Fire Alarms & Phone Lines

My Bldg. Commissioner informed me that within two yrs. the phone company will no longer maintain copper phone lines. Does anyone know how this may affect fire alarm systems?

Richard Ciarrone
Parma FD
[email protected]

1 thought on “Fire Alarms & Phone Lines”

  1. Mr. Ciarrone,

    This is correct, but the exact timeline is still in question. Phone companies have been replacing copper with fiber-optic/broadband for many years. Eventually, AT&T filed a petition to the Federal Communications Commission a few years ago asking for the end of land line phone service (it’s a losing $ venture for them). At this time, the FCC has not announced a “drop-dead” date for landline phone service. But just like the digital TV conversation a few years ago, eventually that day will come. Because of this issue, the 2013 edition of NFPA 72 is trying to phase out the use of digital alarm communicator transmitters (DACTs) which use phone lines to transfer the fire alarm signal from the protected premises to the supervising station. The 2013 edition prohibits the secondary transmission line from being another phone line. It requires the second transmission signal to be an alternative transmission (cellular, radio, IP) technology. The intent is, these alternative transmission technologies are already approved for single transmission, therefore, it should eliminate the need for use of a DACT (considered a multiple transmission technology).

    NFPA 72 currently allows broadband and fiber-optic with the use of a DACT as long as the provider is considered a managed facilities based voice network. Keep in mind, companies that provide voice-over internet phone service are not approved with the use of a DACT.

    I hope this helps. Feel free to contact me at the e-mail below with any questions.

    John Swanson (NFPA 72 TC Member)
    [email protected]
    Deputy State Fire Marshal (MN)

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