Radionics applauds the recent decision of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) to allow data networks, including both the Internet and private Intranets, to be used for the reporting of fire alarm and other life safety-related signals to central monitoring facilities.

The approval of Formal Interpretation 72-99-1 and Tentative Interim Amendment 99-3 opens the door for manufacturers of alarm systems to use 21st-century communications technology for critical fire alarm signaling applications. “This is the most significant event concerning fire and life safety alarm communications since the NFPA approved digital dialers a couple of decades ago,” says Richard Ader, Radionics’ director of communications products. “Using data networks to report fire alarm and trouble conditions will significantly improve both the reliability and speed of such communications.”

According to Ader, most fire alarm signaling today is transmitted over conventional voice-grade telephone lines, which may or may not be operational. Under current NFPA and UL requirements, a telephone line used for reporting fire alarms could be nonoperational for up to 24 hours before monitoring center personnel would know about the problem. By using data networks for this communications path, any condition preventing alarm communications will be known within a minute or two.

Radionics recently became the first alarm equipment manufacturer to receive a listing from Underwriter’s Laboratories (UL) for an alarm reporting system that uses data networks for communications, and is compatible with most alarm panels that are already installed and operational.

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