Monitoring Customers

General Information

 Fire Alarm Monitoring Services - Tech conducting testing at site

Do I Need a DBA?

The requirement within Western Australia to have a DFES Direct Brigade Alarm (DBA) may be prescribed under legislation through the Building Code of Australia (BCA). If your premises are deemed to require monitoring under the code, failure to be monitored may make the building unlawful to occupy. Some clients elect to have a DBA outside of legislative requirements for insurance purposes or for additional peace of mind.

Customers wishing to make enquiries about the requirement for a DBA connection should contact their Local Government/ Council authority or their building insurer.

Who Provides the DBA Services?

DFES are the sole provider for DBA/ fire alarm monitoring services in Western Australia.
DFES have engaged Chubb Fire Safety Pty to conduct fire alarm monitoring and provide customer services to all the DFES DBA customers across WA.

Who are FAMS and What Do They Do?

Please refer to the FAMS section of the site for more information.

What Happens to the Signals from my FIP and What Notifications Will I Receive?

FIP Signal Signal Status Action by DFES Action by FAMS
Common Alarm Activation Primary Alarm Incident coordination & appliance (crew) attendance None
Common Fault Activation Fault None Nominated contacts notified
Isolate of Zone/ Device Isolate None None
Sprinkler Alarm Activation Primary Alarm Incident coordination & appliance (crew) attendance None
Sub Indicator Board (SIB) Alarm Activation Primary Alarm Incident coordination & appliance (crew) attendance None
Gas Detection Alarm Activation Primary Alarm Incident coordination & appliance (crew) attendance None
Gas Suppression/ Discharge Alarm Activation Primary Alarm Incident coordination & appliance (crew) attendance None
Pump Activation Secondary Alarm None Nominated contacts notified
Pump Fault Fault None Nominated contacts notified
Water Tank Low Warning Secondary Alarm None Nominated contacts notified
Low Water Pressure Warning Secondary Alarm None Nominated contacts notified
Valve Tamper Warning Tamper Alert None Nominated contacts notified
Low Battery Warning Fault Alert None Nominated contacts notified

Do FAMS Service my Fire System?

No. Each site will have their own contracted fire service agent. FAMS only provide fire alarm monitoring services.
Each Fire Indicator Panel (FIP) will have a service log book which should contain details of the organisation which conducts the regular testing and maintenance.

Customer wanting more information about industry-qualified fire service agents should contact:
FPAA Fire Protection Association Australia (www.fpaa.com.au)
NFIA National Fire Industry Association (www.nfia.com.au)

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Responsibilities

DBA customers are responsible for:

  • Execution and return of a signed End User Agreement
  • Payment of DFES annual monitoring fees
  • Maintenance of the fire detection/ suppression system
    • Conducted through a contracted fire service agent
  • Provision of an adequate environment ensuring the safety and ongoing operation of the ASE

In addition, customers must notify FAMS for any of the following changes:

  • Change of building name
  • Change of building use/ purpose
  • Change of building owner/ occupier/ tenant (indicating change of EUA signatory or DBA billing contact)
    • Including changes to billing contacts or postal information
  • Change of building contacts (for FAMS notifications)
    • Including change of strata/ property manager
  • Changes to the Fire System
    • Usually conducted through a contracted fire service agent
    • Including commencement of any construction or site works (including demolition)

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End User Agreement (EUA)

DFES require that all customers with a monitored DBA have a signed End User Agreement (EUA) on file with FAMS. The EUA is the legal contract between DFES and the DBA/ monitoring client to commence or continue providing monitoring of your fire alarm system. This agreement undertook a major revision in 2010 following equipment and network upgrades. Previous versions of this agreement placed all liability onto clients. The revised version of this contract shares reasonable liability between the client and DFES.

The agreement has State Solicitor’s Office approval and is not subject to change requests or negotiations.

For new DBA connections, ASE installation will not occur until the customer has returned the signed EUA and this agreement has been accepted by FAMS for execution by DFES signatories.

For existing DBA connections, customers without a signed EUA on file, DFES may elect to commence disconnection proceedings. DFES are not obligated to continue provision of fire alarm monitoring services for sites which fail to (or refuse to) enter into an agreement with DFES.

A blank, sample copy of the EUA can be found in the Monitoring Customers’ Document Library.

Customers who are unsure of the status of their site’s EUA, or wishing to obtain a copy of the signed EUA should contact FAMS.

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New Connections

Customers wishing to apply for a new DBA connection should contact the fire service agent who installed/ commissioned the system. FAMS will only accept new DBA applications from FPAA/ NFIA accredited member fire service organisations.

