Fire Alarm Monitoring System
The City of Wheaton, in partnership with Chicago Metro Fire Prevention Company of Elmhurst, will be implementing a new Fire Alarm Monitoring System for all properties within the City that are currently required to have a fire alarm system. The new system replaces outdated equipment installed and maintained by ADT. The old system required the use of an AT&T telephone circuit line to transmit alarm signals from a property owner’s fire alarm panel to alarm monitoring equipment panel located within the City’s Fire Station #1. The new alarm monitoring equipment will allow alarm signals to be sent via radio frequencies versus telephone lines.
The City of Wheaton is a member of DU-COMM, which is a 9-1-1 emergency dispatch center that provides emergency dispatch for a number of municipalities in DuPage County. All member municipalities of DU-COMM were required to use the alarm monitoring contractor of DU-COMM’s choice, which was ADT. Approximately two years ago, DU-COMM changed its bylaws, allowing member municipalities to choose an alarm monitoring company of their choice.
In light of the bylaw change, City staff researched the possibility of migrating to a wireless/radio alarm monitoring system, which is more reliable and a cheaper alternative to transmitting alarm signals than by telephone lines.
The City Council authorized staff to proceed with the development of a Request For Proposal for installation and maintenance of a wireless radio alarm network for the city. The City received four proposals and determined Chicago Metro Fire Prevention Company of Elmhurst best met the City’s needs. Chicago Metro is currently providing the same service to the Lisle/Woodridge Fire Prevention District and the City of Naperville.
Benefits of the Wireless Radio Alarm System
- Improved customer service, since owners will work with one provider: Chicago Metro.
- Elimination of trouble in the alarm signal caused by faulty phone lines.
- Easier to detect an alarm signal problem since telephone lines are no longer part of the picture; therefore, isolating the problem will be simpler.
- Reduction of false alarms generated by faulty telephone lines; it is estimated false alarms will be reduced by 25% to 30% based upon the actual experience of those municipalities who have already migrated to a wireless system.
- Reduced cost for providing alarm monitoring.
Under the current alarm system monitoring arrangement, property owners pay over $108 per month to AT&T for a phone line and $27 to ADT for monthly monitoring. This $135 monthly charge for alarm monitoring will be replaced with a fee to be paid to Chicago Metro Fire of $85 per month. This will save property owners $50 a month, or $600 a year, in alarm monitoring costs.
It is important to note, property owners are still required to maintain fire alarm systems by a licensed fire alarm contractor. This requires regular inspections, testing and maintenance of your fire alarm system. The radio alarm monitoring system fees do not include costs for maintaining your fire alarm system.
It is important for property owners required to maintain a fire alarm system to fill out the Alarm System Monitoring Application, since the application will initiate the process for the actual installation of the radio device on your premises. Please enter your information into the fields provided. At the bottom of the form, you can obtain a copy for your records by clicking "Print Form." Once you have completed the form, click on "Submit Form."
Frequently Asked Questions
To help you better understand the wireless system and how it impacts you, please see the Frequently Asked Questions section.
What to Expect
Once the radio is installed and verified in working order, the applicant will be notified of such and encouraged to immediately contact AT&T to disconnect and terminate telephone service for the fire alarm panel. An invoice will be sent to the applicant, beginning the monthly monitoring fee of $85. The fee will be invoiced and paid on a quarterly basis.
Because there are more than 600 fire alarm panels within the city, Chicago Metro Fire Prevention Company will install approximately 100 alarms a month. At this pace, the entire city should be on the new radio system by February 2011.
The City and Chicago Metro Fire Prevention Company ask for your assistance in arranging an appropriate time for the technicians to enter your premises and install the radio device.
If anyone has any questions regarding the new radio alarm monitoring system, please contact Paula Pohlmann, Chicago Metro Fire Prevention, 630-833-1110 or Sara Bemer, City of Wheaton, 630-260-2019.