October is Fire Prevention Month

October Fire Prevention Week

Midwest Alarm Services and fire departments everywhere would like to remind you that October is Fire Prevention Month. This year's campaign, in conjunction with NFPA's fire prevention week, is designed to educate people about the importance of knowing how to prevent fires in the kitchen.

More fires start in the kitchen than any other part of the home or business. Having a properly maintained and functioning fire alarm system, fire extinguisher or suppression system should be part of your prevention planning as well. Contact your local Midwest Alarm Services representative for more information about the inspection services we offer.

New Product Spotlight: Cellular Dialers Eliminate Need for 2 Phone Lines

Cell Dialer

Honeywell's IPGSM-4G Fire Alarm Communicator represents a leading edge communications solution for monitoring Fire Alarm systems. Employing a combination of Internet and/or GSM cellular communications, the difficulties of traditional POTS phone lines are now a thing of the past. Its fast, secure and effective alarm communications technology allows the connection to any Contact-ID fire panel and easily installs using Alarmnet. This is what Fire Marshals have asked for— multi-path fire communications for faster and more reliable connectivity. It also saves recurring job-site costs when dedicated phone lines are replaced, making the IPGSM-4G a product that truly pays for itself!

Contractors Corner - Fire Alarm Submittal Process

How long does it take to get submittals engineered by Midwest and approved by the fire authority?

It's a common question we get and one that we don't really have a pat answer for.  Here's the scoop:  With a normal workload our engineering department has a 1 to 2 week backlog of work.  Why so long?  You might be surprised to know that even the smallest of projects take about four hours to engineer.  Each one is unique with its equipment and the voltage drop and battery calculations we are required to supply to the fire authorities.  Large projects may take a week or more to engineer depending on their size.  When work is slower, turn-around time is quicker.  When our backlog is full, we have additional engineering resources we can turn to for help.  In all cases, we strive to have your submittal complete in two weeks.

Engineering is step one.  Step two is getting it to the fire authority and having it reviewed.  The day we complete the submittal it is hand delivered or sent UPS to the appropriate jurisdiction.  Review times vary by municipality but most indicate plan reviews will be complete within 10 working days.  Sometimes we get them returned more quickly, other times it has taken longer.  It's easy to see that the possibility of four weeks of engineering and review time can impact a project's timeline, especially on smaller fast-track projects.  Keep in mind that some jurisdictions will not allow any work on the fire alarm system until the review is complete. The review fee by municipalities can be doubled in some circumstances if the protocol is not met.  Electrical and general contractors often ask us to call the fire authorities for the purpose of expediting the review.  We are very reluctant to do this. In our business, we must maintain a good working relationship with the fire authorities and would be calling them on a daily basis if we started making these calls.

What's the answer?  Get Midwest Alarm Services involved with your project as early as possible.  We will do everything we can to make your project run smoothly and complete in a timely manner. 

New Midwest Alarm Services Technician (Wisconsin)

Jeff Shafer

Midwest Alarm Services is proud to announce the newest member of our ever growing team, Jeff Shafer. Jeff is the lead technician based in our Eau Claire, Wisconsin office. Jeff grew up on the West Coast and moved to Wisconsin in 1973. He has been in the alarm industry since 1977 and has accumulated a vast amount of knowledge and experience has filled many roles over the years. Most recently Jeff was the Operations Manager for Per Mar Security in Eau Claire.

Jeff and his wife Patricia are proud parents to Hannah and Nathaniel who both live in the Madison, WI area. In his free time, Jeff enjoys reading, biking, snowshoeing, being a grandpa, and smoking large quantities of fatty meat. Please join us in welcoming Jeff Shafer.