Many home burglar alarm systems can also include smoke detectors that can be monitored by a remote station. If the residence has a fire sprinkler system (some municipalities require this), they also monitor the sprinkler waterflow switch.
Is this what the insurance company referring to? If so, it's something most alarm companies can handle. Unfortunately, I am on the other side of the country and don't have any California alarm companies to refer you to.
I'm not sure what the California codes say, but here, single family homes require no fire detection systems, nor sprinklers. I have wireless interconnected smoke detectors in my house which are connected via a relay output to my security system. Others use all wireless or wired proprietary detectors, like Honeywell for example, connected to the panel. If you don't want to use the panel for security, you could just run a single zone for fire, always armed, and have it dial out immediately. Most of the home system I know of (admittedly limited to only a couple manufacturers) are UL listed for residential fire.
Other things to consider: carbon monoxide and combustible gas detection. They can be run on other zones for life safety purposes, as well.
And if you do end up doing it, be careful what you do in/around the kitchen. Standard smokes will go off due to burnt toast or oil smoking in the pan. You don't want trucks rolling every time someone wants to fry bacon. I prefer heat detectors, but others swear by ionization detectors. I tend to just not want smoke detection in the kitchen, period.
Thank you both for your input. I am certainly not qualified to handle this installation myself so I will sub it out. To ask a silly question......what category (search words) does this fall under and I'll make some call on Monday. Cheers!
Having been a California security installation company years ago and Nicet Certified I can give some direction. Let's start with the concept of AHJ or Authority Having jurisdiction. Most assume its the State Fire Marshall and that is certainly one. California uses NFPA 72 which is then adopted by the local Fire Marshall who can amend it. In some areas NFPA 13 is adopted for residential because of specific risks. That can require monitoring which can be accomplished with a fire alarm control panel / communicator. Some local AHJ's require a commercial communicator and others recognize a residential communicator. Typically a home just needs 120v interconnected smoke detectors with a backup battery. Those are local and notify the occupants to meet code. If the insurance company is requesting a monitored fire system they are becoming the AHJ for their purposes. At this point the customer can find out from the agent if they will lose coverage completely or lose a small discount by not complying. Then they can decide if adding the equipment is worth the cost. As a note, th installation of fire alarm equipment in California requires a C10 Electrical Contractors license and plans and permits are required based on the municipalities codes. Some are harder than others.
Greg, you provided a lot of useful information. I appreciate you taking the time. This is great. Cheers!