Fire Alarm System Troubleshooting Guide

A functioning fire alarm system is essential to ensuring the safety of the people and property connected to your business. An important function of your fire alarm system is its ability to detect and communicate specific problems that could prevent the system from performing the crucial functions it’s meant for. When you’re made aware of an issue with your fire alarm system, it’s imperative to call a professional to assist in fixing the problem as soon as possible. 

In some cases however, you may want to understand a little about your system, what problems it could be facing, and what steps can be taken until a specialist arrives. Read on for a quick guide to troubleshooting your fire alarm system.  

The most likely symptom of a problem you will notice is a beeping coming from the Fire Alarm Control Panel and/or any Remote Annunciators (keypads) on the system. This generally means that there is either a “trouble condition” or a “supervisory control condition.”

What is a Trouble Condition?

A trouble condition is when there is a problem with the fire alarm system equipment itself. This may include issues directly related to your fire alarm system like:

    • System power failures
    • Low system batteries
    • Cut, broken, or disconnected circuit wires
    • Removed devices
    • Dirty smoke detector

What is a Supervisory Condition?

A supervisory condition is an issue with the devices that are connected to the fire alarm system – but still essential to the fire alarm system working correctly . These issues may include things like:

    • Sprinkler valves shutting off water to the system
    • Monitor modules not reporting on the functions of devices like fire pumps
    • Duct detectors not measuring for smoke in your HVAC system which are meant to close dampers or shut down AC units in the event of an emergency 

What You Should Do

To stop the noise, there is generally a button which can be pressed to silence the alarm. Depending on the type of system, the button may be labeled “Silence,” “Trouble Silence,” or “Acknowledge.” This will stop the beeping, but will not solve the problem. These buttons are only meant to allow you to tell the system that you are aware of a problem, muting – not deactivating – the beeping. The tone will return daily until the condition has been corrected and resolved.

Again, it’s critically important that you act quickly to get in touch with a fire alarm system expert  when the system alerts you to a Trouble Condition or Supervisory Condition.


Identifying the Problem

You may be able to identify more information about the specific problem using information from your display panel. This can help in understanding the level of urgency – and to communicate more about the situation to a fire alarm system professional. 

On the control panel, you may have an LCD display that stores all system events. You may be able to access the event and scroll through the provided codes to determine more information about the nature of the alert. 

A flashing LED in the field will indicate where the problem is and that it has not yet been acknowledged. A steady LED means that the event is still in the queue and has been acknowledged but not resolved. You can browse through the events in the queue by pressing the corresponding LED button and then the next or previous message buttons. This will change the LED to steady indicating that you have reviewed the events, but not resolved them. 

It is important to remember that you must keep your fire alarm system free of both trouble and/or supervisory conditions. CFC has been providing expert level fire alarm services to Florida businesses and property owners for more than 30 years. For more information about how we may be able to help you solve your fire alarm systems conditions, please call (800) 741-6507, or click here to submit a form today.