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Managing batteries on wireless fire alarm systems

The replacement of device batteries on a wireless fire alarm system clearly adds to the ongoing maintenance costs of such systems however how these are replaced will significantly impact costs.

To meet the EN54 part 25 wireless standards, the central control panel must indicate a battery fault when a device has only enough power to last 30 days. At first glance it would appear prudent to change each battery within this 30 day period thus maximising its lifespan and this may be the case in sites which benefit from an in-house maintenance team. This maintenance team, provided they are deemed competent to do so, are able to manage ad-hoc battery replacements which would otherwise incur call out charges from an external fire company.

Most fire alarm systems are however serviced/maintained by an external fire company and in these cases it is generally recommended by wireless manufacturers that batteries are changed in defined batches over a fixed period of time. As an example, the device batteries in both the Zerio Plus and EMS FireCell systems are expected to last approximately 5 years so a planned changeout in year 4 would be the recommendation. Furthermore the batteries can be changed during the routine service visits avoiding any additional site visits.

A wi-win for both end users and fire service companies is to factor the battery costs into the service contract. In the example above, where all batteries are changed on year 4, the total cost of the batteries can be amortised over this 4 year period. Customers avoid a surprise invoice in the 4th year and service companies will be pleased to agreed their maintenance contract over a longer term.