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Why Central Station Monitoring is So Important Today

In today’s world, central station monitoring is more important than ever. In almost every jurisdiction, fire alarm monitoring by a central station monitoring facility is required by local fire code. Furthermore, the expansion of building fire alarm and security systems makes central station monitoring a critical component for a property’s safety and security plan. In this article, we will examine the most commonly provided forms of central station monitoring and how they work.

What is Central Station Alarm Monitoring?

Traditional alarm monitoring is when a central monitoring facility receives signals from a customer’s premise (for fire alarm and/or burglar alarm) via a communication path. Communication paths can provide signals over different technologies such as the Internet, Digital Cellular and/or Phone Line. A signal received by the central station will be used to notify the appropriate authority of an alarm condition or a person of an alarm or trouble condition.

How Does Monitoring Work?

When a fire or security system recognizes a signal, a signal is sent over the internet, digital cellular service, and/or phone line(s) to a monitoring facility. At the central station monitoring facility, there are live operators available 24 hours a day who are ready to react to an alarm or trouble condition. The operators will assess the situation and alert the proper authorities as well as emergency contacts. While any facility can say they monitor alarms, it is important that the central station monitoring facility used has been Listed or Approved by a Nationally recognized testing laboratory such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL) or Factory Mutual (FM). These organizations test the operations of monitoring and service providers to make sure they operate in accordance with the appropriate National Standards and/or local Codes.


  • Fire alarm monitoring offers many benefits for your facility including: 
  • Peace of mind that your building’s system is being monitored even if no one is on site. 
  • Response to an alarm condition, even during non-business hours 
  • Alerting of the authorities promptly upon receipt of a signal even when building occupants are unable to call 911 
  • Monitoring of trouble and supervisory signals for fire alarm, sprinkler alarm and other related systems. 


When you set up central station monitoring at your facility, there are many different types of alarm functions that can be monitored including:

  • Alarm activation 
  • Fire alarm systems 
  • Fire pump signals 
  • Sprinkler flow alarms 
  • Sprinkler systems 
  • Suppression and special hazard systems 
  • Suppression system discharge 
  • Tamper, supervisory/trouble 
  • Critical process alarms 
  • Hold-up alarms 
  • Openings and closings 
  • Temperature alarms 


Since 1873, AFA Protective Systems has provided monitoring services to its customers making AFA the longest running central station operation in the country. Our UL Listed, FM Approved and FDNY approved central station facilities are staffed with trained and skilled operators who are certified to receive and respond to alarm and trouble conditions 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. AFA operates multiple company-owned central station facilities with built in redundancies to ensure uninterrupted levels of service. With AFA, you can have confidence knowing that your property will receive a prompt and efficient response in the event of an alarm or trouble condition. Contact us to learn more about our fire alarm monitoring services!

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