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What To Look For In a Commercial Fire Alarm Monitoring Company

Every year, thousands of businesses face financial losses due to structure fires. With estimated losses measured in the billions and more than 125,500 commercial struc­tures affected annually, fire prevention and damage mitigation should be a priority for business owners and insurance companies.

Protecting your business and employees is critical, so choosing the right commercial fire alarm monitoring company is important. This article offers an overview of some of the most important factors you should consider when choosing a company: 

  • Licensing and experience
  • Local codes and regulations
  • Reputation and reviews
  • Available services and hardware
  • Monitoring station certification
  • Pricing for instal­lation and monitoring

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Licensing and Experience

When evalu­ating a commercial fire alarm monitoring service, it’s essential to focus on the company’s experience and the quali­fi­ca­tions of its staff. While formal accred­i­tation for the entire company may not be standard in the industry, having licensed and certified profes­sionals is a crucial indicator of relia­bility and expertise.

In regions like Florida, specific licensing require­ments, such as low-voltage and fire system licensing, attest to a company’s adherence to regional standards and regula­tions. However, it’s important to note that such state-specific licensing might not be mandatory every­where. Therefore, when selecting a service provider, it’s vital to consider the local legal and regulatory requirements.

Having NICET (National Institute for Certi­fi­ca­tions in Engineering Technologies) certified techni­cians and engineers on staff is a signif­icant aspect to look for. These certi­fi­ca­tions are regarded as the gold standard in fire system instal­lation and mainte­nance. While it may not be feasible for all techni­cians to be NICET-certified, a reputable company should have a core team of certified profes­sionals. These experts ensure the accuracy of fire instal­la­tions and adherence to fire codes.

Experience in the industry also plays a pivotal role. A company with a history of serving various commercial environ­ments, from office buildings to indus­trial sites, likely possesses a compre­hensive under­standing of diverse fire safety needs and challenges. Additionally, a commitment to ongoing staff training indicates a company’s dedication to staying current with the latest fire safety technologies and regula­tions. This continuous improvement is essential in the dynamic field of fire safety.

Local Codes and Regulations

Building codes are complex and nuanced. Unless you own a construction company, don’t expect to know all the ins and outs of the local regula­tions surrounding fire codes. You’ll need to depend on your fire alarm monitoring company for that. After all, codes can change depending on the construction date for your building and how it’s used.

Talk to prospective service providers about how you intend to use your commercial space and get feedback on what that might mean for your fire alarm needs.

Reputation and Reviews

It’s always a good idea to see what other current and former customers say about the service. It’s simple due diligence that you owe yourself to do before making a major financial commitment. Take some time to look at the company’s online reviews and ask about any negative remarks.

You can and should also ask for refer­ences. Most service providers are happy to offer customer refer­ences to give you added peace of mind. Reviewing testi­mo­nials and case studies can provide insights into the company’s perfor­mance and customer satis­faction. Positive feedback from long-term clients is a good indicator of a company’s expertise and reliability.

A company without the depth of experience and satisfied customers to give you that reassurance might not be the best choice. It’s also a good idea to start with local companies so you can do some of your own sleuthing and reputation investigations.

Available Services and Hardware

When evalu­ating a commercial fire alarm monitoring company, under­standing its range of services and hardware is crucial. This knowledge will help you determine whether the company can meet the specific needs of your business and provide a compre­hensive fire safety solution. 

The company should offer the latest fire alarm technology, including smart systems that can provide real-time alerts and remote monitoring capabil­ities. In addition to having a wide range of fire alarm hardware, the company should provide:

  • 24/7 Monitoring with a UL Listed Central Station: Essential for any fire alarm system, round-the-clock monitoring ensures that any fire incidents are immedi­ately detected and responded to, regardless of the time of day. Using a UL listed Central Station for this monitoring service guarantees that the facility meets the highest standards of opera­tional excel­lence and relia­bility, which is critical for the safety and security of your business.
  • In-Facility Monitoring: In-facility monitoring involves profes­sional security operators working in a dedicated control center, where they monitor cameras and alarm systems around the clock to protect businesses and homes. This setup allows for a focused and controlled environment, free from the distrac­tions of everyday life. 
  • Regular Mainte­nance and Inspec­tions: The company should offer routine mainte­nance and inspection services to ensure that the fire alarm system is always in optimal working condition and compliant with fire safety regulations.
  • Instal­lation Services: Profes­sional instal­lation is key to the effec­tiveness of a fire alarm system. The company should have the expertise to install various types of fire alarm systems tailored to different commercial needs.
  • Training and Support: Adequate training for your staff on how to use the fire alarm system and what to do in case of an emergency is crucial. Ongoing support should also be available to address any issues or questions.
  • Emergency Response Coordi­nation: The company should have protocols to coordinate with local emergency services, ensuring a swift response in the event of a fire.
  • Customizable Solutions: The company should be able to provide customizable hardware solutions tailored to your commercial property’s specific needs and layout.

Monitoring Station Certification

An essential factor to consider when choosing a commercial fire alarm monitoring company is whether they utilize a UL Listed Central Station. This certi­fi­cation is crucial as it ensures that the monitoring station adheres to the highest opera­tional excel­lence and relia­bility standards set by the Under­writers Labora­tories (UL).

A UL Listed Central Station is audited regularly to confirm that it meets strict criteria for staffing, training, service quality, and facility security among other things. This certi­fi­cation guarantees that the monitoring service can provide a fast and effective response in case of a fire, ensuring that your property and personnel are safeguarded efficiently.

When discussing your fire alarm system needs, verify that the company employs a UL Listed Central Station for monitoring. This reflects the company’s commitment to high-quality fire safety measures and provides peace of mind that your business is in reliable hands.

Pricing for Instal­lation and Monitoring

While in an ideal world, price would be no object— the reality is that you need effective, affordable service when it comes to fire alarm monitoring. Work with a fire alarm monitoring company that offers upfront estimates for instal­lation and separates monitoring costs. You might not need instal­lation if your building is already wired and up to code, so separating hardware and monitoring costs is important.

You’ll also want to get an idea of ongoing upgrade costs.

Have questions about commercial fire alarm systems? Contact Bates Security!

At Bates Security, our local, caring customer service representatives connect you with NICET-certified fire alarm installers to create comprehensive protection from fires and other natural disasters. Find out what award-winning solutions we have available for your business.