Preparing Your Fire Alarm System for 2020

In March, 2018, alarm companies, alarm installers, and fire alarm monitoring companies all circled a date on their calendar. May 1, 2020 is the deadline for a new set of UL compliance guidelines — UL 268, Edition 7 — for smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, the most significant overhaul since 1976. As with any major compliance update, Michigan business owners and property managers will have questions. Vigilante Security has answers.

UL 268 Edition 7: What’s Covered, and What Changes?

UL 268 covers the function and testing of smoke detection systems. The updates in Edition 7 eliminate older single-sensor designs. This is meant in part to ensure safety and redundancy, but is also meant to cut down on false positives from nuisance alarms (i.e., a smoky cheeseburger or a smoldering bit of food in a drip pan setting off your alarm), and to differentiate between slow-burning and faster-burning fires in polyurethane foam. It encompasses smoke detectors hard-wired to a power supply or control unit, detectors that release fire doors or dampers, or systems that provide both types of function. Because there are also numerous exceptions under other sections of the UL code — the number and nature of which are too extensive to list here — it’s best to discuss your installation with a professional fire alarm installer.

Security Monitoring Systems for Business: the Good News

Before you panic, we’ve got some good news. To begin with, even though the Seventh Edition brings major changes to fire alarms, it brings no notable changes to other security monitoring systems for business. What’s more, businesses that already have a fire alarm system installed need not worry — for now; their systems are grandfathered in. And anyone having a new system installed also won’t see much disruption, since the brunt of the change is borne by manufacturers and those of us who design, install, and provide fire alarm system monitoring.

The Exceptions

Just as every rule has exceptions, every exemption has its exceptions. Insurance companies may incentivize newer systems with better compliance, which can save you money on your policy. If your existing system is prone to false positives, your fire department may request a newer system (or you may realize that the fines from false positives outweigh the cost of a new install). And as your existing system ages out, or if part of the system fails, newer components are unlikely to be backward-compatible with older systems, since newer detectors may not be able to communicate with legacy fire alarm control units.

Finding the Best Security Services in Michigan

Over time, the new compliance standards for UL 268 will make businesses safer through quicker and more accurate detection. This is especially true of facilities that contain a high volume of polyurethane foam and other synthetics — especially common in dormitories, hospitality, and healthcare — or those, like apartment buildings, that might otherwise be highly prone to nuisance alarms. If you’re a business owner or property manager looking for the best security services to install UL 2020 compliant alarms, look no further than Vigilante Security.