Fire Detection Systems


All plans including applications should be emailed to the Fire Marshal's Office at 

A fire alarm system is designed to detect the unwanted presence of fire by monitoring for environmental changes associated with combustion. In general, a fire alarm system can be classified as either automatically actuated, manually actuated, or both.

Automatic fire alarm systems are intended to notify the building occupants to evacuate in the event of a fire or other emergency, report the event to an off-premises location in order to summon emergency services, and to prepare the structure and associated systems to control the spread of fire and smoke through the use of automated fire separations (i.e. fire doors, fire dampers).

A manually actuated fire alarm system requires human intervention. Basically, someone has to physically see a fire or smoke and through the use of a manual pull station notifies the building occupants of the impending danger. This person must then contact emergency services.

Fire Detection Plans submitted for review shall be submitted using the following criteria. A manual and automatic fire alarm system shall be provided in new buildings and structures other than in Group U occupancies that have a fire area exceeding 5,000 square feet in accordance with Sections 907.2.1 through 907.2.23. Systems shall be equipped with one means of automatic activation, and manual activation.

Plan Requirements

  1. Digital Plans shall be emailed to the above address.
    1. One set of manufacturers’ device details.
      1. Devices used shall be highlighted in packet.
      2. Provide a current copy of state license issued by Texas Department of Insurance.
  2. Certificate of Liability insurance shall be included with packet.
    1. Certificate shall name City of Tomball as certificate holder.
  3. Battery calculations shall be submitted with packet.
  4. All components shall meet ADA compliance.
  5. All systems shall be installed in accordance to NFPA 72 by a licensed technician.
  6. Complete Suppression and Detection application, submit with plans.
  7. Property protection systems (ie burglar alarms) may not be used as a fire alarm system.

General Requirements 
Title block shall include the following information:

  1. Project name
  2. Project address
  3. Contractor name, address and license number
  4. Scale
  5. Date
  6. Legend
  7. Floor plans drawn to a common scale
  8. Sequence of events for alarm, trouble, supervisory, and trouble signals.
  9. Sequence of events for heat, smoke, duct smoke devices.

Monitoring Requirements

  1. Alarm systems shall be monitored to a UL listed central station.
    1. Fire alarm systems shall have a primary and secondary phone line.
    2. The primary line shall be a dedicated line.
  2. A remote annunciator panel shall be installed near the main entrance.
    1. Remote annunciator shall not be programmed to reset.

Manual Pull Stations

  1. Pull stations shall be double action style.
  2. Provide protective covers for manual pull stations.
  3. Manual pull stations are not required in buildings equipped with automatic fire sprinklers.
  4. Provide keys / wrench used to reset to FMO upon completion.

Audible / Visual Notification Devices

  1. Required for occupant notification in buildings equipped with automatic fire sprinklers.
  2. Provide weather-proof horn strobe; exterior, street side of building.
  3. Provide protective covers for devices used in gymnasiums and Group I-3 occupancies.

Heat / Smoke Detection Devices

  1. All smoke detectors, including duct detectors will be tested using a smoke function test.
  2. Heat detectors will be tested using an approved method of heat, such as a heat gun.
  3. Provide protective covers for devices used in gymnasiums and Group I-3 occupancies.

Duct Smoke Detectors

  1. Duct detectors shall be programmed as an ALARM – not supervisory signal.
  2. Remote annunciators with the ability to reset shall be located near the duct detector for plenum mounted units.
    1. Keys to be provided to FMO.

NO WORK may begin without prior approval of plans and required permit has been submitted for payment.

These criteria may not apply to all alarm types. If you have specific questions about design, planning or installation, contact the Fire Marshal's Office for more information.