Mandatory pre-requisites for a new DBA connection include:

  1. Submission of C1 form by fire service agent
    • Prepayment required if Client nominated to pay for DBA Connection Fees
  2. Return of signed End User Agreement
  3. Return of the PSTN Order Authorisation Form
    • Prepayment for DBA Connection fees required prior to PSTN order submission to Telstra if Client nominated to pay for DBA Connection Fees
  4. Return of the C6 form by the fire service agent
    • Including all required supplementary forms, compliance documentation and third party certifications (in accordance with relevant Australian Standards)
  5. Compliance inspection and approval from DFES DBA Contract Manager
    • Certifying fire system install is in accordance with relevant Australian Standards
  6. Installation of DFES PSTN line
    • Or submission and approval from DFES for wireless-only connection (NBN site) or temporary use of client line)

Only sites which meet all of the above pre-requisites will then be scheduled for ASE installation and DBA connection.
 Fire Alarm Monitoring Services - New DBA Connection Process

Fees for new connections can be found in the Fees section of the site or the Fees Schedule can be found in the Monitoring Customers’ Document Library.

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DBA Changes

The End User Agreement and conditions of DBA connection stipulate that monitoring customers provide DFES (and thereby, FAMS) with notification of any changes affecting the DBA service.

The customer (or via the strata/ property manager or fire service agent) must advise FAMS in writing as notification of any of the following changes:

  • Change of building name
    • Method of notification: submission of C3 form
  • Change of building use/ purpose
    • Method of notification: submission of C3 form
  • Change of building owner/ occupier/ tenant (indicating change of EUA signatory or DBA billing contact)
    • Including changes to billing contacts or postal information
    • Method of notification: submission of C2 form
  • Change of building contacts (for FAMS notifications)
    • Including change of strata/ property manager
    • Method of notification: submission of C3 form
  • Changes to the Fire System
    • Usually conducted through a contracted fire service agent
    • Including commencement of any construction or site works (including demolition)
    • Method of notification: submission of C6 or C8 form

Fire System Changes:

A C6 form is required to be submitted by the contracted fire service agent if any of the following work is planned:

  • FIP changeover (replacement)
  • FIP relocation
  • FIP add (or amendment) to monitoring functions and inputs

A C8 form is required to be submitted by the contracted fire service agent for all other work being undertaken at the monitored site.

Details about the requirement for the C6 and C8 forms can be found in the Fire Service Agents section of the site or in the DBA Code which can be found in the Fire Service Agents’ Document Library.

All forms should be submitted directly to FAMS for processing. Any enquires regarding the requirement of form submission or general enquiries about changes to a DBA should be directed to FAMS.

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Account Management

Fees

Fees Schedule is available from the Monitoring Customers’ Document Library.

Billing

Invoices for annual monitoring fees are issued in July as a single invoice for the coming financial year period.
Invoices for chargeable work (including new connections, upgrades/maintenance and faults) are issued at the end of each month in which the work was conducted.

Standard payment terms are 30 days.

Payments

Payments can be made by the following methods:

Cheques:
Made Payable to: DFES DIRECT BRIGADE ALARMS
Must include remittance slip from invoice to identify invoice number, billing number and invoice amount for reconciliation. Write invoice number and contact details on reverse of cheque.

Posted to: Fire Alarm Monitoring Services
PO Box 3238 Success WA 6964
Delivered to: Fire Alarm Monitoring Services
C/- Chubb Fire Safety Pty Ltd
120 Cutler Rd Jandakot WA 6164
Credit card
Online: www.bpoint.com.au/payments/dfes
Telephone: Phone 1300 793 722
Electronic Funds Transfer
Bank: Commonwealth Bank
BSB: 066 003
Account: 1025 0450
Account name: DFES Direct Brigade Alarm Account
Must use invoice number as payment reference to identify invoice being paid
Send remittance advice/ slips to:
Fax: (08) 9499 7885
Email: [email protected]

Debt Recovery

Customers will receive several payment reminders in addition to a monthly account statement before outstanding debts are referred to DFES’ nominated debt collection agency.

The EUA includes provisions for DFES to recover from customers the costs of debt recovery where required.

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Disconnections

A DBA may be disconnected under several circumstances:
Voluntary:

  • Building scheduled for demolition
  • Building purpose reclassified – new purpose does not require DBA
  • Cancellation of optional monitoring

Involuntary:

  • Non compliance of fire system/ site
  • Non payment of annual fees
  • Failure (or refusal) to enter into End User Agreement

DFES will not monitor ongoing construction sites where access for attending fire crews is difficult or unsafe in any way. Queries regarding monitoring of sites under construction (or having major work undertaken) should be referred to the DBA Contract Manager. Contact details can be found in the Contacts section of this site.

