I enjoy receiving your e mails as they are usually informative, witty and, most often, correct. However, I believe your email of January 2 2016 concerning fire alarm signal transmission has incorrect information in the DMP White Paper.  The e mail of January 2nd, 2016, is about an update on fire alarm signaling technology from Bart Didden, who was relying on a White Paper from DMP. The White Paper is an inaccurate interpretation of alarm signal transmission found in NFPA 72. While the premise that the NFPA technical committee, which committee I have been on for 25 years (Chapter 26-Supervising Stations Systems), recognizes that using cellular alone as a single alarm signal transmission technology is correct, there are MANY errors in DMP's White Paper. And before I point out some significant errors in the White Paper, I'd like to note that we use DMP products and find them to be very reliable and that DMP provides very good support.
    Since you and Bart, probably did not read the White Paper, let me point out some of these errors:
The title is "Why NFPA Approves of Cellular as a Single Transmission Path" and says that the purpose of the white paper is "to provide documentation supporting the use of cellular as a single communication technology for sending fire alarm signals from a NFPA 72 compliant fire alarm to a supervising station." DMP's initial supporting contention includes the following two sections of NFPA72 - 2010.

  • 1. Section'Communications methods operating on principles different from specific methods covered by this chapter (dial-up, POTS) shall be permitted to be installed if they conform to the performance requirements of this section and to all other applicable requirements of this Code.' 
  • 2. Section'A dedicated cellular telephone connection shall be permitted to be used as a single means to transmit alarms to a constantly attended remote monitoring location.'
  1. error number 1--Section 29 in NFPA 72 refers to household (residential) systems and NOT to commercial systems. 
  2. error 2--The White Paper indicates that "Industry Consensus Means a New Direction" then discusses MFVN and sites NFPA 72, Section 3.3.152 and A3.3.152, 2010 Edition. I doubt anyone looked but section 3.3.152 is a definition of a multi sensor detector which has nothing to do with alarm signal transmission. Section A3.3.152 is in the appendix and is for explanatory purposes. 
  3. error 3--The White Paper goes on to indicate that both NFPA 72 2010 and NFPA 72 2013 editions talk about a revised definition for PSTN and sites Section in the 2010 Edition. There is no Section in NFPA 72 2010 Edition. Section 3.3.290 does refer to Video Image Smoke Detectors.

    Not mentioned was Section and Section A26.6.3.5 in NFPA 72-2016 Edition which discusses the permitted use of a single technology but is explained that there should be two communication paths. (The technology meaning the type of signal transmission and the path meaning ways for a signal to be sent--such as a cell communicator being able to send a signal out via two cell towers).
    Please note that while NFPA publishes the National Fire Alarm Code, NFPA 72, it is up to the Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) to adopt the code and follow it. Sometimes, a jurisdiction adopts a certain edition of NFPA 72.  Manufacturers may be following NFPA 72 2016 edition while the AHJ may only be referencing NFPA 72 2013 edition. This could matter in the example of an AHJ permitting the use of a cell communicator that reports in once every 5 minutes in a previous standard but will not accept the use of a cell communicator that reports in once every 60 minutes in a more current standard.
    One other thing. NFPA 72 is the Standard NRTLs (nationally recognized testing laboratories such as UL, FM or ETL) use to "List" or "Placard" equipment indicating that the product tested meets the Standard. Just because a product is Listed for the purpose of transmitting a fire alarm signal does not mean the system or the service provided meets NFPA 72. In order to show compliance with NFPA 72 the service provided (whether Central Station Service which includes monitoring, inspection and service or Remote Station Service which includes monitoring) should be Certificated or Placarded. It is up to the AHJ, the local fire marshal or insurance carrier or both, to determine what is needed to have an "Approved" system. It is their interpretation, of the Standard they are using, that will determine which type of system and/or signaling system is acceptable to the AHJ.
Richard Kleinman, President
AFA Protective Systems, Inc.
    Thanks to Richard for sharing his extensive knowledge and experience.  I know Richard spoke to DMP and if DMP wants to respond or clear things up we look forward to hearing from them.

       Ken: i showed the inaccuracies of DMPs White Paper to our DMP representative. I was thanked and told the White Paper matter was corrected.
Richard Kleinman
AFA Protective Systems, Inc