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Everything You Need To Know About Fire Alarm Systems

A fire alarm system's main premise is to discover a fire early on, in its initial stages, thus allow household members or employees at the workplace to safely evacuate the premises before their life or physical well-being is jeopardized in any way. The mechanism behind a fire alarm system heavily relies on the “prevention” factor and early detection is critical in this sense. This is done with proper smoke detector systems used in conjunction with alarms.

Fire AlarmsHow Do Fire Alarm and Smoke Alarm Systems Work?

Fire alarm systems can keep the amount of downtime for the overall fire extinguishing operation to a minimum thanks to these early fire detection mechanisms. The early detection of a fire is done with the help of smoke detector systems that can rapidly identify small traces of smoke and alert the occupants of a building. In other words, a smoke and fire alarm system combined will allow better fire management since all the necessary efforts to stop the fire will be started while the fire is just beginning to ignite. There will be fewer necessary resources and fewer efforts, in general, to put the fire out.

Plus, the majority of alarm systems that can currently be found on the market offer essential information that the emergency response personnel needs regarding the exact location of a fire. In order for a fire detector to be 100% efficient and reliable, it must be properly connected to an alarm. The alarm will let the occupants of the building know that they are facing the fire and that they should immediately evacuate, while also sending a signal to monitoring stations with live staff found on-site or at a different address. There are fire alarm systems that can send the alarm straight to a fire department in town, even though they are not as common on the market.

What Does a Fire Alarm System NOT DO? 

What a fire alarm system will not do is control the fire or contain it in any way. This is a job for a special fire suppression system like an automatic sprinkler.  Also, fire alarm systems are not as fast as smoke detector systems. This is why it is crucial for a building to have both smoke detection and fire alarm systems in place for proper fire prevention and management. This is particularly the case of those buildings such as schools, hospitals, and other similar facilities, where quick notice is mandatory to prevent the loss of lives.

Keep in mind that not all fire alarm systems include detection systems as well. The most basic models feature stations that must be pulled manually in order to sound an alarm. In other words, someone inside the building must first personally notice the presence of a fire, which, in a lot of cases, is done too late. Fast detection speeds come at high prices. However, there are plenty of affordable heat detectors out on the market which can be used as slow fire detectors.

How To Choose The Right Smoke and Fire Detectors?

  • carefully assess your fire safety and fire prevention objectives
  • consider your tolerance at fire risks regarding the damage you are willing to face in case of a destructive fire
  • managing a healthcare facility you are trying to protect against fire will not incur the same level of risk tolerance compared to running a storage facility
  • a hospital will always need to put the safety of patients who may not be able to personally evacuate the premises during a fire at the top of their list of priorities when shopping for a fire and smoke detection system. Here, receiving early fire warnings will make the difference between life and death.
  • A hotel where guests may be found asleep during a fire will also ask for a warning system that can provide faster notifications compared to the one used inside a warehouse with no overnight personnel working there.
  • Buildings that are not usually occupied by permanent workers or inhabitants are not usually tied to high risks in terms of life safety. This means fire detection can be done at a slower pace without increasing any major risk.
  • When shopping for a fire detection system, it is also essential to assess the type of inspections, tests, and maintenance work needed in time. 

Types Of Fire Detectors

Heat detectors are the simplest models that can detect smoke. They are sold as spot or line systems and they can be installed in just one spot or location throughout the building or they can offer uninterrupted solutions throughout the entire area they cover.

Fixed temperature smoke detectors require a certain temperature to function. Rate-of-rise devices are enabled in relation to the speed at which the temperature is rising and they are suitable for areas that normally get heated, like warehouses with no controlled temperature systems in place.

Photoelectric smoke detectors search for any light that might be scattered inside the detection chamber. When light reaches this area, it is scattered when striking smoke. When the respective light is reflected off the smoke inside the chamber, the photocell detects it.

Household users normally rely on smoke detectors that use ionization. They work by identifying the ionized smoke particles inside the chamber and detecting them using charged plates.

You can also find smoke detectors that feature a heat detector or a beam-like fire detector that operates whenever the beam is disrupted by the smoke that interferes between the emitter and receiver. Beam detectors are best used in large-sized open spaces.

Air-aspirating smoke detectors work by constantly taking samples of air from those areas that need the highest protection against fire and assess them to see if there are any traces of smoke in the air. While they are the fastest options you could look into, they are also a lot more expensive compared to less complex systems.

Notification Devices & Fire Alarm Standards

There are also numerous notifications as well as supervisory devices that can be tied to the control panel of a fire alarm, such as tamper switches that can be connected to sprinkler systems. They can be visual as well as audible and they come in the form of strobes, bells, horns, strobes, or a mix of units.  The NFPA 72 National Fire Alarm Code consists of number of design, installation, assessment, evaluation, and upkeep requirements for fire detection systems that are recommended by the local fire department in some areas. Get in touch with them to know the exact requirements in your own area and make sure you check with the property insurance agent regarding these requirements so you can receive coverage or a certain premium.  Fire and smoke detection and alarm systems are critical for efficient protection against fire and rapid fire control. The earlier you can discover a fire, the better you can protect the facility, its occupants, and property and keep any operation interruptions to a minimum.