Common Questions About Commercial Fire Alarm Systems

1. Am I required to have a fire alarm monitoring system?

Maybe. Whether or not your facility legally requires a fire alarm system depends on occupancy type and several other critical variables. Generally speaking, your building either has an existing fire alarm system or you will be required by code to have one installed prior to taking occupancy of your building. For more information, we recommend you call your local fire department or the authority having jurisdiction in your area.

2. Does my fire alarm system need regular testing?

A fire alarm system must be tested periodically in accordance with the California Fire Code and the current adopted edition of NFPA 72. 

3. How often does my fire alarm system need to be tested?

Per NFPA 72, initiating devices such as smoke detectors, fire alarm pull stations, and heat detectors must be tested annually. Water flow devices & sprinklers must be visually inspected four times annually and functionally tested twice annually. San Diego information here.

4. How long do I have to maintain fire alarm testing documentation?

Fire alarm system inspection, testing, and maintenance records must be kept until the next test and for 1 year thereafter. According to NFPA 72 section 14.6.2.2, “systems with restorable fixed- temperature,  spot-type heat detectors tested over multiple years, records shall be retained for the 5 years of testing and for 1 year thereafter.”

5. Does my fire alarm system have to be monitored?

Yes, if your building requires a fire alarm system, then the system must be monitored.

 

For installation or maintenance/testing services, you can call us at (800) 286-2555 or click here for a consultation

The difference between standard and encrypted access cards

by Charles Baker, CEO California Commercial Security

Critical improvements in security technology prevent the duplication of access cards

 

Standard Access Cards:

The tried & true proximity technology inside standard cards and key fobs is an old method using a unidirectional relationship between an access credential (card or fob) and a proximity reader. When a credential is presented to a proximity reader, an internal chip is energized and sends its data to the reader. The reader then transmits the data to the controller.

Today it is easy and inexpensive to use a 3rd party product or service to read and duplicate standard proximity credentials.

Encrypted Access Cards:

Encrypted access cards employ bidirectional communication between the access credential and the reader that requires mutual authentication. This handshake authenticates the relationship between the card and the reader via an encrypted key before releasing the actual card data,  after which the reader transmits the data to the controller.

This bi-directional verification eliminates the unauthorized duplication described above,  and represents one of the most effective card technologies available today.

Manufacturers are constantly evolving their security technology in response to ongoing pressures in the marketplace from bad actors. At CCS we are doing our part to educate our clients and encourage the adoption of newer and safer technologies. We only install card readers with new encrypted technology.

California Commercial Security has been serving the San Diego community for over 15 years and we have installed hundreds of card readers, serving thousands of users. If you’re interested in learning more about access control in your facility, please give us a call (800-286-2555) or contact us here.

Four Reasons a Life Science Startup Needs Access Control

by Charlie Baker, CEO California Commercial Security

The Life Science Security Struggle

When you work at a startup, the entire team comes in every day with a laser focus on one thing—developing the next medical breakthrough. With such a strong focus on your core objective, it’s easy to put off or neglect other essential aspects of your business, specifically physical security. When we say “physical security”, we’re not talking about armed security guards or angry guard dogs. We’re referring to the technology and systems that you use to keep your building, labs, equipment, and people safe and secure from both internal and external threats.

As you grow, and at any size, it’s always important to have and maintain the appropriate level of access control to monitor and record who is accessing your equipment, intellectual property, and facility, and when they are doing it.

If your team is still using standard/mechanical keys and locks, (or a guard dog) here are four compelling reasons for you and your team to upgrade to an access control system.

1. Improved Security: Keep up with the bad guys

Security technology improves every year, and so do the technologies that threaten your security. For example, there are cell phone apps today that can scan and copy mechanical keys within 30 seconds. Mechanical locks are less secure today than they’ve ever been. Access control technology can truly secure your facility.

2. Stronger Record-keeping: Critical audit trail 

An Access Control system maintains an audit trail of entry & exit information so that you always know who is in your building and when. Records can also be reviewed to see who was in a facility in case of incidents. This record keeping is necessary for companies with compliance requirements.

3. Scalability: System can grow with you

As your company grows, so can your Access Control System. Adding security for new suites is not too different from adding an additional phone to your VOIP system.

4. Focus on your Purpose: Make science happen

Our hosted access control solution makes security simple so you can focus on making science happen. Our security solutions also include apps that allow you to control your security system from anywhere.

 

California Commercial Security has been serving the San Diego Life Science community for over 15 years and we have installed hundreds of card readers, serving thousands of users. If you’re interested in learning more about access control in your facility, please give us a call (800-286-2555) or contact us here.

Take advantage of the NEW $1 million tax benefit by investing in security and life safety measures

Are you eligible for $1million in tax deductions?

Businesses have been always been able to deduct business-related equipment placed in service, but security systems did not qualify – now they do. Beginning in 2018, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act  allows qualifying businesses to deduct the full cost of new “Security and Fire Protections Systems,”up to $1 million. Prior to passage of the Act, companies had to be depreciate the system cost over a period of up to 39 years. The legislation was passed to encourage businesses that are considering capital investments in this critical area and promote industry investment.

https://www.securityindustry.org/report/guide-to-new-tax-incentives-for-security-and-fire-protection-systems/

The Security Industry Association (SIA) worked with industry groups to expand deductions under Section 179 of the IRS tax code which empowers businesses to deduct the full purchase price of qualifying equipment and/or software purchased or financed during the tax year. The revised tax code permanently expands eligibility for deductions to fire protection, alarm, and security systems along with other equipment placed in service in 2018 and beyond.

Talk to your accounting partner to understand the impact this could have on your business.

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