what is fdny approved central station monitoring?

A Central Monitoring Station (CMS) is a relay station. It relays (re-transmits) fire alarms from automatic fire alarm systems in buildings on to the fire department. The CMS (Central Monitoring Station) also relays other types of signals from the automatic fire alarms systems to the owners of the building.


The New York City Fire Department (FDNY) makes sure the communication system works from the building or premises being protected by an automatic fire alarm system to the fire department’s dispatch center.


Central Monitoring Station – Needed to Sort Automatic Calls

The fire department is there to rush to burning buildings to save lives and to control and extinguish fires. This is their primary purpose. Calls like “The fire sprinkler system is turned off” (Supervisory) or “The batteries need replacing” (Trouble with the fire alarm system) are not emergency calls and only distract the firefighters from their primary purpose.


While the automatic fire detection and alarm system in a building will call about any fires it has detected, the problem is that it will also call if something compromises the fire alarm system. To prevent the fire department from getting a flurry of non-emergency phone calls, someone is needed to sort out the emergency calls for the fire department from the non-emergency calls for the building owners.


To do the sorting, the Central Monitoring Station is in the chain of communication. Whenever an automatic fire alarm system calls the fire alarm monitoring station with an emergency message, the CMS immediately contacts the fire department to dispatch the trucks. Whenever an automatic fire alarm system calls the CMS with a non-emergency message, the CMS verifies the non-emergency call with someone on-site or someone on a call list. So that a technician can be dispatched to fix anything that’s not right with the automatic fire alarm system, the Central Monitoring Station may also call the fire alarm service company.


The Central Monitoring Station also keeps records of the calls from the building’s automatic fire alarm system.

what is central station monitoring?

Approved by the FDNY

Between the automatic fire alarm system in a building and the fire department’s dispatch center, the Central Monitoring Station is part of the chain of communication. To make sure the Central Monitoring Station will re-transmit fire alarms correctly and promptly, the FDNY requires that the CMS registers with the FDNY.


Because the CMS is part of the emergency communication system for reporting fires, the FDNY also governs the maintenance of the CMS facilities. Before issuing a Certificate of Operation, the FDNY inspects the CMS facilities to make sure the facility will operate correctly. The FDNY also requires continued listing or approval by a nationally recognized testing laboratory (like Underwriters Laboratory {UL}) and the testing laboratory will also inspect the facilities regularly and require proper record-keeping by the CMS.


Once the Central Monitoring Station is certified by the FDNY, all individual fire alarm systems that the CMS is monitoring have to also be approved by, and sometimes be inspected by the FDNY. This inspection is to make sure the automatic fire alarm system will properly protect the building or premises.

cms approved by fdny

FDNY Approved Central Monitoring Station

As part of the chain of communication, the Central Monitoring Station relays (re-transmits) alarm signals from a building’s automatic fire alarm system to the fire department. The Central Monitoring Station, being part of the communication chain, has to be approved by the FDNY.

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