation and troubleshooting tips, and codes and standards relevant to fire/life safety.
Latest column posts
Voltage drop is critical to the proper operation of devices attached to a fire alarm system. Nowhere is this as true as with notification appliance circuits (NACs) that connect to a fire alarm control panel. Seven steps show how to do the calculations.
July 14, 2011
Combination fire-intrusion alarm systems are a viable life-safety and security solution, providing they adhere to NFPA guidelines. Key considerations include nothing impeding the fire detection function and that it also supercedes security alarm signaling.
June 22, 2011
Backed with the mandates set forth by codes and bolstered with new technologies, the fire/life-safety market offers robust sales opportunities. Success is predicated on deriving necessary state and local credentials, and knowing the local building authority’s requirements and procedures ...
By Al Colombo · May 15, 2011
Proper fire detection is essential not only for life safety but also to avoid false alarms or system malfunctions that could cost the business a bundle. In particular, this holds true for financial institutions ...
By Al Colombo · March 20, 2011
Though not as quick to migrate to IT network signal transmission as other systems installed by security contractors, fire/life safety is nevertheless following suit. Find out the latest technology and code developments in this emerging area.
By Al Colombo · February 13, 2011
Maintaining power is one of the foundations of any fire/life-safety system. Find out the codes, standards and calculations you need to know to make sure batteries deliver when needed.
By Al Colombo · January 11, 2011
A Q&A session addresses code compliance challenges associated with projected beam smoke detectors, annunciators and keypads.
By Al Colombo · December 06, 2010
Al Colombo addresses comments prompted by the September's column, "Finding Faults in Fire Systems."
By Al Colombo · October 31, 2010
Al Colombo discusses the simple -- yet vital -- steps to better ladder safety.
By Al Colombo · September 28, 2010
Of all the troubles that fire alarm technicians are likely to encounter, ground-faults are one of the most difficult to locate and fix. When a ground-fault does occur in a fire alarm system, any number of things can take place.
August 31, 2010
An important part of what makes fire/life-safety systems easy to sell is that municipal and county governments, by way of sanctioned building departments and knowledgeable inspectors, have established laws or ordinances mandating their installation and maintenance ...
By Al Colombo · August 05, 2010
Fire alarm installation entails more than merely placing smoke detectors in strategic areas of a building. Technicians are often required to interface fire alarm systems with other building subsystems.
June 30, 2010
Veteran installers will undoubtedly remember when fire alarm panels worked almost exclusively by relay technology. As technicians, we encounter relays every day in the field on alarm panel motherboards, smoke detectors, addressable heat sensors and a host of other devices.
May 31, 2010
On April 8, the FCC issued a public statement in the form of a document titled, FCC Announces Broadband Action Agenda, that in essence says whether anyone likes it or not we’re going to phase out plain old telephone service (POTS), also known as the public switched telephone network (PSTN) and in its place create an IP-switched national infrastructure.
April 30, 2010
This past December, the FCC began a legal process that if successful will lead to the demise of plain old telephone service (POTS). This has paradigm-shifting and potentially catastrophic implications for our industry.
March 31, 2010