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Comment on when is a Sensor Trouble Signal Not A Fire Trouble

May 30, 2024
Comment on when is a Sensor Trouble Signal Not A Fire Trouble Signal from article on May 18, 2024
A simple question on May 7, 2024 about an E380 report received a pretty good “general” response from Joe Pfefer on May 18/24.  I would like to add some further information and perhaps provide a definitive answer to the question.
The “E380” is a Contact-ID event code that is simply defined as a “sensor trouble”.  It is only an event code and not a complete report received by the central station automation system.
An “E380” Sensor Trouble can be received from any device connected to the panel if properly wired and programmed.  A broken zone wire to a motion detector can send a E380.
A complete Contact-ID report is comprised of the following important information and looks like this:  CCCC 18 Q EEE GG ZZZ where:
CCCC   The Client Code – 4 digits
18        Message Type - Instruction to the receiver that the signal is being received in Contact-ID format – Generally the digits “18”
Q         A qualifier indicating whether it is a NEW alarm or a RESTORE.  (Q = 1 – New Alarm, Q = 3 -Restore,  Q = 6 – Previously Reported)
EEE     The Event Code – in this case “380” which is a sensor trouble.
GG      Two digits to define the “Area” – partition – group within the panel.  (Two digits 0 – 9 and B – F)
ZZZ     Three Digits that indicate the actual zone where the sensor trouble came from.
(There are spaces added for clarity in the Contact-ID report example shown above but in actual fact the full report is 15 digits plus a checksum digit that is used to confirm that all digits were received properly.  Arming and Disarming reports follow a similar format where Q = 1 – Disarm, Q = 3 – Arming and ZZZ is the User Number)
In the automation each zone should have some description (Burg Front Door, High Water Basement Sump, Front Hall Smoke Detector, etc.)
Therefore there should be no need to notify the fire service about NON FIRE RELATED sensor troubles!  According to NFPA the fire service should be notified for a FIRE related sensor trouble.
In my experience I have found that the fire service is not interested in sensor troubles or any troubles related to fire alarm systems but maybe I live a sheltered life.  In Canada we are not required to notify the fire service of trouble signals unless they specifically request..
Dave Currie
Damar Security Systems
            I think NFPA and local laws adopting it require notice if the fire alarm is off line, for any reason, for more than a specific amount of time, I think 8 hours.  [fire alarm experts are welcome to chime in].  But you are correct that not all signals need to be reported to the fire department.

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