Central Station Service


Per Redmond Fire Department Standard 9.0, all fire alarm systems in the City of Redmond must have central station service. This requires that each fire alarm system must be provided with certain services from fire alarm companies as outlined in the National Fire Protection Association’s National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code (NFPA 72), 2016 edition, section 26.3.2:

  1. Installation of alarm transmitters
  2. Alarm, guard, supervisory, and trouble signal monitoring
  3. Retransmission
  4. Associated record keeping and reporting
  5. Testing and maintenance
  6. Runner service

The code requires that one company be contracted as the main fire alarm contractor for a system, which is called the prime contractor. The prime contractor is directly responsible to the building ownership or management for making sure that the fire alarm system is functioning properly and is the company that Redmond Fire will contact if there are issues with the system. It is for this reason that we ask that the name of the prime contractor be provided when confidence test reports are submitted. The prime contractor must be a listed by UL, ETL/Intertek, or Factory Mutual (FM) as a central station fire alarm service provider.

The term "monitoring company" has been used in situations where "prime contractor"  is more appropriate. In our documentation, "monitoring company" will be used only to refer to a company that provides signal monitoring, retransmission, and record keeping and reporting. "Prime contractor" will be used to refer to the company directly contracted to the building ownership/management and responsible for the proper function of a fire alarm system.

How does this affect my contracts?

The building owner/management may only have a contract with one fire alarm service company, who will be the prime contractor. The prime contractor (not the building owner/management) may subcontract any of the six elements of central station service but will maintain responsibility for all six elements.

What do you require of prime contractors?

Besides ensuring that the fire alarm system functions properly, the prime contractor will also be responsible for submission of confidence test reports and application for fire alarm operational permits, regardless of whom performed the testing. Submission of another company's test report will indicate that the prime contractor accepts the result of the testing.

Third-Party Verification (Proof) of Central Station Service

The requirements of NFPA 72 26.3 includes the need for documentation showing that a system has central station service. Beginning January 1, 2021, all fire alarm systems in Redmond must have a City-issued fire alarm operational permit (FAOP). Additional information on the FAOP may be found on the fire alarm operational permit page.

May a different fire alarm company be contracted for the installation or modification of a fire alarm system?

Yes, we do allow a company other than the prime contractor perform the installation or modification of fire alarm systems. However, this company must have a letter of authorization from the prime contractor to do so, as we will still be asking the prime contractor to ensure the system functions properly. The prime contractor may include stipulations for the approval, such as approval of the proposed work prior to permit submittal or requiring that a representative be present during inspections.

The fire alarm permit submittal must include the letter of authorization from the prime contractor as well as documentation (proof) of central station service.

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    15670 NE 85th Street
    Redmond, WA 98052
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