We Were Going To Swap Out An Existing Alarm Panel And Look What We Found

A bit off topic, but I am sure a lot here can relate to this (either fire or burglar). A building added a new wing so we wired it up for fire. The current fire panel was pretty old and wasnt working for a while, so we were going to combine everything in one.

Take a look at the panel once we opened it. Notice anything funny?


How long has that been there? It looks pretty dusty inside.

And is that rust on the screw terminals?

Probably about 15 years, and that is rust. I like how they have the resistors on the panel so it will read that everything is okay

I am not an alarm system guy but is this not something that is highly illegal?

I would hate to have my name on the inspection tags! Just curious, did it have a green tag? Lol

The fact nothing is wired to it could be an indication its a bad panel and someone didn't take it down. Is another panel being used somewhere else for these sensor points?

We are hunting it and trying to tone it out. But as per the building owner this is the only one

Yikes!

And they have a valid C of O?

Yes.

I dont want to call the Fire Inspector about if they will be testing the old building when we bring online the new wing, as I am afraid he will condemn the building until they fix it up.

I am afraid he will condemn the building until they fix it up.

I know little about fire alarms. Is that literally what could happen? Curious to understand laws / regs around this?

And if that is the case, if you did not say something and a fire did happen, would you not assume some form of liability?

In my area, a Fire Marshal will 'yellow tag' the system and give a period of time for corrective action before a 'red tag' is issued.

I think it is within authority to chain the doors shut until things are fixed when a red tag is issued, but I've never actually heard it getting to that point.

A red-tag situation may require hiring a fire watch.

Part of many manned guard companies offerings is 'NFPA Fire Watch', where a building owner essentially pays for a guard to patrol facilities for a fire, and given the poor attitudes around being forced to pay for this, most yellow tags are addressed pretty fast.

Once, as a young and stupid installer, I managed to (accidentally) disconnect the NAC while trying to diagnose something completely unrelated. The fire department responded, sirens blaring. They called the town fire inspector, who threatened to evacuate the building, shut the business down, and have me arrested unless I reconnected it. I don't know if he actually had that power but I didn't challenge it.

I am not sure what state you are in, but I had a similar experience in PA - due to line damage. They just stationed someone to do fire watch, until the lines were restored.

I see what looks like a coiled phone handset cord, maybe there is a sign on front of panel:

"In case of fire, open, call 911"....

Hey John,

Can we add a "Scary/WTF" button to the options for a response?

This happened to us last year. 400+ points on a fire system, they asked us to come take it over. The salesman didn't have access to the panel itself, but did have the prints, and we confirmed there were no troubles on the system at the annunciator.

Our team gets out there to take it over, opens up the panel, and every single point was strapped out. The tech grabbed his phone, took a picture, closed the enclosure, and backed away slowly....

There is a lot to be said for the panel, but with no LED's, it has no power; no info on the annunciator. With everything jumpered out, you should have green lights all over. But you don't have any lights. It would appear to be DOA. If this is how you found it, you found it just in time. From my experience, I would be leery that the owner is telling you the whole story. I suspect they know a lot more than they are telling you.

You have every right to be concerned about the Inspector. If he is worth his salt, he will force them to correct it or post a fire watch, and this will fall on you. Your hands are on it and you own it. Likely you will have to install a new panel (or at least an expander module with a NAC power supply) and interconnect the two so that both panels can be monitored by either alpha. That is the standard. If you silence an alarm in one wing, the other wing can see it on their annunciator.

Good news is the batteries should hold that thing for longer than required (though they're probably deep discharged)!

Was it submerged in water at some point?

Did a contractor possibly gut the wiring? If so, they were either smart enough to place the eol's in the panel to shut it up, or the orig installer was dumb enough to put them there originally!