President's Columnby William McLaughlin

President's Column

by William McLaughlin

Lowell Fire Dept. is changing their city boxes to Radio Master Box System.
Please see letter below from City of Lowell, Edward Pitts, Lowell Fire Chief for options.

To Whom It May Concern:
This letter is in reference to your connection to the City of Lowell Municipal
Fire Alarm System for the following property:

The current Gamewell Fire Alarm Box System connects all fire boxed in the city to the Dispatch Center via telegraph wires. Because of its age, this system is becoming increasingly difficult to maintain and is not economically feasible to replace. However, new technology has resulted in a more reliable fire alarm system which connects fire alarm boxes to the Dispatch Center by the use of radio signals as opposed to the telegraph wires.

The City of Lowell issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) from all qualified vendors to furnish and install a comprehensive, complete-in-place, and operational Radio Fire Alarm System for all municipal buildings. Proposals were reviewed, interviews conducted, and the selection committee awarded a contract to East Coast Security Services of Salem, NH.

New Keltron radio fire alarm receivers, capable of monitoring both the current telegraph system and the new radio box system, have been installed in the 9-1-1 Communications Center and all the municipal buildings in the City have been converted to Keltron radio fire alarm boxes.

Effective January 1, 2011, the City of Lowell will not be responsible for maintaining and supervising the Gamewell Fire Alarm System. The Massachusetts State Building Cods requires the supervision of all fire suppression systems and fire protection signaling systems required by that code (780 CMR 907.14 Supervising); therefore, you are strongly encouraged to convert your wired master fire alarm box to a radio fire alarm box as soon as possible.

Option #1 (Recommended by the City of Lowell Fire Department)
Replace your current Gamewell fire alarm box with a Keltron radio alarm box which will be directly monitored by the City of Lowell 9-1-1 Communications Center, just as it is today. Beginning January 1, 2011, the City of Lowell will charge an annual monitoring fee of $275.00 for each radio box. The Keltron Radio Boxes are provided by East Coast Security Services (ECSS) of Salem, NH (800-639-2086) and may be installed by ECSS or any competent, licensed installer. The cost is $2,475.00*per box. Only radio fire alarm box obtained from ECSS are eligible to be connected to the City of Lowell Communications Center. *Radio box only – does not include installation, permit fees, final inspections, etc.
IMPORTANT – In accordance with 527 CMR 24.07(3)(b), residential properties containing more than twelve (12) separate living units must choose Option #1.

Option #2
Property may be monitored by a central alarm company. Central alarm companies receive fire alarm signals from protected properties, usually via a dedicated, telephone line, and in turn call the fire department in the city or town from which the alarm was received to notify then of the alarm activation. Central alarm companies:

• Do not provide as immediate a response as being directly connected to the Fire Department dispatch center. The law allows a central station company to take up to ninety (90) seconds to notify the fire department after they receive an alarm.
• Charge an annual/monthly subscription fee separate from the dedicated telephone line.
May not be located in the same city, state, or even country as the protected property.
For more information and to obtain a Radio Box Application, call the Lowell Fire Prevention Bureau at 978-459-5554. Please confirm receipt of this mailing and indicate which option you will choose by calling Fire Prevention or emailing [email protected]. Thank you in advance for your cooperation during this.

Edward Pitta
Lowell Fire Chief