Understanding Components of Telegraph Fire Alarm Monitoring

By Ziad Alezabi

February 16, 2024

Eyebrows are raised when you tell people that telegraph fire alarm monitoring systems are still used. However, modern technology still fails to be as reliable as telegraph systems when it comes to fire alarm monitoring.

Let's dive into an overview of the different components of telegraph fire alarm monitoring and discover how a comprehensive telegraph fire alarm monitoring configuration enables you to have full visibility, control, and responsibility over your network.

Alarm Boxes Offer Quick and Reliable Alerts

Alarm boxes, often referred to as pull stations, are manual fire alarm devices that you pull down to notify someone of a fire. They are red and are located throughout most facilities you enter. You've seen them a lot when you were in school.

Despite many people believing that sensors are sufficient, major cities and establishments continue to rely on these devices.

I recently had discussions with industry experts, who predict that municipalities that initially relied on seldom central stations will revert to a redundant central station and a proprietary fire alarm monitoring system.

This is due to central stations having several issues like:

  1. Being outside networks
  2. 2-3 crucial minutes of delay compared to proprietary fire alarm monitoring solutions
  3. Recurring monthly subscription
  4. Irregular personnel rotation at central stations
  5. Inaccurate information being sent back and forth

After an alarm box is pulled, it transmits a signal to an FACP that indicates its location and allows the FACP to activate certain responses.

FACPs Bridge Your Fire Alarm System

An FACP will collect the information from an activated alarm box such as time and location. It can also monitor inputs from several other detection devices and fire safety devices such as:

  • Smoke detectors
  • headend unit such as the PrismLX collects all of your fire alarm information into one device. This allows you to have one or more dispatch locations that give you a full overview of your infrastructure or municipality.

    System 3505 Prism LX

    System 3505 Prism LX

    The main benefits of a headend unit are:

    1. Interoperability with dual-redundant locations on the same premises (think two buildings on a campus)
    2. Easily accessible by in-house maintenance and dispatch crew.
    3. Fail-safe mechanisms in case a certain component goes offline.
    4. Text-2-cell capabilities with customized message notifications
    5. Filter nuisance alarms that keep your in-house crew from being desensitized to alarm alerts.

    The PrismLX was designed to speed up the process of in-house maintenance and dispatch crews becoming familiar with a fire alarm monitoring system while also centralizing alarm and device information to eliminate the need for an unreliable central station.

    Power Regulators Monitor Telegraph Circuits and Alarm Grounds

    Power regulators/suppliers such as the Form Four enable you to supervise a telegraph circuit, often going counterclockwise in a 100mA loop.

    When a telegraph circuit is broken, the last on-line circuit box defaults to a ground connection that allows it to signal back to the Form Four power regulator.

    Since they are used for long-distance communication, they are perfect for municipalities that we've discussed before to encompass the entire town or city.

    Proprietary Fire Alarm Monitoring Offers Different Communication Techniques and Protocols

    Digitize offers a Mesh radio Network solution via the MeshSentry II. It comes with a PoE (Power over Ethernet) capability and equips you with a very "redundant" and reliable way to communicate your data.

    When attempting to visualize Mesh Radio, think of it as interconnected nodes on a net, if one node is broken, there are many other routes for data to travel.

    Other forms of communication can be:

    • Single-mode fiber
    • Bi-directional polling
    • Radiofrequency wireless
    • LAN/WAN
    • Ethernet
    • Spread spectrum
    • Dual-frequency
    • Multi-mode fiber

    It is good practice to have more than one communication method, even if the method you're looking at has its own redundancy.

    Common Questions I Get Asked About Telegraph Fire Alarm Monitoring Systems

    1. Question:What does it mean when you say that a fire alarm monitoring system is "proprietary"
      Answer:A proprietary fire alarm monitoring system is a monitoring system that belongs only on your closed network and maybe neighboring municipality networks if you want to provide them with your alarms for redundancy
    2. Question:What are the advantages of using a proprietary telegraph fire alarm monitoring system?
      Answer:A proprietary fire alarm monitoring system is beneficial because you have increased network security, full control and visibility over your system, and the ability to configure your system to your individual needs.
    3. Question:Can I still use my existing legacy fire alarm equipment with a proprietary telegraph fire alarm monitoring system?
      Answer:Yes, most proprietary fire alarm monitoring systems are designed to be compatible with legacy equipment. In cases where compatibility is an issue, there are often middleman devices available to bridge the gap between old and new technology.
    4. Question:Are there any disadvantages to using a proprietary telegraph fire alarm monitoring system?
      Answer:The main disadvantage is that it may require a larger initial investment compared to non-proprietary systems. However, the long-term benefits and security of a proprietary system often outweigh this cost. Additionally, there may be limitations on expanding or modifying your system if it is tied to one specific manufacturer or vendor.

    Digitize Is Your One-Stop Solution For Proprietary Fire Alarm Monitoring

    Digitize is a proprietary fire alarm monitoring system manufacturer that acts as a one-stop shop for distributors to complete their fire alarm monitoring lineup and sell their services to end clients. We also deal with end-users on some occasions.

    Digitize is an industry-proven manufacturer that has installed equipment in:

    1. Major US cities
    2. Ivy League university campuses
    3. Hundreds of military bases
    4. Transportation departments

    We believe that every installation is different from the other, and that's why we want you to treat Digitize like your own personal engineer. You tell us your needs, and we deliver.

    Digitize also offers a 25% distributor discount that allows you to instantly start with a healthy profit margin.

    In addition, we set our distributors up with leads as soon as they become part of our distributor's list. If we find leads in your region, we give them to you. We want you to sell.

    If you think you have an application that could use Digitize equipment, or if you have any further questions about topics covered in this blog, please feel free to contact me.

    Even if we can't find a solution together, I will do my best to point you in the right direction.

    Call 1-800-523-7232. You can also email us at info@digitize-inc.com

    Ziad Alezabi

    Ziad Alezabi

    Ziad Alezabi is a seasoned marketing writer renowned for his expertise in crafting compelling content and strategic marketing communications. With a rich background in the industry, Ziad has contributed significantly to various projects, delivering engaging blog articles, impactful videos, and...Read More