Alarm isolation is when the fire panel is prevented from sending signals to the Fire Monitoring Centre (FMC) through utilising the features of the Fire Indicator Panel (FIP) or the Alarm Signaling Equipment (ASE). There are two main ways that isolation can be carried out;
- Through the features of your FIP; and
- Directly isolating the ASE.
When the occupier isolates the alarm system through the FIP or ASE, suitable procedures encompassing a risk assessment must be implemented. This is to provide the building with a level of protection equivalent to or greater than that provided when the alarm system is monitored and fully functional. The process or procedure can be developed by a suitably qualified person and does not require QFES assessment or approval for implementation. The onus is on the premises owner to implement these measures at their own cost.
Where the building is required to be monitored under legislation and the system is isolated without compensating for the potential risks to the occupants of the building, this may breach Section 104D of the Fire and Emergency Services Act 1990.
Isolations are not to be used to prevent unwanted alarms from expected building use. If there are unwanted alarm activations from expected building use, then the occupier should engage an appropriately qualified person to identify the causes and implement strategies to prevent the unwanted alarm activations.
Isolating the FIP
QFES request, where practical, that a premises use the fire alarm panel to perform a ‘local isolation’. There is no requirement to advise QFES or ADT Fire Monitoring about local isolations. It is expected that the owner/occupier is competent in using the fire panel and understands the risks involved with isolating any part of the fire alarm system and mitigates these risks appropriately.
The advantage of this form of isolation is that the isolation can be controlled and limited to affected areas.
When the occupier isolates the alarm system, suitable procedures encompassing a risk assessment must be implemented. This is to provide the building with a level of protection equivalent to or greater than that provided when the alarm system is monitored and fully functional. The process or procedure can be developed by a suitably qualified person and does not require QFES assessment or approval for implementation. The onus is on the premises owner to implement these measures at their own cost.
For more information on your FIP’s isolation process please contact your FIP’s manufacturer or the servicing Fire Maintenance Company.
Isolating the ASE
The ASE is the central communications device that QFES have installed in order to allow for direct brigade responses to any premises equipped with an ASE.
Isolations of the ASE are for extreme circumstances where FIP isolation is not able to prevent false alarms from being sent to the Fire Monitoring Centre. This form of isolation does not share the targeted nature of FIP isolation, and ceases all telemetry between the ASE’s isolated input and the Fire Monitoring Centre, preventing any automatic responses to alarms on the isolated inputs.
As the ASE is both property of QFES, and is unable to minimize onsite risk through targeted isolations, this form of Isolation is only to be considered as a final resort. It is important that occupiers understand by isolating the ASE they are effectively disconnecting the entire premises from the Fire Service and upon alarm activation, no automatic response from the fire service will occur. Disconnecting your premises from the fire service without sufficient reason or simply to avoid an unwanted alarm is considered a failure to maintain a prescribed monitoring system. This is an offence in Queensland under the Fire and Emergency Services Act 1990 104D.
If a local isolation of the fire panel is not practical, a request for ASE isolation can be submitted to ADT via an ASE Isolation Request Form (OM129).
Where can I find an ASE Isolation Request Form (OM129)?
OM129 forms are issued at the time an ASE isolate is requested. To request an ASE isolate, contact ADT on 1300 360 575.
If the ASE isolate is for over 12 hours contact AARM on 1800 289 785.