do smoke detectors notify fire department

Asking do smoke detectors notify fire department? Keep reading!

When users accidentally trigger a smoke detector or are about to replace the batteries, they often ask the same question.

The concern of the fire department coming to your door due to a false alarm could be bothersome, so here you’ll learn everything you need to know.

The “single-station” hardwired and wireless smoke detectors are not connected to the fire department and do not alert the critical parties. Fire alarms with sprinkler heads send a message to the critical monitoring station where an operator responds immediately.

Let’s now learn more about how notifying the fire department happens…

About Fire Alarm Monitoring

the fire alarm monitoring

The fire alarm monitoring is what sends the actual notification to the fire department.

This connection is what informs the critical parties when a fire starts but not all smoke detectors and fire alarms are under monitoring.

Such installation is made for more-advanced fire detectors such as automatic sprinkler head systems.

This type of smoke detection will not only notify the fire department but also attempt to put out the fire by sprinkling water over the affected location.

The emergency response won’t be delayed for long!

Fire alarm monitoring is an essential part of strong fire protection and is recommended for companies and users with large storage rooms and valuable items.

Note: A smoke detectors connected to the fire department involve a fire-protection company.

Do Smoke Detectors Notify Fire Department?

detectors notify fire department

The smoke detector is simply a device with a heat and smoke threshold that will only alert (in case of a fire) the inhabitants of the facility to leave immediately.

When you replace the smoke detector’s batteries or accidentally set off the alarm, the fire department won’t be notified. 

The smoke detectors could be wired and wireless which does not mean that they are connected to a monitoring system.

Such units are called “single-station” smoke detectors and they won’t notify the fire department in case of a fire. 

Such devices could be:

  • Battery-operated (9V) smoke detectors
  • Backup (lithium) battery hardwired smoke detectors
  • No battery, hardwired smoke detectors

To understand whether your smoke detector will contact the fire department we strongly recommend reading the next part of our guide, where we’ll explain everything.

Will Your Smoke Detector Notify The Fire Department?

does it notify fire department

In case you’re having a hard time identifying whether your smoke detector will notify the critical parties when activated, here we’ll answer this question for you.

1. Wireless Smoke Detector

In case you see no cables connected to the smoke detector that suggests that the device is wireless, hence operated by a battery.

Such smoke detectors are considered “single-station” devices that are not connected to the fire department.

The only purpose of this type of smoke detector is to sound an alarm that only informs the people from within the building that a fire has started.

2. Hardwired Smoke Detector

The hardwired smoke detector is what you should inspect thoroughly to understand whether the device will inform the fire department in case of a fire.

You should check the wires and when they lead to a backup battery, we can conclude that the device is a “single station” unit.

However, hard-wired smoke detectors in larger facilities can often be connected to a monitoring system, which informs an operator so the emergency services can react.

From there the fire department is informed and the safety operation begins.

Note: Singular smoke detectors are not connected to a monitoring system.

Do Fire Alarms Alert Fire Department?

fire alerts fire department

Yes, we often refer to fire-protection devices connected to the critical parties as “fire alarms”.

The fire alarm is a more advanced fire protection device than the smoke detector and is connected to a monitoring system that alerts the fire department in case of a fire hazard.

Since the fire alarms are always installed by a fire-protection company, both parties will be notified in case of an alarm.

You cannot reverse the message nor prevent the arrival of the fire department to the fire alarm’s location.

When Fire Alarms Alert The Fire Department?

when fire alarms alert fire department

The fire alarms that are connected to a monitoring system are not that sensitive so the alarm won’t be activated by a non-significant amount of smoke.

When the fire alarm is activated, then there is certainly a heat source emitting enough smoke to be considered a fire hazard.

Here are some occasions in which the fire alarm will activate:

  • Heavy odor, produced by burning material
  • Enough smoke to represent a danger of fire occurrence
  • Extensive heat generation near the alarm
Under the correct conditions, the fire alarm will trigger both informing the inhabitants of the building and contacting the monitoring station. 

Soon after the fire department will arrive.

Will The Fire Department Come?

will a fire department come

On some occasions, the fire department won’t arrive at the location of the fire.

Some fire-alarm systems have a time frame during which they have to be deactivated so they won’t call the fire department. Since we’re speaking of a fire, the time frame is not much.

Users typically have 60 seconds to turn OFF the alarm before the alert

This time frame exists to prevent false alarm cases in which users are responsible for activating the fire alarm.

For example, a cigarette or a candle can set off a fire detector where there is no real danger of fire. In such cases, users need to mute the alarm as soon as possible.

Alert: You should not deactivate a fire alarm when you’re not aware of the source!

Can A Test Alarm Notify The Fire Department?

can test alarm notify fire department

When users are performing a test on their fire alarms they often wonder whether this will notify the fire department.

The short answer is No.

By pressing the “Test” button, the alarm will sound a high-pitch noise but won’t activate the trigger for the monitoring system.

Later the alarm can be muted from the control panel and no third parties will be contacted or notified before and after the test.

The test operation exists to help facilities check the functionality of their fire alarm on regular basis.

The test is meant to ensure that the alarm will respond in a timely manner and to inspect whether the installation is intact.

Tip: When you believe that there is a fire, the best approach is to call 911.

False Alarm With Smoke Detectors

fire alarms with a smoke detectors

As we’ve mentioned the smoke detectors can easily recognize fire smoke and activate the alarm.

In case your fire alarm or smoke detector has been accidentally triggered without you believing that there is a fire you shouldn’t worry too much.

False alarms can be due to:

  1. Cigarettes or vape devices.
  2. Burning candles.
  3. Cooking odor.

In case the fire department has been notified, you should know that even the smallest fire leaves traces and that it would be discovered on site.

You should be able to recall any actions that could have possibly been the reason for the alarm triggering and a test will be performed.

The fire protection company would also require information on the alarm trigger so you would have to discuss the occurrence with them also.

Note: Keep your monitoring system intact by performing a test every month.

Quick Recap:

Thus, smoke detectors won’t notify the fire department when the alarm is activated. The purpose of a smoke detector is to alert the facility inhabitants to leave. In contrast, fire alarms are connected to a monitoring system and will alert critical parties.

Last Thoughts:

Now when we’ve answered the question “do smoke detectors notify fire department?”, you’ll know whether you’ll have visitors or not.

Even when you accidentally activate a fire alarm that does not you’re necessarily in trouble so don’t overreact.

We hope that this post was helpful for you to learn more about smoke detectors and fire alarms. 

For more relevant content, you should check our online blog.

Nicole B