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Fire Side Chat with Shane Clary

About the columnist, Shane Clary
Shane Clary, Ph.D., has more than 37 years of security and fire alarm industry experience. He serves on a number of NFPA technical committees, and is vice president of Codes and Standards Compliance for Pancheco, Calif.-based Bay Alarm Co. He can be reached at
Latest technologies, installation and troubleshooting tips, and codes and standards relevant to fire/life safety.
Latest column posts
Commissioning is a process of documentation, adjustment, testing, verification and training, performed to ensure the facility operates in accordance with the owner’s documented project requirements and construction documents. As a fire systems integrator, knowing commissioning fundamentals helps meet expectations for your aspect of the project. By Dr. Shane Clary · October 13, 2011

The benefits of video technology are being extended from surveillance and intrusion detection to assisting in fire detection and verification. Find out what considerations, practices and codes figure prominently for successful deployment. By Al Colombo · September 20, 2011

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


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