The pre-requisites for DBA disconnection may include:

  • Submission of C4 Disconnection Request form) to FAMS
  • Approval from DFES:
    • For voluntary disconnections by DFES DBA Contract Manager
    • For involuntary disconnections by DFES DBA Contract Manager and possibly DFES Commissioner

DBA disconnection can have several unintended ramifications. All customers considering DBA disconnection, or who have received Intent of Disconnection or Disconnection notices from DFES should investigate:

  • Impact to Building Occupancy status (with local government/ council and Building Code of Australia)
  • Impact to insurance coverage

Disconnections are subject to standard call out fees in order for the FAMS technician to recover the DFES-owned ASE unit and other equipment. Either the signatory on the C4 form or the registered biller for that site may be invoiced for a disconnection, depending on the specific circumstances of the disconnection. The fee schedule can be found in the Monitoring Customers’ Document Library.

A copy of the C4 form can be found in the Monitoring Customers’ Document Library.

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Introduction of False Fire Alarm Fee

Please visit the following link for further information;

http://www.dfes.wa.gov.au/safetyinformation/fire/businessandindustry/Pages/firealarmmonitoringservices.aspx

* Please note the information on this site will be updated periodically to provide further information throughout the pilot project.

The Department of Fire & Emergency Services (DFES) is committed to reducing the number of false fire alarms attended to each year. A false fire alarm is when DFES attends a premise in response to an alarm where there is no fire or other emergency. False fire alarms disrupt the community; cause complacency and business down time due to evacuations, and divert responders away from genuine emergencies, which could potentially lead to loss of life and property. DFES is legally required by the Fire Brigades Act 1942 to attend to a call of fire.

In the 2013-14 financial year, DFES responded to a total of 30,921 incidents. Of those, 10,367 were false fire alarms, which equates to approximately 28 unwanted alarm attendances each day. These alarms can be broken down into two groups: those that are Direct Brigade Alarms (DBAs) and those that are generated by privately monitored alarms.

DBA is the term used where an automatic signaling device is installed and connected to an alarm system that provides a direct link to the DFES Communications Centre (COMCEN). A privately monitored alarm is where an installed alarm system is monitored by an alternate monitoring company therefore does not provide a direct link to the DFES COMCEN. In this instance, the chosen private monitoring company must dial “000” to request a response by DFES.

DFES has conducted a review of all policies and procedures relating to the requirement for DFES crews to respond to repetitive false fire alarm activations at both DBA and privately monitored premises. As a result of the review, from July 2015, DFES will commence charging a fee of $750 for the attendance to DBA premises where the alarm activation is deemed false. It is intended that the same fee will be applied to privately monitored alarms at a future date.

DFES will make allowance for three (3) false alarm attendances within the same financial year before a fee will be charged. Multiple attendances that occur within the same 24 hour period will only be calculated as one (1) attendance, to allow premise owners/occupants time to rectify the issues causing the unwanted alarm activations.

It is important all detectors are installed correctly, are sufficient and adequate to the current floor plan, the premise layout and building purpose, and are maintained in accordance with Australian Standard (AS)1851.

In April 2015 DFES will commence a pilot project to trial its systems prior to the false fire alarm fee being implemented. As part of the pilot project, a “Notification of Attendance” slip will be left with a responsible person or in the Fire Indicator Panel whenever DFES attends a fire alarm activation which is considered to be false.

It is recommended that all alarm activations are recorded to help identify and mitigate any issues causing unwanted activations. DFES recommends the issues causing the alarm activations are addressed and rectified as a matter of urgency to avoid a fee being issued.

Authority to charge for false fire alarms

The Fire and Emergency Services Act 1998, section 36ZL allows DFES to issue a fee to the owner or the occupant for the attendance to false alarms. Further information regarding the legislation can be accessed here.

Main causes of false fire alarms

Some things that regularly trigger false fire alarms are:

  • Poor building maintenance
  • Detectors are inappropriately placed and installed
  • Detectors are inadequate for their intended purpose
  • Detectors are dirty and require cleaning
  • Burnt toast
  • Smoke from burning food
  • Steam from cooking
  • Steam from showers
  • Aerosol sprays i.e. deodorant and hair spray
  • Cigarettes/candles
  • Workmen/contractors
  • ‘Break Glass’ alarm damage

Tips to reduce false fire alarms

Some detectors are extremely sensitive; however some very simple steps can be taken to assist in reducing the number of false fire alarms, for example:

  • Switching on fans and opening vents and windows before cooking or showering.
  • Knowing where all detectors are installed and ensuring all reasonable measures are taken to avoid false alarm activations.
  • Ensuring workmen and contractors notify you that they are on site to carry out work. Specific and surrounding zones may need to be isolated so dust, fumes, spraying or steam cleaning don’t set alarms off.

