FireWater Services, Inc. of Houston Texas

A Full Service Fire Sprinkler & Fire Alarm CompanyServing Houston, Galveston, Dallas, & Fort Worth TX areas

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 FYI: Fire Panel Trouble Shooting Tips  


This online guide may help you with your fire alarm system if you are experiencing an alarm or trouble condition.

  1. Determine alarm or trouble condition.

    Trouble conditions sound only at the file alarm panel, usually with yellow lights to indicate a particular reason for the trouble (i.e. low batteries, zone disconnected, silence switch in incorrect position.)

    Alarm conditions sound at the panel and throughout the building using horns, strobes, or pre-recorded voice messages, and indicates the zone causing the alarm at the control panel.

  2. From the fire alarm panel, make note of any lights (yellow or red) or on the newer systems, messages displayed on the LCD screen.

    This will help tremendously in restoring your alarm system to 100%.  Most problems are minor and can be handled over the phone.

  3. If the power has failed for any reason, your system may have gone to battery backup power, and discharged the batteries slightly.

    This will cause a trouble condition while the batteries recharge to normal levels.  Once fully charged, the trouble signal will resound requiring the trouble switch to be moved back to NORMAL.  

    The alarm systems are designed to operate over 24 hours on battery power.
  4. Check to make sure all switches for the alarm panel in the proper position!

    If your alarm panel is sounding the trouble indicator and/or showing a yellow general trouble light only, check the TROUBLE SILENCE switch.  It may be signaling that no true trouble condition exists, and the switch just needs turned back off.  Fire code requirements state that the trouble switch must not be in the trouble silence position if no trouble actually exists; this causes the "trouble ring back" signal.

    This is the source of many service calls which are not needed.
  5. Assume any alarm indication is valid and follow the facility's fire notification procedures!

    Until an alarm condition is determined a 'false alarm', do not silence the alarm notification signals!


Checking The Fire Alarm Panel

  1. Open the alarm panel door if you have not done so already. 
  2. Make note of any lights or messages displayed on the alarm panel before pressing any buttons or moving any switches.
  3. Locate on the control panel a button or switch labeled
    and press this button or switch now. 

    The signaling circuits should now silence. 

    You will still see alarm lights lit or messages displayed.
  4. Using a zone map, find the area of the building that the alarm zone occurred. 
    You should now walk through this area, looking for what caused the alarm. 

    Manual pull boxes do not close completely when activated, and will need to be reset before clearing the alarm condition at the alarm panel. 

    Most smoke detectors have a red light that blinks about every 10 to 15 seconds.  If this light is lit solid, this detector is in alarm.

    Air handler units (AHU) may have duct detectors that have a remote enunciator that displays a solid light (usually RED) that indicates an alarm condition.

  5. Once you've determined which device is in alarm, write the device's location and the alarm panel's zone number that lit up so that the technician can inspect the zone.
  6. You may now choose to reset the panel; find the RESET button or switch, and press or switch it  now.
    Make sure all switches are in their normal state. 

    If the alarm re-occurs immediately
    , you most likely have a manual pull box open in the zone that is in alarm.  Try to find it and restore it before resetting the panel again.
    If the alarm re-occurs 15 seconds or more after resetting, it is probably a smoke detector device in the zone that is in alarm.

This guide should allow you to determine whether the fire alarm needs servicing. 

To discuss residential or business fire sprinkler systems, call (281) 855-1970, or you may contact us on-line.

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FireWater Services, Inc. of Houston, Texas
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