Alarm information from your monitoring station

Recently a store director who works at a grocery store called me up and asked me what a PIV tamper was because their store had received a call from the central station telling them that their PIV was in trouble and they asked the central station at that time what is a PIV and the dispatcher did not know. So in this blog I thought I would explain a few of the items that are tied to a fire alarm system that you may not be aware of and I will try to keep it simple and gear it more toward the grocery manager who really does not need an in depth lesson on Fire Alarm but may want to have a basic understanding of some of these items.

PIV Valve – Post Indicator Valve – This valve can turn off the water to the building and if someone does that then an electronic signal is sent to the central station saying “Hey your water just got shut off” so if there is a fire you need to know the sprinkler system will not work.

Post Indicator Valve

This valve can shut the water off to a building from the outside. (Normally)

TAMPER SWITCH – This is the electronic portion that is tied to a valve or wheel that shuts off the water to a sprinkler system. Not all of them look the same but this is a good example. This is also serious if your valve is shut off that means the sprinkling system that puts fires out will not function. A trouble on your fire alarm system should be taken seriously.

Detects when the water is shut off to the sprinking system

FLOW SWITCH – This switch detects when WATER is flowing through the sprinkler lines. This normally means there is a fire and the sprinklers have been activated and it also means you have a big mess. If the switch is faulty then it can activate as well. You will see from this cross cut photo that there is a paddle that moves in the direction of the water. This is why it is so important to have your sprinkling system and your fire system Green tagged every year to make sure all of these are functioning as they should. If this goes into Alarm the Fire Department is dispatched.

Cross cut view of a flow switch

This switch detects when water is flowing through the pipes. The Fire Department will be dispatched when a flow is activated.

When water flows through the pipes this switch sends a signal to the fire panel

DUCT DETECTOR – When the air handler units used for moving air through a building are over 2000cfm then they are required to have DUCT DETECTORS installed and these are smoke detector meant to tie to the system and shut down the air handler for several reasons. One is so the unit will not spread smoke where it should not and if a belt began to burn or a motor began to burn up the the duct detector normally is wired to shut down the air handling unit. Sometimes the duct detector just shuts down that one unit and other times the requirements make it so it will shut down all the other units. When the ducts get dirty then these smoke detectors will go into trouble and the housing, smoke, tubes and ducts should be cleaned at that time. If you just clean the smoke and then turn the unit back on then if the ducts are dirty they just fill the smoke detector back up with dust and the unit could go into trouble again.

Duct detectors normally shut the air handlers down when there is a problem

Many times duct detectors are tied into the fire alarm and the system will alert you when they need to be cleaned. If you ignore that alert on a trouble then the next signal may be an alarm.

We won’t go over the obvious items such as smoke detectors, Emergency pull stations and temp sensors in this message although we can go over some of those other things in a future blog.

We understand that managers of buildings are busy and many times don’t really want to understand the system but just want the problems taken care of. A bit of forethought can help avoid more costly repairs so learning the basics can help you in the long run. Please let me know when you have questions or if I did not clarify any of these items enough. It is always best to use professionals to service, clean and repair Fire Alarms and Sprinkler systems. Contact Larry Love at 801 428 1384 company web site is