Contact Us

For further information on the introduction of the false fire alarm fee please refer to the attached Frequently Asked Questions or contact the project team:

Telephone:    08 9395 9553

08 9395 9509

Email:             [email protected]

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a false alarm?

Why is DFES introducing a fee for attending to false alarms?

What is the aim of introducing the fee?

How much will the fee be?

How is DFES able to charge for an attendance to a false alarm?

How frequently are alarms being set off?

Is Western Australia the only State that charges a fee for attending to false alarms?

Whose responsibility is it to maintain fire alarm systems?

How many false alarms can happen before I receive an invoice?

Who will receive the invoice?

What if I’m not the correct/current owner or occupant of the premise?

What if I don’t agree with an invoice I’ve received?

 

What is a false alarm?

False alarms occur when Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) is alerted to attend a premise in response to an alarm, where there is no fire or other emergency.

 

Why is DFES introducing a fee for attending to false alarms?

There are multiple reasons why DFES is introducing a fee for an attendance to a false alarm. Reducing the number of false alarms which firefighters attend will help to resolve the following problems:

  • The ineffective use of departmental resources, which means that DFES is not servicing the community as required.
  • The increased risk to firefighters and the community when firefighting vehicles are driven under emergency road conditions with lights and sirens.
  • Firefighters are unable to attend to a genuine emergency if they are attending to a false fire alarm. This leads to alternate fire crews from other areas being directed to the genuine emergency which only delays the response time.
  • To bring Western Australia into line with other State and Territories which already charge a fee for false alarms.

 

What is the aim of introducing the fee?

The aim of introducing the fee is to encourage owners and occupants to take all appropriate steps to avoid false fire alarm activations occurring at their premise. Owners and occupants need to understand their responsibilities where a monitored fire alarm system is installed within their premise.

Owners and occupants of privately monitored premises need to understand the level of service provided by their chosen monitoring company, to determine what action will be taken by the monitoring company if an alarm activates at your premise. For example, would you prefer your monitoring company to call you prior to calling “000”? DFES is legislatively required to attend to a call of fire. A “000” call is an alert that requests an emergency response. If DFES is contacted, they are required to attend, therefore if the call is determined to be a false alarm, an invoice will be issued for the attendance.

How much will the fee be?

DFES will charge a fee of $750 per false alarm attendance; however, if multiple attendances occur within the same 24 hour period, this will only be calculated as one (1) attendance. This is to allow premise owners/occupiers time to rectify the issues causing the unwanted alarm activations.

How is DFES able to charge for an attendance to a false alarm?

The power to charge a fee for the attendance in response to a false alarm exists under section 36ZL of the Fire and Emergency Services Act 1998. Further information regarding the legislation can be accessed here.

How frequently are alarms being set off?

In the 2013-14 financial year, firefighters responded to a total of 30,921 incidents. Of those incidents, 10,367 were to false alarm activations. This equates to approximately 28 false alarm attendances each day.

Is Western Australia the only State that charges a fee for attending to false alarms?

No. Western Australia is the last State to introduce a fee. All other States within Australia charge for false alarm attendances and have done so for many years.

Whose responsibility is it to maintain fire alarm systems?

Both the owner and the occupant are responsible for ensuring the installed fire alarm system and detectors are correctly installed, suitably placed, are regularly maintained and comply with Australian Standard (AS) 1851.

They must also ensure fire alarm systems are sufficient and adequate to the current floor plan, premise layout and purpose of the building.

How many false alarms can happen before I receive an invoice?

Allowance will be made for three (3) false alarm attendances to a premise per financial year. Invoices will be issued upon the fourth (4th) false alarm attendance and every false alarm attendance thereafter; however if multiple attendances occur within the same 24 hour period, they will only be calculated as one (1) attendance. This is to allow time to have the issues causing the unwanted alarm rectified.

 

Who will receive the invoice?

Under legislation, DFES can issue the invoice to the owner or the occupant of the premise, however for a DBA premise, DFES will issue the invoice to the party identified as the client.

What if I’m not the correct/current owner or occupant of the premise?

For DBA premises, you will need to contact DFES to update your details. As per the End User Agreement between DFES and the client, it remains the responsibility of the client (whether new or old) to notify DFES of any change in ownership and contact details.

For a privately monitored premise, you will need to contact your chosen monitoring company to determine the terms of the monitoring contract and whom the contract is held with.

What if I don’t agree with an invoice I’ve received?

You will have the opportunity to appeal an invoice and further details will be made available once DFES commences charging the fee.