Wednesday, June 19, 2013

It is Illegal to Tamper with Fire Alarm Systems

Today I rode along with some of our technicians to perform an annual fire alarm inspection of a three story apartment complex with approximately 140 units. The system comprised of a Gamewell IF610-252 addressable fire alarm control panel with Wheelock notification devices. On the first floor there were 20 handicap units with addressable system smoke detectors (Apollo XP95-P) which activated a signal module for the notification appliance circuit within its designated unit.

Now, the addressable system smoke detectors in the handicap units were programmed to supervisory events for the purpose of central station monitoring and common area notification of the facility. However, the individual notification devices within the unit were supposed to activate if the photoelectric smoke detector was activated. Needless to say, this system was messed up. Some of the smoke detectors failed to activate the NACs and other actually activated the common corridor devices. We also found that the installing fire alarm company did not design the system with SYNC modules.

How this facility passed it original acceptance test is beyond me.

Tampering with Fire Alarms is illegal

On top of all of this we came across 4 units where the occupant had tampered with the fire alarm system mini horn within their living room. We had to remove the tape, cotton, plastic and whatever else they could find to suppress the sound from the devices and warn the occupants that it is a crime to tamper with fire alarm equipment. For your reference, the California Penal Code section for this is 148.4

It reads:

a) Any person who does any of the following is guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction is punishable by imprisonment in a
county jail, not exceeding one year, or by a fine, not exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000), or by both that fine and imprisonment:

(1) Willfully and maliciously tampers with, molests, injures, or breaks any fire protection equipment, fire protection installation,
fire alarm apparatus, wire, or signal.

(2) Willfully and maliciously sends, gives, transmits, or sounds any false alarm of fire, by means of any fire alarm system or signal
or by any other means or methods.

(b) Any person who willfully and maliciously sends, gives, transmits, or sounds any false alarm of fire, by means of any fire
alarm system or signal, or by any other means or methods, is guilty of a felony and upon conviction is punishable by imprisonment in the state prison or by a fine of not less than five hundred dollars ($500) nor more than ten thousand dollars ($10,000), or by both that fine and imprisonment, if any person sustains as a result thereof, any of the following:

(1) Great bodily injury.

(2) Death.


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