Alarm Signalling Equipment (ASE)

Overview

Fire Alarm Monitoring Services - ASE Unit & Display

The primary purpose of the ASE is to monitor fire alarm signals to the fire brigade. The Code Red Alarm Signalling Equipment (ASE) unit consists of:

  • Main ASE unit (with iButton)
  • LCD Display
  • Antennae

The ASE is a proprietary product with the design owned by Chubb Fire Safety Pty Ltd. The ASE is only available within WA by new connection authorisation from DFES.

Once installed at a site, the ASE remains the property of DFES and operates under warranty. This warranty protects DFES’ customers against issues arising with the ASE and ensures compliance with Australian Standards and legislative requirements. Any unit failures of the ASE or communication links are investigated by FAMS within strict SLA targets. Chargeable service calls are limited to damage to the ASE which may arise from factors beyond the control of DFES such as storm/ water damage, vandalism or interference with the ASE by third parties.

The ASE is capable of monitoring many signals from a single ASE unit. In addition, the ASE may be used to monitor other signals which do not call the fire brigade, but can be used to alert a site of potential problems with the fire system. The ASE can monitor any or all of the following signals from the monitored FIP:

  • Common Alarm
  • Common Fault (non brigade)
  • FIP/ Zone Isolate (non brigade)
  • Sprinkler/ Sub Board/ Gas Alarms
  • Pump Run/ Fault Secondary Alarms (non brigade)
  • Tank Low Secondary Alarm (non brigade)
  • Water Pressure Secondary Alarm (non brigade)
  • Valve Tamper Secondary Alarm (non brigade)
  • Low Battery fault (non brigade)

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Communications

The ASE has an internal SIM card which it uses to communicate signals via a wireless primary link (similar to a mobile phone). DFES also install a PSTN (ordinary fixed telephone line) at the sites Main Distribution Frame (MDF). This line is connected to the FIP via internal fire-rated cabling.

In circumstances where the primary link is unavailable (poor reception; cell tower congestion/ outage, etc) – the secondary link PSTN line is automatically used for communication.

Fire Alarm Monitoring Services - Signal Transmission

When the ASE receives a signal from the FIP relays it is automatically transmitted to the server database at DFES. Alarm signals are automatically received at DFES ComCen for processing and appliance turnout. All other signals are routed to the FAMS monitoring centre where the Customer Service Centre (CSC) staff will call to notify the site’s nominated contacts.

The FAMS monitoring centre constantly monitor the status of all ASE units in the network. Persistent primary (wireless) link fails are investigated by a FAMS technician for remedial action. A fault/ failure in the secondary link PSTN is firstly reported to Telstra by FAMS for investigation. Telstra will either repair the fault or advise of no issues found. If no issues are found by Telstra on a faulty/ failed PSTN – then FAMS will give the client the option to either have their fire service agent or the FAMS technician next investigate. If the fault or failure has originated from the ASE, the FAMS technician will take remedial action at no charge to the client. The client will be charged a service call from DFES if a FAMS technician is requested and the fault is found on the clients’ side of the system infrastructure.

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Operation

ASE Unit, Display & iButton

Fire Alarm Monitoring Services - ASE Unit, Display & iButton     Fire Alarm Monitoring Services - ASE Unit, Display & iButton

The ASE unit is easy to operate. Additional technical support is also provided 24/7 by the FAMS CSC.

The ASE can be toggled between the 3 modes by operation of the iButton key (often referred to as a “fob”). There are 2 types of iButtons:

  • Red – issued to a site and to remain on premises with the FIP at all times.
  • Black – issued to individuals (technicians, wardens, facilities managers, etc).

By placing the iButton key onto the key reader of the ASE display, the user can place the ASE into one of 3 operating modes. These operating modes are:

  • Normal
  • Test
  • Isolate

Offline Mode:

The ASE is only placed into Offline mode in specific circumstances.

During Offline mode, the ASE transmits data to the FAMS server and databases, but no signals are transmitted to either FAMS operators or DFES Comcen operators for action (with exception of ASE communication faults).

A site (or system) may only be placed into Offline mode by a FAMS operator. The Offline mode may only be reset by a FAMS operator and does not time out automatically after a certain period of time.

