Fire alarm panel sharing phone lines

Dear Forum Member,

We have an apt complex with a main office and four separate apt buildings. Each apt building houses about 8 to 10 residents.

Currently, each apt building has its own fire alarm panel which is monitored by the main Office Fire alarm panel. But each fire alarm panel has its own dialer. All fie building share the same Primary and secondary phone lines. Resulting in if two building have sized the line, the other building cannot report to central office. (Seems like a Party line).

My gut tells me this is wrong, I know I should call the AHJ and discuss this issue, but I am new at work and do not want to overstep my bounds. My company installed this system. We do not have a copy of the “Record of Completion” or I would see if there was an exception granted at acceptance.

Thanks for you help.

Welcome to the forums! You seem to have a good idea of what you need. Since I am not certified, I cannot say what can or should be done. A suggestion, if the techs here agree and your AHJ allow it, is to have an alarm outside each building in addition to whatever is done, that way the FD can more quickly find the building in alarm. Again, I am not certified, so the techs here really are the ones to listen to.

I’m a bit confused. You say there are five panels on site, each with it’s own dialer. But the panels in the apartment building each report back to the main office building that also has a dialer? So what happens if the alarm goes off in Building #1 for example? Central Station receives two alarm signals - one from building #1 and one from the office building?

It’s not uncommon, at least around here, to have a multi building complex where each building has its own dedicated fire alarm panel. Then each panel reports back to a central panel in the administration building or maintenance shop. Pretty much in that situation, only the one panel calls, and it is zoned out so that the central station will know which building is actually in alarm. Saves on telephone line cost - because in a five building complex you would need 10 separate phone lines or cellular dialers. But the down side is you can be more prone to lightning related issues and if someone starts digging on site there is a risk of hitting your underground wiring.

Thank you for your replies! Great advise.