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Local Communications Failure Annunciation: What is the Best Way to Meet NFPA Requirements?

By Aaron McGhee
Product Manager of DMP Control Panels

Cellular alarm communicators aren’t made with keypads, nor are they designed with annunciators. But if there’s a communications failure for any reason on a fire system, the National Fire Protection Association requires the cellular communicators to sound a local annunciation. What’s the best way to comply? Here are your options.

When you’re updating an existing fire system that’s not DMP, our CellCom LTE Fire Alarm Communicator makes it easy to capture and convert Contact ID dialer signals to DMP format. Even with older panels, as long as they support Contact ID, this simple communications add-on can deliver full alarm communication via a cellular connection directly with DMP receivers. As for NFPA’s requirement to ensure annunciation at the site, that may not appear to be as easy. As you know, in some cases where our universal communicators are used, the host panel is locked, making it impossible to program a zone to a keypad. You need a solution to work in every case. Here are two:

#1) The IAMAUD Audible Annunciator Module by Space Age Electronics.

Once this device is wired up to the DMP communicator, the system’s output will trigger the annunciator every time there’s a communication failure. It’s available directly from Space Age Electronics or any security products distributor, like ADI. Priced at roughly $65 each, it’s also compatible with CDMA CellComs.

#2) Tie the CellCom’s Output to the Ring Terminal of the CellCom’s Terminal Strip

Instead of purchasing and installing the annunciator module, there’s another option requiring no programming and very little labor. Your only requirement is using DMP’s communicators with the Rev 4 Level E hardware, which would’ve been available after May 2016. This option takes advantage of the telco phone line that’s already connected from the host panel to the communicator.

To achieve annunciation, take a piece of wire and tie the output to the ring terminal of the CellCom’s terminal strip. Whenever there’s a communication failure, it will short that ring terminal to ground, which will drop the phone line voltage on the host panel. As a result, the host panel goes into a communication failure and annunciates at its keypads.

The next time you’re updating existing panels, we know you’ll need a solution to meet NFPA’s annunciation requirements. Depending on the particulars of the upgrade, one of these two will do exactly that.

If you’d like to learn more, please contact DMP Inside Sales at 877-757-4367 or at

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