Latest technologies, installation and troubleshooting tips, and codes and standards relevant to fire/life safety.
Latest column posts
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
By Al Colombo · February 28, 2010
The need for accurate, timely info has always been a problem, but recently civilian and government authorities decided it was time to do something about it.
By Al Colombo · January 31, 2010
Mass notification, a relatively new development in life safety, can be defined as "a technology that provides real-time information to groups of individuals within large buildings, campus settings, geographic regions, or entire nations."
By Al Colombo · December 31, 2009
The number of injuries and deaths due to carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning routinely increases every year as cold weather moves across the nation. The CO threat is an ever-present danger to humankind and animals. This is especially true during the winter months when it becomes necessary to use combustible heating, such as fireplaces and gas- and oil-fired furnaces.
By Al Colombo · November 30, 2009
In September's "Fire Side Chat" we talked about false alarms and how they can overwhelm public agencies, such as firefighters and police personnel, impact municipal budgets, and how end users are often fined to offset the negative monetary effects.
October 31, 2009