Reasons a site (or single monitored system) may be placed in Offline mode:

  • New Connection – 24 hour test period
    • To ensure system stability and prevent false alarms whilst building works are completed
    • Standard procedure for all new DBA connections
  • System faults
    • Continuous faults generating false alarms for DFES Comcen
    • Requires DBA Contract Manager or Comcen Supervisor approval
  • Continued Communications Fail
    • Standard procedure for any site in total and continuous  communications fail for a period longer than 24 hours
  • Non Compliance
    • Where a site is found to be non-compliance with relevant Australian Standards or found to be in breach of the DFES DBA Code
    • Requires DBA Contract Manager approval

Normal Mode:

This is the default status mode of the ASE unit. When the ASE is in Normal mode, the LCD display will show the word “NORMAL”. In this mode, all alarm events and secondary alarms/ faults are transmitted to DFES Comcen and FAMS monitoring centre respectively.

Test Mode:

The ASE is placed into Test mode by placing the iButton on the reader and then removed when the words “ASE ISO?” are displayed. After several seconds the ASE LCD display will show “TEST”. In Test mode, the ASE does not transmit any signals to DFES Comcen or the FAMS monitoring centre. It does however transmit the signals to the database table, storing them for future reference. This means the FAMS CSC staff are able to see current activity and previous activity in the ASE’s report viewer.

Test mode is useful when conducting regular scheduled testing and can be used by fire service agents to provide evidence of testing to clients. However, because the ASE is not in Normal (transmission) mode, any true fire events should be manually notified to DFES Comcen by dialling 000.

If not placed back into Normal mode during this time, the ASE will automatically revert to Normal mode after two (2) hours.

To manually place the ASE back into Normal mode from Test mode, place the iButton key onto the key reader and remove after several seconds. The ASE LCD display will show “ASE NORMAL” to indicate the change of mode status.

Isolate Mode:

The ASE is placed into Isolate mode by placing the iButton on the reader and pressing the ISOLATE/RESET buttong when the words “ASE ISO?” are displayed. After several seconds the ASE LCD display will show “ISOLATE”. In Isolate mode, the ASE does not transmit any signals to DFES Comcen or the FAMS monitoring centre. Nor does it transmit the signals to the database table (as in Test mode). This means the FAMS CSC staff are unable to see any current or previous activity in the ASE’s report viewer.

Isolate mode can be useful when conducting maintenance or reparative work on the fire system. However, because the ASE is not in Normal (transmission) mode, any true fire events should be manually notified to DFES Comcen by dialling 000.

If not placed back into Normal mode during this time, the ASE will automatically revert to Normal mode after twelve (12) hours.

To manually place the ASE back into Normal mode from Isolate mode, place the iButton key onto the key reader and remove after several seconds. The ASE LCD display will show “ASE NORMAL” to indicate the change of mode status.

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Reporting

The FAMS monitoring software allows operators to retrieve data from individual ASE units to show recorded historical data. In the sie report mechanism, the ASE can record:

ASE Mode Signal Type Recorded in FAMS Report Transmitted to FAMS Operators for Action Notes
Normal ASE mode changes Yes Yes
Normal Communications faults and restorations (3G and PSTN) Yes Yes
Normal Alarm, Fault & Isolate signals Yes Yes
Normal iButton scan activity Yes No
Test ASE mode changes Yes No
Test Communications faults and restorations (3G and PSTN) Yes No
Test Alarm, Fault & Isolate signals Yes No
Test iButton scan activity Yes No
Isolate ASE mode changes Yes No
Isolate Communications faults and restorations (3G and PSTN) Yes No
Isolate Alarm, Fault & Isolate signals No No Only reports status of inputs as ASE comes out of ISO mode
Isolate iButton scan activity Yes No
Offline ASE mode changes Yes No
Offline Communications faults and restorations (3G and PSTN) Yes Yes
Offline Alarm, Fault & Isolate signals Yes No No action taken by DFES Comcen on any signals during Offline Mode
Offline iButton scan activity Yes No

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Australian Standards

Fire Alarm Monitoring Services - Code Red, Australian Standards

The Code Red ASE unit is fully compliant to Australian Standard 4428.6 (1997).
Copies of the Standard may be purchased online at www.saiglobal.com

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